The Role of Geological Investigations for Dam Siting

Mosul Dam a Case Study

Document identifier:
Access full text here:10.1007/s10706-019-01150-2
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Civil Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Teknik och teknologier, Samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Geoteknik, Mosul Dam, Geological investigations, Karstification, Grouting, Gypsum, Soil Mechanics
Publication year: 2020
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communitiesSDG 6 Clean water and sanitation
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by


Dams are engineering structures constructed for different purposes. They are of differentsizes, shapes and types. In all cases, many essentialstudies should be carried out before deciding thelocation, type and size of the dam. Among thosestudies is the geological investigations which shouldbe carried out to deduce the geological conditions inthe most relevant site, depth of the foundations andtheir types, cut-off depth, type of the availableconstruction materials, and type of the expectedgeological hazards. Without proper geological investigations, the siting of a dam will cause serious hazardsduring construction and during commissioning of thedam. In this study, Mosul Dam case is considered asthe consequences of inadequate geological investigations which were carried out by the contractor andsupervised by Swiss Consultant. The location of thedam site and its foundations are built over a highlykarstified area, where gypsum and limestone beds areexposed and exist deep under the ground surface, andeven deeper than the foundations. Accordingly,grouting treatment was carried out and still on going,but all the attempts to have a safe and relevant damwere in vain. In this study we have provided theessential studies which should be included during thegeological investigation to have a safe and sound dam.


Varoujan Sissakian

University of Kurdistan Hewler, Erbil, Iraq Erbil, Iraq
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Nasrat Adamo

Norrköping, Sweden
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Nadhir Al-Ansari

Luleå tekniska universitet; Geoteknologi
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