Abstract Title

Numerical Modeling Dam Flood After Earthen Dam Failure: Teton Dam Failure

Additional Funding Sources

This research was supported by an Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (URCA) grant from Boise State's Office of Undergraduate Research, a division of the Institute for Inclusive & Transformative Scholarship.

Abstract

The percentage of dams that fail worldwide is increasing, which in turn is increasing the threat to downstream infrastructure and human lives. Predicting the widespread flood hazard associated with an earthen dam breach allows dam owners and floodplain managers to develop and improve mitigation strategies for at-risk communities. We advance the state of research by comparing the GeoClaw software, an academic research code with adaptive features that improve efficiency, to an industry-standard, HEC-RAS, using the 1976 Teton Dam failure as a benchmark problem. We assess the suitability of the GeoClaw software to resolve inundation extent, flood front arrival times, and wave depth. This study also focused on answering critical questions such as: (I) Is an instantaneous dam breach a valid assumption? (II) How do the mesh, initial water volume, and Manning’s coefficient impact the numerical solution? (III) Do the results indicate that GeoClaw can be used for dam-break modeling? Results from this study find the 2D GeoClaw dam breach model stable, accurate, and within range of historical and HEC-RAS values. The overall performance and low computational cost demonstrate GeoClaw can be used for downstream flow modeling following earthen dam breach simulations. Future work includes using 2D GeoClaw simulations to communicate dam failure hazards to non-specialists and improve Lagrangian gauge modeling to simulate flood debris.

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Numerical Modeling Dam Flood After Earthen Dam Failure: Teton Dam Failure

The percentage of dams that fail worldwide is increasing, which in turn is increasing the threat to downstream infrastructure and human lives. Predicting the widespread flood hazard associated with an earthen dam breach allows dam owners and floodplain managers to develop and improve mitigation strategies for at-risk communities. We advance the state of research by comparing the GeoClaw software, an academic research code with adaptive features that improve efficiency, to an industry-standard, HEC-RAS, using the 1976 Teton Dam failure as a benchmark problem. We assess the suitability of the GeoClaw software to resolve inundation extent, flood front arrival times, and wave depth. This study also focused on answering critical questions such as: (I) Is an instantaneous dam breach a valid assumption? (II) How do the mesh, initial water volume, and Manning’s coefficient impact the numerical solution? (III) Do the results indicate that GeoClaw can be used for dam-break modeling? Results from this study find the 2D GeoClaw dam breach model stable, accurate, and within range of historical and HEC-RAS values. The overall performance and low computational cost demonstrate GeoClaw can be used for downstream flow modeling following earthen dam breach simulations. Future work includes using 2D GeoClaw simulations to communicate dam failure hazards to non-specialists and improve Lagrangian gauge modeling to simulate flood debris.