Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Surface water
Surface water

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3.4.3 Dam failure

Dams may collapse, releasing large amounts of water downstream, causing destruction of buildings and killing people and animals. Collapse may be caused by inappropriate construction, failure of the underlying sediments or rock, overfilling or earthquakes. The dam for the Carsington reservoir, in Derbyshire, collapsed during construction in 1984 due to failure of underlying sediments. Earthquake damage to dams is rare but does occur. Although China, for example, has thousands of dams in earthquake areas, none has collapsed in recent years from earthquake damage, but in the UK, an area of low earthquake activity, the Earl's Burn Dam near Stirling failed following an earthquake in 1839.