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Prediction and analysis of subsidence induced by

shield tunnelling in the Madrid Metro extension
Manuel Melis, Luis Medina, and Jos Ma Rodrguez

Abstract: The development of tunnelling projects under heavily populated cities has been rapidly increasing around the
world during the last decades. Since tunnel construction can have disastrous effects on buildings, structures, and utilities near the excavation, construction methods have necessarily to provide maximum safety inside and outside the tunnel. To predict and correct dangerous ground movements due to the tunnelling works, the authors developed a
numerical model to simulate the earth pressure balance (EPB) excavation procedure and injection to complement some
deficiencies found in previous analytical or empirical subsidence estimating procedures. This model takes into account
the full excavation sequence and has been validated by a large amount of monitoring data from the previous Madrid
Metro extension. In the present paper, several predictive methods are used to predict the ground movements generated
during a new Madrid Metro extension project consisting of 48 km of tunnel (19992003). At the end of the works the
results will be compared with data from monitored sections placed in all five cities linked by the extension. Conclusions about the applicability and accuracy of the methods will be established with the aim of helping researchers and
engineers in their future projects.
Key words: ground movements, monitoring, numerical modelling and analysis, settlement, tunnels.
Rsum : Le dveloppement de projets de creusage de tunnels sous des villes densment peuples sest accru rapidement dans le monde au cours des dernires dizaines dannes. Mais la construction de tunnels peut avoir des effets dsastreux sur les btiments, structures et quipements prs des excavations, et en consquence, les mthodes de
construction ont ncessairement progress pour fournir un maximum de scurit lintrieur et lextrieur du tunnel.
Afin de prdire et corriger les mouvements dangereux de terrain dus aux travaux de creusage de tunnel, les auteurs ont
dvelopp un modle numrique pour simuler la procdure EPB dexcavation et dinjection pour compenser certains
dfauts trouvs dans les procdures antrieures dvaluation analytique ou empirique de laffaissement. Ce modle
prend en compte la pleine squence de construction et a t valide par une norme quantit de donnes de mesures
provenant de la prolongation antrieure du mtro de Madrid. Dans le prsent article, plusieurs mthodes de prdiction
ont t utilises pour prdire les mouvements de terrain gnrs au cours du projet de prolongation du mtro de Madrid sur 48 km de tunnel (19992003). la fin des travaux, les rsultats vont tre compars avec les donnes de sections instrumentes places dans les cinq sites relis par la prolongation. On propose des conclusions sur lapplicabilit
et la prcision des mthodes dans le but daider les chercheurs et les ingnieurs dans leurs projets futurs.
Mots cls : mouvements de terrain, mesures, modlisation et analyse numriques, tassement, tunnels.
[Traduit par la Rdaction]

Melis et al.


A vast amount of tunnelling work that has taken place
around the world in recent decades is related to mass transportation projects in overpopulated cities. Los Angeles, New York,
Boston, London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam, Cairo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tianjin, Algiers, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Caracas, and many others are just a
small sample of the cities that are extending or creating their
underground transportation network. This trend is very recent,
and it is foreseeable that in the next decades underground
transportation projects will increase to levels still unknown.

On the other hand, high speed railway transportation is also

increasing around the world. The success of the first line, TokyoOsaka in Japan in 1964, even with its relatively low
speed of 200 km/h, brought the ParisLyon TGV, leading to
the construction of the European high speed network, which
includes countries such as France, England, Spain, Belgium,
Holland, Germany, and Italy. The layouts of these new 300
350 km/h railways, with their low longitudinal slopes (1.5%)
and enormous radii (79 km), necessitates the construction of
long base tunnels in order to cross the mountains or the sea
(e.g., the recent tunnels of La Manche (50 km) between England and France; the Guadarrama near Madrid (30 km); the

Received 11 May 2001. Accepted 15 May 2002. Published on the NRC Research Press Web site at http://cgj.nrc.ca on
6 November 2002.
M. Melis1 and L. Medina. Department of Geotechnical Engineering, University of La Corua, La Corua, Spain.
J.Ma. Rodrguez. Department of Geotechnical Engineering, Madrid Polytechnical University, Madrid, Spain.

