ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox


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"Soil is a nonhomogeneous porous material consisting of three phases: solids, fluid (normally water), and air. Soil deformation may occur by change in stress, water content, soil mass, or temperature."[1]

Settlement is a term typically used to describe the vertical movement of soil. The more generalized term is soil displacement which occurs as a result of the following conditions: Elastic Deformation, Consolidation, Secondary Compression and Creep, Dynamic Forces, Expansive Soil, Collapsible Soil.

Calculating Settlement for Static Loads

The total settlement, which is the response to stress applied to the soil, is comprised of three major components:

  1. Immediate Settlement
  2. Primary Consolidation Settlement
  3. Secondary Compression Settlement

Measurement of Settlement

Best Practices Resources

General Design and Construction Considerations for Earth and Rock-Fill Dams (EM 1110-2-2300), USACE

Instrumentation for Concrete Structures (EM 1110-2-4300), USACE

Settlement Analysis (EM 1110-1-1904), USACE


Revision ID: 7051
Revision Date: 07/10/2023