A new equation for estimating the maximum surface settlement above tunnels excavated in soft ground


ENVIRONMENTAL EARTH SCIENCES, vol.71, no.7, pp.3195-3210, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 71 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12665-013-2707-2
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.3195-3210
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Nowadays, due to urbanization and population increase, need for metro tunnels, has been considerably increased in urban areas. Common characterization of urban area tunnels is that they are excavated in very shallow depths and soft ground. In such excavations, main challenge for tunneling is low bearing capacity and easy deformation characteristic of the ground. Tunnel face instability and the potential surface settlement are the most hazardous factors that should be considered in all tunneling methods applied in urban areas. Incorrect estimation of the maximum surface settlement value can lead to irreparable damages to the buildings and other nearby structures. There are several published relationships concerned with field measurements and analytical solutions to estimate the amount of the maximum surface settlement value due to tunneling. These relationships are not precise for calculating the aimed values. Therefore, providing accurate equations for estimation of these values is certainly useful. First purpose of this study is to determine the effective parameters such as geotechnical factors (cohesion, internal friction angle, density, Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio), and engineering factors (tunnel depth, tunnel diameter and face support pressure) on the maximum surface settlement value. In this study, three metro project constructions namely Istanbul, Tehran, Mashhad in the Middle East were chosen. FLAC3D (Itasca Consulting Group 2002) was used for detailed numerical analysis. The second aim is to present better equations in estimating the maximum surface settlement-based actual data set from several tunnel projects and numerical modeling. The results from the new estimation equation are compared with results of empirical and field observations. The maximum surface settlement values obtained from the new equation have good agreement with the actual results for three different metro case studies.