Corresponding author (e-mail: melismaynar@terra.es).

Can. Geotech. J. 39: 12731287 (2002)

DOI: 10.1139/T02-073

2002 NRC Canada


future Vignemale (40 km) crossing the Pyrinees from Spain

to France; the new St. Gotthard in Switzerland (57 km); or
the new Loetschberg also in Switzerland (42 km)). In summary, the authors believe that tunnelling projects will have an
ever-increasing importance in the near future. Pollution-free
mass transportation and the reduction of surface traffic, as
well as new sewage and water supply projects, are forcing
city administrations to use more of these solution types. However, designing and building tunnels, especially in soils and
soft rocks, is one of the most difficult geotechnical projects to
undertake. Tunnels are usually located under densely populated zones, and their construction can have disastrous effects
on the buildings above. There are many recent examples of
collapses and accidents due to the construction of tunnelling
projects, and the last report of the Health and Safety Executive of England (HSE 2000) summarized 154 collapses, with
a high number of human lives lost.
The first tunnelling shield machine with full face protection, i.e., a slurry machine, is believed to have been designed
by John Bartlett, from Mott-Hay-Anderson of England in
March 1965 and used in a water supply tunnel project under
the Thames. Further developments of this idea were made in
Germany, where Wayss-Freytag developed the so-called
Hydroshield system, which was used successfully in Hamburg, Berlin, and Amberes. Earth pressure balance (EPB)
machines first appeared in Japan in the late 1970s and were
introduced to the geotechnical community by Abe et al.
(1978) and Endo and Miyoshi (1978). In the last 30 years
the concept of tunnelling design and construction has
changed drastically, and today most of the tunnelling projects, either in hard rock, in soft rock, or in soils, are being
designed and built using this new type of shield, with either
the slurry or EPB technologies.
In some sectors of the geotechnical community there is
still, however, a fierce resistance to the use of shields in tunnelling projects. The supporters of methods such as the New
Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM), the precutting
method, or others, such as the ADECO method (acronym of
the Italian for analysis controlled deformation in rocks and
soils), are still insistent on their safety, low cost, and speed.
The Regional Government of Madrid successfully designed and built 38 km of 9.4 m diameter tunnels in soft
ground and 38 stations for the Madrid Metro extension in
just 40 months, between September 1995 and February
1999, at a cost of 44 million $US per km without any accident or collapse. This was achieved using EPB machines because the NATM or other open face tunnelling methods were
absolutely prohibited.
This absolute prohibition, perhaps the first case ever, was
specified by the senior writer responsible for the technical
and economical aspects of the project. During the same period, other cities using the open face methods of tunnelling
for similar projects spent in excess of 44 million $US
per km, needed more than 10 years for the design and construction of tunnel lengths less than 20 km, and some of
them reported a heavy record of collapses and accidents. In
November 1999 the World Bank described this project as
having an evidently superb manner of procurement and implementation.
After the 19951999 extension, the Madrid Metro network had reached a total length of 176 km with 197 stations.

Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 39, 2002

Another huge extension (METROSUR) was decided upon in

1999 by the Regional Government (Comunidad de Madrid),
consisting of a further 48 km with a 9.4 m diameter tunnel
connecting five cities southwest of Madrid. The design of
these tunnels, also located under heavily populated urban areas, necessitates the prediction of the subsidence that will
occur during construction, so that the stability of the buildings and other construction located above the tunnels can be
properly studied, analyzed, and guaranteed.
This work consists of two parts. The first part deals with
the prediction of the soil movements caused by the tunnelling works of the 19992003 Madrid Metro extension (this
paper). The second part, to be published after the tunnelling
works are finished, hopefully in 2003, will compare measured soil movements with those predicted in this paper.

