Fig. 1 Displacement in the Z-direction due to groundwater drawdown at 40 m (a) and at 80 m (b)


An independently developed discrete element code, MatDEM, was used to simulate buried hill-controlled earth fissures.An initial cubic discrete element method (DEM) model was obtained by considering the gravity accumulation of particles. A 2D stratigraphic model can be constructed by importing an elevation table of different strata into a cubic model. A simplified fluid-structure interaction method was then introduced to this. The model was simulated by gradually lowering the water level and then calculating the compression deformation of strata. By comparing the calculated settlement to the monitoring data, the validity and accuracy of the MatDEM model were verified. The area prone to earth fissures was predicted based on the analysis of the particle connections and horizontal displacement. The formation mechanism of the buried hill-controlled earth fissures was also explained.Thus, MatDEM is a good numerical simulation method for studying discontinuous problems, such as rock and soil cracking, and can be a new tool with which to study earth fissures.

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