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Effect of Contraction Joint Opening on Pacoima Dam in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake

by G. L. Fenves and S. Mojtahedi

Fenves, G. L., and S. Mojtahedi (1995). Effect of Contraction Joint Opening on Pacoima Dam in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. SMIP95 Seminar on Seismological and Engineering Implications of Recent Strong-Motion Data, p. 57 - 68.

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Abstract

Pacoima Dam is constructed as cantilever monoliths separated by vertical contraction joints. A seismic safety evaluation of an arch dam often relies on a linear dynamic analysis assuming the dam is a monolithic structure. The CDMG network of strong motion accelerometers recorded the canyon and dam response in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. An analysis of dam models for the earthquake shows that joint opening occurs and that it redistributes the stresses in the dam. The effects of non-uniform free-field motion were found to be important on the stresses and joint opening displacements.