The METROSUR extension project

METROSUR was designed as a new underground circular
line some 40.5 km in length (Fig. 1) that will connect five
cities located southwest of Madrid (Alcorcn, Mstoles,
Fuenlabrada, Getafe, and Legans). The tunnel will pass under urban areas, where 27 new stations are being built, so
that the system will be used as local underground transport
in each city.
The ring established by METROSUR is 40.5 km in length
and will be linked with the present Madrid Metro network
through the extension of Line 10 up to Alcorcn, where the
connection between both lines will be placed. In each city
the new circular line connects through interchange stations
with the regional railway network of commuter trains. Thus,
other cities, like Parla or Pinto, may join the METROSUR
system. The location of the stations takes into account not
only the service of the most populated areas but also the position of the university zones, hospitals, and shopping centres. It is foreseen that 140 000 passengers per day will use
the system during the first year of service.

Selected subsidence prediction methods

It is difficult to use most subsidence estimation methods
for prediction purposes. In fact, they employ several parameters that are not always easy to estimate before the start of
tunnelling works
(1) (radial strain), (a parameter), and (relative
ovality) in Sagasetas and Verruijts methods;
(2) (an empirical parameter) and (a parameter) in
Oteos method;
(3) g (undrained gap parameter) in Loganathans method;
(4) VS (volume loss) and i (position of the point of inflection in the normal distribution curve) in Pecks method; and
(5) K0 (coefficient of earth pressure at rest) and the soil
chamber pressure on the tunnel face in the Romo (Romo
1997) and Medina-Melis methods.
When a lot of field data is available (VS values for example), an important part of this is either contradictory or does
not allow for easy extraction of accurate values. Furthermore, in most cases they were obtained from very diverse
construction techniques, geotechnical conditions, tunnel geometries, etc. (and are also different from those corresponding to the analyzed problem). As a consequence, a wide
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Melis et al.


Fig. 1. METROSUR extension project.

range of possible settlement predictions may be obtained

from each method.
The settlement estimation corresponding to this paper will
be made with the following methods.
(1) The Sagaseta method
This method is based on the analytical solution of the subsidence given by Sagaseta (1987) and later extended by
Sagaseta (1988) and Uriel and Sagaseta (1989). The surface
settlements are given by the following expressions:

z (x) =

x2 + H2


z (y) =


1 +

where z (x) is the vertical soil movement in the orthogonal

plane to the tunnel axis, x is the distance to the centre line,
z (y) is the vertical soil movement in the longitudinal plane,
and y is the distance to the tunnel face. Finally, VS is the volume loss (ratio of the volume of the surface settlement
trough per metre run to the excavated area, usually expressed as a percentage), and H is the tunnel axis depth.
Later improvements to the method were proposed by
Gonzlez and Sagaseta (2001)


y 2 + H 2

z (x) = 2 R

2 1

1 x2

(1 + x 2 )
1 + x2

where R is the radius of the tunnel, is the radial strain, x is

the relative distance to the tunnel axis (x/H), is a parameter, and is the relative ovality
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Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 39, 2002

Fig. 2. Longitudinal settlement profile (after De la Fuente and Oteo 1996).



where is the ovality. All of these parameters depend on the

soil and the excavation process. When and are equal to 1,
this expression converts into eq. [1].
The soil movement distribution is defined by three parameters (, , ). To obtain them from the surface settlement
profile we should make an adjustment at three points.
Sagaseta proposes that = 1 in clayey soils and values of
this parameter depend on the tunnel axis depth in granular
soils ( = 2 when H < 2D and = 1 when H > 4D).
The value of ranges between 0 and 1 and may be greater
than 1 if grouting is used to fill the gap.
As a first approach, (in %) can be obtained from VS as

(2) The Verruijt-Booker method

The Verruijt-Booker method (Verruijt and Booker 1996) is
a generalization of Sagasetas solution for compressible soils
(arbitrary values of Poissons ratio); it includes the effect of
z (x) = 4 R2 (1 )

