Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

John Rice


John Rice


James Bay


Tom Lachmar


The current procedures for calculated the probability of failure of levees (earthen structures designed to prevent flooding of important locations) all have their own unique limitations. Some methods are very simplistic, and either ignore or do not allow for inclusion of complex geometries. Other methods allow for complex geometry, but do not lend themselves to large quantities of analysis because of the amount of time it takes to create or modify a model. For these reasons, previous research performed by Lourdes Polanco and Dr. John Rice developed the preliminary stages of a new method called the Response Surface-Monte Carlo method. This method not only accounts for complex geometry, it is a probabilistic method that has the ability to calculate the probability of erosion initiation within a levee section. The research contained herein focused on a specific aspect of Dr. Rice’s work on levees which involved the creation of a “response surface” or a type of model for curved levees and for levees overlying a specific riverside feature known as a point bar. A point bar is a river feature that can, if it underlies a levee, potentially decrease the performance thereof.