Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

Mosul Dam the Full Story: Engineering Problems

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  • Abstract

    The idea of building of Mosul Dam project started in 1950 and it was referred to as Aski Mosul Dam. Since that time, number of companies worked on the site selection and design of the dam. All the above companies suggested that the dam should be Earth-fill type with compressed clay core but there were different views about the exact location of the dam, spillway and electricity generating station. Grouting was suggested to be performed under the dam, spillway and the electricity generating station. In addition, they suggested that detailed geological investigation should be performed before any construction activities. In 1978, the Swiss Consultants Consortium was asked to be the consultants for Mosul Dam project. The consultants suggested that the operational water level at the dam to be 330 m (a.s.l.) while the flood and normal water levels to be 338 and 335 m (a.s.l.), respectively. The work started on 25th January, 1981 and finished 24th July, 1986. The foundation of the dam is built on alternating beds of limestone and gysum. Seepages due to the dissolution of gypsum were noticed and after impounding in 1986, new seepage locations were recognized. Grouting operations continued and various studies were conducted to find suitable grout or technique to overcome this problem. The seepage due to the dissolution of gypsum and anhydrite beds raised a big concern about the safety of the dam and its possible failure. It is believed that grouting will not solve this problem permanently.