H( x 2 H 2 )
2 R2 2
x +H
(x + H 2 ) 2

where is Poissons ratio. For the undrained case, = 0 and

= 0.5, and eq. [6] converts into eq. [1].
The total area (A) of the settlement trough is found by integrating eq. [6] from to +. The result is

A = 4(1 ) R2


4(1 ) R
4(1 )

(3) The Peck method

This method is based on the famous work by Professor
Peck (1969), with later corrections such as those of Atkinson
and Potts (1977) and Clough and Schmidt (1981). It is based
on the former observed data and does not include consideration of the effects associated with the recent development
of shield techniques. As a result, the ground deformation
predicted by this method is larger than the measurement data
observed in recent shield excavations.
i 2 2.5i


z,max =


z (x) = S e 2 i = z,maxe 2 i
i 2

x 2

= S

assuming undrained conditions (the volume loss, VS, is equal

to the ground loss at the tunnel, V0).


x 2

where z,max is the maximum settlement over the tunnel axis,

and i is the position of the point of inflection in the normal
distribution curve.
Peck provided graphical empirical correlations between
VS and the stability number, N, where the stability number is
defined as(after Broms and Bennermark 1967)

N =

v T

where v is the total vertical stress at the tunnel axis level,

T is the internal support pressure, and cu is the undrained
shear strength of the soil. Because of the difficulty in estimating these parameters and the vagueness of the graphical
correlations, VS values have been obtained from monitoring
data corresponding to the last Madrid Metro extension, as
explained later.
It was also difficult to estimate the position of the point of
inflection, i. Graphical correlations between i and H (like that
from Peck, for example) are imprecise and the ranges of pos 2002 NRC Canada

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Melis et al.


Fig. 3. Finite difference mesh, global co-ordinate system, and construction process.

Fig. 4. Mesh dimensions and position of the section for soil movement control.

x 2

sible values are too wide. In the present study eq. [13] has
been used to determine the i values needed by Pecks method.


(4) The Oteo method

This semiempirical method is based on Oteos works over
the last 30 years (Oteo and Moya 1979; Sagaseta et al. 1980).

where and are Poissons ratio and the total unit weight of
the soil, respectively; D is the tunnel diameter; is an empirical parameter to be obtained from monitoring data analy-

z =
(0.85 ) e 2 i

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Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 39, 2002

Table 1. Classification and characteristic geotechnical properties of Madrid soils.

Elastic and Mohr-Coulomb models
content (%)

Man-made fills
Arena de miga
(loamy sand)
Arena tosquiza
(clayey sand)
Tosco arenoso
(sandy clay)
Tosco (brown
Peuela (blue,
plastic clay)




angle ()


Compression elastic
modulus (MPa)









































sis; and E is the extension Youngs modulus. The position of

the point of inflection, i, corresponding to the surface subsidence profile is obtained from Sagaseta et al. (1980)

= 1. 05 0. 42


(5) The De la Fuente and Oteo method

This method (De la Fuente and Oteo 1996) is based on the
finite element analysis. The model allows an easy and quick
estimation of the longitudinal subsidence curve (Fig. 2). Soil
surface settlements that start at a distance of 0.85H ahead of
the tunnel face are in the order of max over the tunnel face
and stabilize at D metres behind it. The point of inflection
is proposed to be at a distance of D behind the tunnel face.
The maximum settlement, max, may be obtained from
eq. [12]. Values for , , and are given in Fig. 2.
(6) The Loganathan-Poulos analytical prediction method
In this method (Loganathan and Poulos 1998)
1. 38x 2

( H + R)
z (x) = (1 ) 2
x +H

where g is the undrained gap parameter, which can be estimated as follows:


(7) The Medina-Melis method

This is a numerical method based on the FLAC3D finite
difference code (Medina 2000). This model takes into account the full excavation sequence as described below.

