Is Mosul Dam the Most Dangerous Dam in the World? Review of Previous Work and Possible Solutions

Nadhir Al-Ansari, Nasrat Adamo, Varoujan Sissakian, Sven Knutsson, Jan Laue
2017 Engineering  
Mosul Dam is an earth fill dam located on the Tigris River in North Western part of Iraq. It is 113 m in height, 3.4 km in length, 10 m wide in its crest and has a storage capacity of 11.11 billion cubic meters. It is, constructed on bedrocks which consist of gypsum beds alternated with marl and limestone, in cyclic nature. The thickness of the gypsum beds attains 18 m; they are intensely karstified even in foundation rocks. This has created number of problems during construction, impounding
more » ... tion, impounding and operation of the dam. Construction work in Mosul Dam started on January 25 th , 1981 and started operating on 24 th July, 1986. After impounding in 1986, seepage locations were recognized. The cause of seepage is mainly due to: 1) The karsts prevailing in the dam site and in the reservoir area. 2) The existence of gypsum/anhydrite rock formations in the dam foundation alternating with soft marl layers and weathered and cavernous limestone beddings. 3) The presence of an extensive ground water aquifer called Wadi Malleh aquifer, which affects considerably the ground water regime in the right bank. The dissolution intensity of the gypsum/anhydrite ranged from 42 to 80 t/day which was followed by a noticeable increase in the permeability and leakages through the foundation. Inspection of the dam situation in 2014 and 2015 indicates that the dam is in a state of extreme unprecedentedly high relative risk. In this work, possible solutions to the problem are to be discussed. It is believed that grouting operations will elongate the span life of the dam but do not solve the problem. Building another dam downstream Mosul Dam will be the best protective measures due to the possible failure of Mosul Dam, to secure the safety of the downstream area and its' population.
doi:10.4236/eng.2017.910048 fatcat:s2ds6atmqjcujm7riv6wygh67e