Three-dimensional (3D) numerical analyses were conducted to investigate groundwater responses in an initially unsaturated cut slope at Lai Ping Road in Hong Kong subjected to rainfalls with various patterns, durations, and return periods. Initial and boundary conditions were established from field monitoring data. The computed results show that rainfall pattern has a significant influence on pore-water pressures in soil layers near the ground surface but its influence gradually diminishes with depth. Rainfall with an advanced storm pattern of 24 h duration was found to be the most critical because it results in the highest pore-water pressure in the slope. At a given depth, the influence of rainfall pattern on pore-water pressures depends on the initial groundwater conditions: the higher the initial water table, the smaller the influence of rainfall pattern on pore-water pressures. Under a given rainfall duration, the rise of pore-water pressure at the study site is significant only when the return period increases from 10 years to 100 years, but not from 100 years to 1000 years. Short-duration, intense rainfall causes larger variations in pore-water pressure at shallow depths, whereas long-duration rainfall has a greater influence on groundwater in deep soils because of the generally greater amount of rainfall. For prolonged rainfalls, the difference in pore-water pressure distribution resulting from different rainfall patterns is less significant than that from short-duration, intense rainfalls.
- Lai Ping Road
- Pore-water pressure distributions
- Rainfall patterns
- Unsaturated slope