Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Reliability Analysis for Overturning and Sliding of Lacustrine Dikes: The Nezahualcoyotl's Dike Case

G.A Torres-Alvesa, O. Morales-Nápolesb and P. Mares-Nasarrec

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences Delft University of Technology, Delft. The Netherlands.


Before the year 1519, the Valley of Mexico was a closed basin and at the bottom of the valley, an extensive system of shallow lakes was formed. Within this lacustrine system, the capital of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlan, was built. The Aztecs were known for their impressive constructions and complex hydraulic structures, of which the most impressive structure was the Nezahualcoyotl dike. This structure was constructed across Lake Texcoco. Its principal function was to protect the city of Tenochtitlan from high water levels at the lake. However, there is not enough information about the reliability of this dike. Mainly due to two reasons, today there are no remains left of the dike and most of the lacustrine system is drained. In this paper, we present a method to study the reliability of the Nezahualcoyotl dike under two failure modes, overturning and sliding. This is done by following up on the work presented by Torres-Alves & Morales-Nápoles (2020) where they developed a hydrological characterization of the lacustrine system and studied the dike under one failure mode, overflow. The proposed analysis aims to provide a more realistic assessment of the reliability of the dike as a flood defense mechanism.

Keywords: Nezahualcoyotl, Texcoco, Dike, Reliability, Overturning, Sliding.

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