The paper focuses on the investigation of the main causes responsible for the cracks pattern observed on the crest of an earth dam in Southern Italy. The history of the dam, from its construction to present (about 65 years of life), is quite complex. After the first appearance of a transversal crack on the dam crest, a set of longitudinal cracks gradually developed along a large portion of the crest. Extensive geotechnical investigations and detailed studies begun, leading to important restoration works in the late 90’s. Despite of such works, the crack pattern was found to persist, so that the dam has been out of operation for over 15 years. Recently, a limited investigation has been carried out, including a geophysical survey of the whole dam, with the specific aim to detect and interpret the dam anomalies. The results of this campaign highlight the effects of initial soil compaction upon the hydro-mechanical embankment properties and the consequent dam behaviour.
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