Potential hazards to a tunnel caused by adjacent reservoir impoundment

Bin Zhang, Han xun Wang, Yi wei Ye, Jun liang Tao, Lian ze Zhang, Lei Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A reservoir impoundment located near a tunnel structure negatively affects groundwater seepage to varying degrees. This can result in water inflow, structural collapse, and other engineering hazards during tunnel excavation. In addition, in cold regions, reservoir impoundment and water seepage can exacerbate frost heave damage during tunnel operations. This paper describes a comprehensive case study on the quantitative evaluation of the seepage effects of the proposed Longsheng Reservoir on the adjacent proposed Kouzi village tunnel (located in Ulanchap, Inner Mongolia, North China). An engineering geology survey was conducted to identify the topography and geological features in the tunnel and reservoir area. A geohydrological survey was conducted to identify groundwater runoff patterns and to assess the possible seepage paths. Pumping and injection tests were conducted to characterize the in-situ permeability of the strata. Based on the detailed field information, the seepage field and stress field of the study area were investigated using COMSOL Multiphysics and ABAQUS software. From these numerical simulations, the evolution of the water inflow and the stress/strain field in the shallow buried section of the tunnel could be predicted quantitatively at different construction and operation stages. This study showed that the seepage influence of the Longsheng Reservoir on the Kouzi village tunnel during the excavation and operational stages will be relatively weak. However, structural collapse of the tunnel and water inflow are likely to occur beneath the two gullies. Mitigation measures such as impervious walls and inverted arch structural elements were proposed to address these potential hazards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-415
Number of pages19
JournalBulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 4 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Potential hazards
  • Reservoir impoundment
  • Seepage field
  • Stress field
  • Tunnel inflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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