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Earth and Rock Fill Dams

Cross section of Windamere Dam, a 69m high, Earth and Rock Fill Dam showing central clay core and rock fill shoulders.

Windamere Dam under construction. Brown clay core in centre of photo with light grey andesite rock fill both upstream (left) and downstream (right) of clay core. Note the narrow zones of dark brown filter material between the clay core and the rock fill both upstream and downstream of the core. When the dam is completed the core and filter zones are normally hidden from view inside the dam so that only the rock fill zones can be seen on the upstream and downstream faces of the dam wall. In foreground drilling rigs are being used to drill grout holes in the conglomerate, sandstone and shale foundation. Grouting is used to fill open cracks in the foundation rock so water cannot leak out of the dam and is carried out by pumping grout (a mixture of cement and water) under pressure into holes drilled in the foundation rock.

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