Seismic Load

The Seismic Load option in the Loading menu allows you to include the effect of pseudo-static earthquake loading in the limit equilibrium analysis.

In the Seismic Load dialog, you may define seismic coefficients for the Horizontal and / or Vertical directions. The Seismic Coefficients are dimensionless coefficients which represent the (maximum) earthquake acceleration as a fraction of the acceleration due to gravity. Typical values are in the range of 0.1 to 0.3.

Seismic Force

If seismic coefficients are defined, a seismic force will be applied to each slice as follows:

Seismic Force = Seismic Coefficient * Slice Weight  

= Seismic Coefficient * area of slice * Unit Weight of slice material

Note that the acceleration due to gravity (g = 9.81 m/s2 for metric units) is already incorporated into the material Unit Weight entered in the Define Material Properties dialog (remember that the dimensions of Unit Weight are kN / m3), and therefore does not explicitly appear in the above equation.

The seismic force is applied through the centroid of each slice.

Horizontal Seismic Coefficient

The HORIZONTAL seismic coefficient is always POSITIVE, and represents a horizontal seismic force directed OUT OF the slope (i.e. in the direction of failure).

Since the HORIZONTAL seismic force in Slide is always directed OUT OF the slope, a HORIZONTAL seismic coefficient should always DECREASE the safety factor, for a given slip surface, compared to the same model with NO seismic load applied.

Vertical Seismic Coefficient

The VERTICAL seismic coefficient may be either POSITIVE or NEGATIVE.

The effect of a VERTICAL seismic force is less obvious. A VERTICAL seismic coefficient may either DECREASE or INCREASE the safety factor, since the vertical seismic force affects the normal stress, and hence the shear strength, at the base of each slice. Experiment with different POSITIVE and NEGATIVE values of the VERTICAL seismic coefficient, and observe the effect on safety factor.

TIP: you can use the Sensitivity Analysis feature of Slide to easily determine the effect of the vertical seismic coefficient, over any desired range of values.

Excess Pore Pressure

The Excess Pore Pressure option in the Seismic Load dialog, will only be available if the "Calculate Excess Pore Pressure (B-bar method)" checkbox is selected in the Groundwater tab of the Project Settings dialog.

If you select the "Load creates excess pore pressure" checkbox, then a VERTICAL seismic load will generate excess pore pressure for all materials with B-bar > 0. This only applies to the VERTICAL seismic coefficient. It does NOT apply to the HORIZONTAL seismic coefficient. For more information see the Excess Pore Pressure topic.

Seismic Load Icon

When seismic load is applied (i.e. the Horizontal and / or Vertical seismic coefficients are non-zero in the Seismic Load dialog), a Seismic Load icon will appear in the upper right corner of the view. This is to remind the user that Seismic Load is in effect, so that they do not run analyses without realizing that Seismic Load coefficients have been specified. The magnitude and direction of the Seismic Load coefficients, will also be displayed with the icon.


Seismic load icon

Right Click Shortcut

If seismic load is applied, and you right click on the Seismic Load icon, you can select Modify Seismic Load from the popup menu. This is a shortcut to the Seismic Load dialog.