Slope failure

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A slope failure, observed as a model on a trickle.
Embankment break on a road embankment

A slope failure is the term used for the sliding of a sliding body on a sliding joint in which the shear strength of the soil is exceeded. It is the failure of the stability of an embankment with horizontal and vertical loads. A slope failure is triggered by:

  • too large angle of approach
  • too high embankment height
  • insufficient shear strength of the soil
  • Load above the slope
  • Tremors
  • Changes in water conditions

Terrain break denotes the same phenomenon, slope break and terrain break only differ in the supporting structure .

A ground failure, on the other hand, is the failure of the soil under the foundation of a building, caused by vertical loads.

Slope reinforcements such as berms are used as preventive measures against slope failure . The slip circle method is used to calculate the stability of a slope .


The slope angle of the early pyramids in Egypt was 52 °. This may have been the cause of the sliding of the outer walls of the Meidum pyramid . This was probably the reason to change the construction of the bent pyramid , which is currently under construction , and to reduce the angle of slope at a height of 45 m from 54 ° to 43 °. All later pyramids have a slope angle of less than 45 °.