July 2021
Volume 73    Issue 7

The Plewes method: A word of caution

Torres-Cruz, Luis Alberto


The Plewes method is relatively well known among geotechnical engineers interested in assessing the liquefaction potential of soil deposits. Furthermore, it was one of the four methods considered in the post-failure investigation report of the Feijao Dam I, also known as the Brumadinho Dam, in Brazil. The inclusion of the method in that report is likely to increase its visibility among geotechnical practitioners tasked with assessing the liquefaction potential of tailings. While the authors of the method duly presented it as a screening method, more recent technical literature contains conflicting views on its reliability. Considering the popularity of the method and that the safety record of tailings dams is a cause of great concern, this study assessed the uncertainty of results from the Plewes method. The study concludes that, even under optimistic assumptions, the results of the method are too uncertain for detailed characterization of tailings deposits.


Full-text paper:
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2021) 38:1329–1338, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-021-00392-0


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