Effect of grain dissolution on sloping ground

Minsu Cha, Carlos Santamarina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The static and dynamic stability of natural or constructed slopes can be affected by dissolution or dissolution-like phenomena. Their underlying mechanisms, however, remain unclear. New experimental results and discrete element simulations provide particle-level and macroscale information on the consequences of mineral dissolution on slope behavior. At the microscale, load-carrying grain arches develop around dissolving particles, the porosity increases, and contact force chains evolve to form a honeycomb topology. At the macroscale, while vertical settlements are the prevailing deformation pattern, lateral granular movements that create mass wasting are prominent in sloping ground, even under the quasi-static granular loss. Horizontal grain displacement is maximum at the surface and decreases linearly with the distance from the slope surface to become zero at the bottom boundaries, much like vertical granular displacement along the depth. Sediments with smaller friction angles and steeper slopes experience greater displacement, both vertically and horizontally. Slopes become flatter after dissolution, with the reduction in slope angle directly related to the loss in ground elevation, ΔH/Ho. Yet, because of the porous fabric that results from dissolution, vertical shortening is less than the upper bound, estimated from the loss in the solid mass fraction, ΔH/Ho≈SF. Under water-saturated conditions, the post-dissolution fabric may lead to sudden undrained shear and slope slide.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 23 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-12-28
Acknowledgements: Support for this research was provided by the KAUST endowment and the US Department of Energy Savannah River Operations Office. This research was also supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2019R1A6A1A10072987). G. Abelskamp edited the manuscript.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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