Volume 22, Issue 1 (March 1999)
Model Studies of the 1988 Kettleman Hills Landfill Slope Failure
The paper describes physical model studies of the 1988 failure of Unit B-19 waste landfill at the Kettleman Hills Landfill, Kettleman City, California. Six 1/150 scale models were tested under 1-g (g = gravity) conditions. Aims of the study were to confirm the mode of failure and to provide a better understanding of the sliding mechanism. Results showed that the failure conditions (e.g., slide direction, magnitude, and surface cracking, etc.) of the models agreed very well with those of the actual landfill. The study indicated that the sliding of model fills occurred as a coherent mass, with slip surfaces located at the interface within the underlying liner system. Internal shears and surface cracks were formed in the slide mass due to the noncircular configuration of the slip surface. Displacement paths suggested the sliding of model landfill was essentially a translational movement of a three-block system. The models accurately reproduced the 1988 Kettleman Hills Landfill failure and provided information that enabled development of an analysis method for evaluating the three-dimensional stability of waste landfills against sliding along an underlying linear system (Chang 1992).