Behaviour of deep immersed tunnel under combined normal fault rupture deformation and subsequent seismic shaking

Ioannis Anastasopoulos, Nikos Gerolymos, Vasileios Drosos, Takis Georgarakos, Rallis Kourkoulis, George Gazetas

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    140 Citations (Scopus)


    Immersed tunnels are particularly sensitive to tensile and compressive deformations such as those imposed by a normal seismogenic fault rupturing underneath, and those generated by the dynamic response due to seismic waves. The paper investigates the response of a future 70 m deep immersed tunnel to the consecutive action of a major normal fault rupturing in an earthquake occurring in the basement rock underneath the tunnel, and a subsequent strong excitation from a different large-magnitude seismic event that may occur years later. Non-linear finite elements model the quasi-static fault rupture propagation through the thick soil deposit overlying the bedrock and the ensuing interaction of the rupture with the immersed tunnel. It is shown that despite imposed bedrock offset of 2 m, net tension or excessive compression between tunnel segments could be avoided with a suitable design of the joint gaskets. Then, the already deformed ("injured") structure is subjected to strong asynchronous seismic shaking. The thick-walled tunnel is modelled as a 3-D massive flexural beam connected to the soil through properly-calibrated nonlinear interaction springs and dashpots, the supports of which are subjected to the free-field acceleration time histories. The latter, obtained with 1-D wave propagation analysis, are then modified to account for wave passage effects. The joints between tunnel segments are modeled with special non-linear hyper-elastic elements, properly accounting for their 7-bar longitudinal hydrostatic pre-stressing. Sliding is captured with special gap elements. The effect of segment length and joint properties is explored parametrically. A fascinating conclusion emerges in all analysed cases for the joints between segments that were differentially deformed after the quasi-static fault rupture: upon subsequent very strong seismic shaking, overstressed joints de-compress and understressed joints re-compress-a "healing" process that leads to a more uniform deformation profile along the tunnel. This is particularly beneficial for the precariously de-compressed joint gaskets. Hence, the safety of the immersed tunnel improves with "subsequent" strong seismic shaking!
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)213-239
    Number of pages27
    JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2008


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