Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


John Rice


It has been estimated that approximately fifty percent of the United States’ population lives behind levees. Because these earth structures are typically long, subjected to seasonal changes and spatial variability, it is logical to analyze them in an uncertainty-based approach. This research is focused on assessing the potential of internal erosion related failure due to underseepage with the general objective of assessing the failure potential of individual geomorphic features while considering length effects. The project team was granted $204,000 from the National Science Foundation and $10,000 from the United States Society on Dams which resulted in research collaboration within graduate students and University of Delaware faculty as well as several presentations in prestigious conferences (in the U.S and Europe) and publication of journal papers. Findings from this research should be easily transferrable to other linear earth structures (such as dams, construction excavations, detention ponds, road embankments, etc.), and should significantly enhance reliability analysis across a wide array of structure types and geologic settings allowing a broad impact on future research, as well as geotechnical engineering practice.