System reliability analysis and risk assessment of a layered slope in spatially variable soils considering stratigraphic boundary uncertainty

Lei Lei Liu, Yung Ming Cheng, Xiao Mi Wang, Shao He Zhang, Zhong Hu Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The spatial variability of soil properties has been well investigated in past years, whereas the question of how the stratigraphic boundary uncertainty affects the slope stability remains unanswered. This paper attempts to investigate the effects of the stratigraphic boundary uncertainty on the system reliability and risk of a layered slope in spatially variable soils. In this paper, the spatial variability of soil properties is simulated by non-stationary random fields that are generated by an extended Cholesky decomposition technique, while the stochastic nature of the stratigraphic boundary location is simulated by a discrete random variable. Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) is suggested for evaluating the system failure probability and risk. Various comparisons between probabilistic analysis results obtained from considering and neglecting the stratigraphic boundary uncertainty have been made for different statistics of soil properties. Results show that the stratigraphic boundary uncertainty plays an important role in identifying the slope failure mechanism. Moreover, neglecting the stratigraphic boundary uncertainty would generally overestimate the slope failure risk for different statistics, except at small coefficients of variation of the friction angle, where the results are underestimated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • Layered slope
  • Monte Carlo simulation (MCS)
  • Risk assessment
  • Slope stability
  • Spatial variability
  • Stratigraphic boundary uncertainty
  • System reliability analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Computer Science Applications

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