What Triggers Slope Failure?

In order to protect Slope Stabilization in Dallas TX, we need to understand what causes slope destabilization in the first place. Most causes of slope failure can be linked to the following:


The effect of all the forces listed above is to cause movement of soil from high points to low points. The most important of these forces is gravity that moves in the direction of the most likely path. The many effects of flowing or seeping water are recognized as very common instability problems.

Slops at a High Angle

Slopes at a high angle found near hills and mountains have more of a risk for instability. The behavior of a slope at a high angle is to move some of its rocks and dirt down until the ground evens out. Any changes in the slope, whether it be by workers removing a section of the ground near the base to build roads, mines or buildings, or through natural means such as a stream or river will affect the stabilization of a slope.

Trees and Plants

The volume and type of flora on a slope depends on the strength of that slope. The lower the grade in the slope the plants and trees will appear. The vegetation roots keep the soil connected and make it more resilient to erosion. More vegetation present shows the stability of the slope. Vegetation removed or burned by fires are prime conditions for slope failures during the rainy season. These types of events help to trigger rock and mudslides that destroy roads and buildings.

Water Drainage, Seepage, and Stream Action

During heavy rains excessive water destabilizes the slope by adding weight. This will break up the consistency between grains, and reduce friction. When water invades between the grains of soil, the likelihood of a downslope mass migration event. Streams also erode away the bottom of the slope resulting in slope instability. So, after a hurricane or heavy downpour eras near rivers, streams or lakes will become shaky. Water seepage over time from ground tables and pipes loosens soil and fills the space between grains.

Sudden Shocks

The passing of heavy trucks rolling through narrow roads along the sides of hills and mountains shake the soil nearest the movement. Tectonic shifts and faults cause earthquakes shifting the ground. Hurricanes bring forceful winds and rands ripping up the vegetation making the ground looser. Volcanic eruptions shake the ground and move magma and lava changing the landscape. Construction and mining blasting core out the rock and soil making the landscape brittle.

Bedding Planes

 Bedding planes are grounds that separates a layer of stratified rock or bed from one another. Slope destabilization risk is higher due to the nature of the exposed beds in slopes. The risk is larger when the rock is softer, sandwiched in the bed. The weaker rock slides out the bed and brings the slope with it.

Joints & Fractures

Slopes are formed by natural cracks in the rocks and dirt. The fractures are caused by erosion and expansion. Over time these cracks separate the cohesion of the rocks causing a slide.

Soil Composition and Cohesion

The makeup of the soil is very important to think about for slope stabilization. Diverse types of ground will have very different features when it comes to frictional and resistance. Sand or loose soil has a low cohesion grain and will easily erode when drenched with water. Clay soil expands when wet. This makes the clay heavier and more likely to move.

People can also change the stability of slopes through construction. Roads, excavations, blasting, mining, irrigation, and groundwater manipulation can all impact the terrain of an area and lead to slope failure.

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