Karstification effect on the stability of Mosul Dam and its assessment, North Iraq

Mosul Dam is located on the Tigris river, 50 Km NW of Mosul; it is 113 m in height, 3.4 Km in length, 10 m wide in its crest and has a storage capacity of 11.1 billion cubic meters. It is an earth fill dam, constructed on bedrocks of Fat’ha Formation, which consists of gypsum beds alternated with marl and limestone, in cyclic nature. The thickness of gypsum beds attains 18 m; they are intensely karstified even in foundation rocks. Therefore, continuous grouting Programme was planned during construction, which was completed in June 1984, with planned operation age of 80 years. Due to insufficient grouting in the foundation, during last years of the last century, the Karstification was enlarged in size and quantity, causing serious problems to the stability of the dam. Since late eighties of the last century, the status of the dam and its probable collapse has caused a panic to the people of Mosul city and near surroundings. Therefore, many attempts were carried out for assessment of the dam; all of them concluded that the Karstification is the main problem and recommended continuous grouting, using modern techniques. In addition, the authorities started to build another “Badush Dam” south of Mosul Dam so that it can stop the first wave if Mosul Dam if collapsed. All geophysical and geological work executed on the dam site; it concluded that the existence of many weaknesses zones, faults and large karstified areas, in different parts of the dam site.