Numerical simulation

where is a parameter that depends on the properties of the



Modified Cam clay model

g = Gp + U3D +

where Gp is the physical gap that represents the geometric

clearance between the outer skin of the shield and the lining
(if grouting is employed to fill the physical gap, the value of
Gp is assumed to be in the order of 0.070.1 times its original value); U3D is the equivalent three-dimensional (3D)
elastoplastic deformation at the tunnel face; and takes into
account the quality of the workmanship.
When using EPB machines elastoplastic 3D strains at the
tunnel face may be neglected with relation to Gp. Besides, if
good quality construction conditions are considered 0; thus
the gap parameter is equal to the physical gap (i.e., g Gp).

The numerical simulation of EPB tunnel excavation in
Madrid has been carried out with the FLAC3D finite difference code (Itasca 1997) to account for deformations ahead
of the face and the effect of the shield. The full excavation
sequence, as detailed later, has been simulated, including the
overexcavation (the void between the ground and the shield),
the gap (the tailpiece void between soil and liner), and the
grouting process behind the shield tail. The buildings placed
near the tunnel axis have not been included in the model.
According to the authors experience with more than 37
kilometres of big diameter tunnels, displacements due to
shield excavations depend mainly on construction sequences
and EPB parameters. In the present study, special care has
been taken of the following aspects (Medina 2000): (i) soil
chamber pressures (top, centre, and bottom) on the tunnel
face; (ii) void space between soil and shield (overexcavation);
(iii) tailpiece void between soil and lining (gap parameter);
(iv) injection grout pressure; and (v) lining behaviour.
A 3D model allows a more accurate analysis of the construction effects on the soil and the repercussions of some
key parameters, such as the injection grout and chamber
pressures. In order to take into account the 3D effects in the
vicinity of the tunnel face, 2D models should make hypotheses about stress release or inward soil movements along the
perimeter of the tunnel as the successive excavation stages
are taking place (Lee et al. 1992; Hashimoto et al. 1999;
Benmebarek and Kastner 2000).
Geometrical and mechanical model
The adopted mesh and global coordinate system x, y, z,
are represented in Fig. 3. The mesh dimensions have been
obtained from sensitivity analyses (Fig. 4). All movements
in the model are measured at one diameter distance from the
origin of the mesh to avoid boundary effects caused by the
plane y = 0 m.
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Melis et al.


Fig. 5. Volume loss, VS, versus H/D. Madrid Metro extension


of tunnelling. Besides, the mechanical parameters needed

are well known in the case of Madrid soils.
(3) The modified Cam clay model. It offers the following
advantages with respect to the preceding models:
(a) The elastic parameters, K and G, are obtained from the
following expressions:


According to present theories and knowledge about the

geological history of Madrid soils, they have experienced an
important overconsolidation process. The past maximum elevation of Madrid ground surface is believed to have been in
the order of 725 m and today varies between 600 and 700 m.
Measurements of the coefficient of earth pressure at rest, K0,
done during the last decades in Madrid soils provided K0
values in some cases higher than 1, and as high as 1.6. The
authors are currently undertaking a new series of measurements to ascertain the value of this parameter. In this work,
K0 values were obtained from Alpan (1967)


3 (1 2)

G =
2(1 + )

where v is the specific volume, p is the mean stress and is

the slope of the swelling lines.
As the equations for the normal consolidation line and
swelling lines are different, different values for K and G are
employed to calculate elastic deformations along these paths.
(b) Furthermore, these parameters are not constant along
the normal consolidation line and the swelling lines, but they
depend on the current strain state in each element (p).
(c) Soil overconsolidation is considered by the model not
only as an initial stress state but also as a factor determining
the pre-failure and post-failure mechanical soil behaviour.
When working with the preceding models, the original stress
state may be introduced by means of initial conditions, but
these do not reflect the stress history, and the overconsolidation effects on the soil response are not taken into

