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Risk Assessment for Karst Hazards at a Facility in Saudi Arabia—A Case Study

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Document pages: 36 pages

Abstract: The boom in industrial and infrastructure construction in Saudi Arabia requires in-depth knowledge of the underground conditions to build a sustainable project. This paper gave a practical example of the challenges facing an existing facility built on a karstic limestone formation in 1970’s. Multiple geophysical techniques such as Microgravity, Electrical Resistivity Imaging, Vertical Seismic Velocity Profiling, Cross Hole Seismic Tomography, Ground Penetration Radar, Multi-Channel Analysis of Surface Waves, as well as boreholes and down-hole video imagery, were deployed through the journey of assessing the karst associated hazards of potential sinkholes or general subsidence. This paper described the karst processes, site geology, geophysical and geotechnical exploration program, and characterizes the subsurface karst conditions at the eastern province of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Results and findings of preliminary, geotechnical and geophysical investigations have been utilized to identify the major factors influencing the karst formation. Analyses and integration of obtained results to estimate the type and magnitude of risk affected the major components of industrial facility at the project site using well-known statistical approach were presented in this paper. Consequently number of remedial measures implemented to combating the experienced and expected karst hazards at the studied industrial facility placed in karstified landform are given. A model for using integrated geophysical and geotechnical techniques to assess karst-related risks to a facility was further explored herein.

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