In this study, the performance of a damaged dam was evaluated through a three-dimensional finite element model. The dam is located in Derbendikhan city of Northern Iraq and damaged during a 7.3 magnitude earthquake which was happened 30 kilometers south of Halabja city. Derbendikhan dam which was built between the years 1956-1961 is a clay-core rock fill dam. The damage of the dam was investigated at the site right after the earthquake and some cracks were observed in the main body of the dam. The main goal of this work is to present the results of the survey which was conducted at the site and investigating the damage development mechanism through a realistic three-dimensional finite element model of the dam. As complying with the observations at the site, the finite element analysis has shown that the primary failure mechanism is due to the separation of the core and rock fill sections at the downstream side of the dam.
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