Stability of soil covered slopes refers to the potential of movement when construction is undertaken. Sheer strength and sheer stress balance are the concepts associated with the gauging of slope stability. A slope originally deemed to be stable can be adversely affected by prep work prior to the beginning of construction. There are several factors that undermine slope stability. Slope failure may occur when there’s a change in climatic conditions. Weathering from water and organic decomposition can lessen sheer strength. Other causes of slope movements include sheer stress changes due to lateral pressures, loading or some other forces of a transient nature.
Slope stability is an important aspect of any construction or engineering project. There is a vast array of situations where slope stability becomes essential. Rock fill dam building, excavated slopes, natural slopes with inconsistent surfacing of soil and soft rock, levees and embankments are just a few prime examples. The assessment of slope stability is usually determined by geologists or geotechnical engineers. Geomorphology is the determination of stability based initially upon surface observation of soil and rock formations and their shapes. Engineers and geologist are extremely useful for the wide ranging knowledge of surface types they can provide in assessing slope stability.
There are a number of ways to improve existing slope stability. One method is flattening the slope to the point where the relative strength is enhanced. Stability can be improved by the altering of soil composition and the attachment of retaining walls or the insertion of piles. Strategic introduction of cement and grout at key pressure points is another method of achieving slope stabilization. Consolidation of soils by electro-osmosis or charging is yet another option when seeking slope stability.