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Report RSE 16001839

Applicazione al caso del Vajont del modello Sphera per la simulazione di movimenti franosi


The Vajont disaster occurred on October 9, 1963 when a huge landslide fell into the Erto hydroelectric reservoir. The generated wave, after climbing the opposite side of the valley to a height of about 200 m over the crowning, overtopped the Vajont dam, sweeping away the downstream villages and causing about 2000 casualties.

Before the catastrophic event, some experiments were performed at the Research Centre of Nove (Treviso, Italy) on a 3D physical model of the Vajont reservoir, but, owing to the uncertainties on the complex physical mechanism involved (i.e. volume of the landslide and its kinematic), the energy of the generated wave was underestimated.

Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) represents a mesh-less lagrangian CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) technique particularly suitable for representing the inertial free-surface and multi-phase flows related to flood propagation, with transport of solid structures and granular material (e.g. dambreak, sediment transport, rapid landslide), or hydraulic works of hydroelectric plants. The activity, performed in the reference period and reported in this deliverable, mainly consists in tuning and executing a SPH modelling procedure with the aim to simulate the mentioned event; it was developed in the following phases:

• the study of a methodology for the “pre-processing” able to reproduce the geometrical complexity in the 3D model to be supplied to the code;
• the numerical developments and the implementation of a non-Newtonian rheological model to simulate the landslide kinematics;
• the sensitivity analysis on some parameters and the validation with experimental data from post-event measurements;
• the modelling at full scale of the Vajont landslide and the induced tsunami.

The aim of the research, in addition to evaluate the results in terms of prediction of the landslide falling time and the profile of the maximum run-up on the opposite mountain side, is to use a numerical instrument to supply a theoretical interpretation of the relative importance among different physical mechanisms that contribute to the catastrophe. The obtained results confirm that this model may be used as an investigation tool to be applied to a variety of important and current engineering problems related with safety aspects in the management of hydroelectric reservoirs.

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