ToSubC project: How to predict potential submarine landslides and their consequences?

Published: 19/10/2017

Within the framework of the H2020 (Marie Curie actions), Xue Zhang, MsC on Solid Mechanics by the Dalian University of Technology and Doctor of Philosophy on Geotechnical Engineering, is developing the project ToSubC at CIMNE. The project is about the prediction of potential submarine landslides and the estimation of their consequences to human activities.

-What is the project about?

We are developing a robust computational package that allows the prediction of direct impacts of submarine landslides on offshore infrastructure (such as oil and gas transportation systems and communication cables and routes) and indirect threats to coastal communities via the generation of destructive tsunamis.

To subc

-What's new at this project for its research field?

A new computational package that is capable of simulating the complete process of three-dimensional submarine landslides, ranging from the initiation of failure through the sliding process to the final deposition, will be developed in this project. To achieve this goal, variational frameworks for boundary value problems (BVP) in fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, and saturated soil dynamics will be unified. This is expected to enable the strong coupling for the water-soil-structure interaction.

Additionally, a new constitutive model will be developed for describing the complex behaviour of submarine soils as for example their transitional behaviour from a solid-like status before triggering of landslides, through a fluid-like status during sliding processes, to a solid-like status when the sliding mass eventually stabilizes.

-Is it focussed in a specific area?

This project is subject to the field of submarine geohazard. The submarine geohazard (e.g. submarine landslides) has been increasingly attracting attention from both industry and academia. This is, to a large extent, owing to the shift of energy exploration from onshore to offshore. The boom of the offshore infrastructure, such as the oil and gas platforms, and the submarine pipelines resulting from the shift requires reliable risk estimation of the impact from potential submarine landslides.

It is notable that, although this project aims to simulate submarine landslides, the developed computational package is capable of modelling general large deformation problems in geotechnical engineering and geology engineering with typical examples being debris flow, spudcan penetration, pipeline-soil interactions, etc.