K0 = K0NC OCRff

where K0NC is the coefficient of earth pressure at rest for

normally consolidated soils; OCR is the overconsolidation
ratio; and ff is a parameter depending on the soil. The values
for these parameters may be inferred from the following



ff = 0.54 10


K0NC = 1 sin

(Alpan 1967)
(Jaky 1948)

where PI is the plasticity index and is the friction angle

(Table 1). The OCR value corresponding to each element is
obtained from its current depth and elevation.
Three different soil constitutive models have been selected
for analysis as follows:
(1) The linear elastic model. Here K (tangential bulk
modulus) and G (shear modulus) are supposed to be constant. This is a very simplified hypothesis, but its predictions
are acceptable in many cases because Madrid soils are very
stiff, and plasticity effects are not very important for the purpose of predicting subsidence (Medina 2000).
(2) The Mohr-Coulomb elastoplastic model. The main advantage with respect to the elastic model is that plastic deformations are taken into account. Construction difficulties
such as steering and alignment problems can cause overexcavation and remolding of adjacent soils. Usually during
tunnelling, a significant disturbed zone is induced around the
tunnel. Therefore, it is expected that the use of a linear elastic model coupled with modelling overexcavation process
does not reliably represent the soil behaviour in the problem

EPB excavation process model

A discontinuous advance of the shield has been studied:
soil cylinders, whose length is equal to the lining ring
length, are instantaneously excavated. After each cylinder
excavation, stress balance is allowed. The FLAC3D large
strain option has been adopted (the deformed mesh geometry is taken into account). The EPB frustum conic shape has
also been modelled. For each excavation step the following
sequence of operations is applied (Fig. 3):
(1) Removal of face elements.
(2) Interface generation on the new soil surfaces created.
Shield and soil meshes are independent and may deform independently. This interface, with the appropriate mechanical
properties, avoids penetration of the soil into the EPB mesh
and allows contact forces to be applied between them where
and when they contact each other.
(3) Shield displacement for a length equal to the removed
soil cylinder length. The linear elastic constitutive model
was used for the EPB elements. Their unit weight is the ratio
between the total shield weight and its apparent volume. Because of the overexcavation (the difference between shield
and tunnel diameters), small steel plates are welded to the
lower half of the EPB to maintain the alignment of the tunnel and the machine axis. These plates were modelled with
the same mechanical properties as the EPB.
(4) Grout pressure application, after EPB passage, on tunnel surfaces. To reduce the volume loss, VS, and the surface
settlement, the gap between the soil and the lining is filled
with grout. Close to the shield tail, the grout has still not
hardened; thus, soil pressure cannot be applied to the lining.
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E (kPa)

i (m)
VS (%)




g (m)



i (m)


Table 2. Adopted values for required parameters in the predictive methods.


Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 39, 2002



A hydrostatic pressure distribution is believed by the authors

to be the most realistic approach to model the effect of the
grout on the ground. Grouting pumps in Madrid EPBs can
give up to 6000 kPa pressure, and pressure at the end of the
lines has been kept normally as high as 250 kPa.
(5) Generation of grouted elements. Injection hardens
12 m away from the shield tail because the grouting material
is designed to harden 12 h after it is applied, and the mean
shield speed is 1 m/h (Melis 1997). The linear elastic model
is employed to simulate these elements.
(6) Generation of lining ring elements. After the grout
hardening, soil pressures may be sustained by the lining, so
ring elements are also created 12 m away from the shield
tail. The linear elastic model has been used to model lining
mechanical behaviour. Behind the shield, lining rings settle
into the fluid grout injection. However, they do not reach the
bottom of the excavation because of the 140 mm separation
due to the shield wall plus the guidance steel profiles and the
bolts linking them with both the ring inside the shield and
the preceding rings surrounded by hardened grout.
(7) Soil chamber pressure application on the tunnel face.
In most cases, the EPB shield is operated so that the rate of
excavation is less than the rate of the machine advance, forcing the soil away from its face causing small initial heave.
This initial heave will reduce the amount of final settlement,
especially in hollow tunnels or when soft soils are excavated
(sometimes it can even be removed). As in the numerical
model the rates of excavation and machine advance are the
same, this effect may be taken into account by varying the
soil chamber pressure. The values of this parameter are
available from the files recorded from the shields during the
excavation of the tunnels. Madrid EPBs work under normal
circumstances with 60 to a maximum of 100 kPa pressure at
the upper cell in the soil chamber and as high as 270
300 kPa at the bottom cells.
(8) Finally, the weight of the back-up is applied on the
corresponding lining rings.
Technical parameters referring to EPBs, lining rings, and
injection grout are as follows:
(1) EPB parameters. (a) EPB shield external diameter is
9.33 m in the Mitsubishi machines. The cutting wheel diameter, as related to the peripherical bits is 9.38 m. Thus, the
overexcavation is normally equal to 25 mm excluding the
curves, where the copy-cutters increase slightly the horizontal diameter, thus providing an elliptical cross-section in the
excavation in order for the shield to be able to build the
curve. (b) The total length is 10 800 mm. An intermediate articulation allows up to 2.5 relative tilt between the front and
the tail part of the shield. The thickness is 80 mm with a
conicity of 0.01 m/m. (c) The weight is 9750 kN. (d) The
back-up length is 115 m. (e) The back-up weight is 5050 kN.
(2) Lining ring parameters. (a) A universal ring was selected for the 9.38 m diameter machines, although excellent
results were also obtained with the right-left ring in the
7.4 m diameter EPB from LOVAT. (b) The inner diameter is
8.43 m. (c) The thickness is 0.32 m. Several analysis were
carried out to determine the appropriate value for this parameter. Different load hypotheses were considered: storage
and transport of dowels and ground pressures on the lining
when varying the tunnel axis depth (Melis 1997). (d) The
length is 1.5 m.
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Fig. 6. Stratigraphic profile. Section I (Fuenlabrada, chainage 0+305).

Fig. 7. Predicted transversal settlement profile by the numerical

method (elastic, Mohr-Coulomb, and Cam clay models). Section
I (Fuenlabrada, chainage 0+305).

Fig. 8. Predicted transversal settlement profile by different methods. Section I (Fuenlabrada, chainage 0+305).

Fig. 9. Predicted longitudinal settlement profile by different

methods. Section I (Fuenlabrada, chainage 0+305).

(3) Injection grout parameters. (a) Pressure at the shield

tail, end of grouting pipes is 200600 kPa. (b) Youngs
modulus (when hardened) is 2.57 GPa. (c) Poissons ratio
(when hardened) is 0.286.

In OctoberNovember 2000, six EPBs had started tunnelling in the areas where the predictions of this paper have
been made. It is foreseen that by the end of year 2002 all
tunnels will have been constructed.
Five sections have been analyzed in this work by means
of each of the seven estimation methods detailed herein.
These sections cover a wide range of both geotechnical profiles and tunnel depths.
All sections analyzed have been fully instrumented. The
geotechnical instrumentation of each control section consists
of (a) seven leveling points, (b) three sliding micrometers,
(c) one trivec, and (d) one inclinometer.
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Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 39, 2002

Fig. 10. Stratigraphic profile. Section II (Fuenlabrada, chainage 1+114).

Fig. 11. Predicted transversal settlement profile by the numerical

method (elastic, Mohr-Coulomb, and Cam clay models). Section
II (Fuenlabrada, chainage 1+114).

Fig. 12. Predicted transversal settlement profile by different

methods. Section II (Fuenlabrada, chainage 1+114).

Once all of the measurements are collected, the results of

the predicted and measured surface movements will be published. In the present work the results of the soil movement

Fig. 13. Predicted longitudinal settlement profile by different

methods. Section II (Fuenlabrada, chainage 1+114).

estimation will cover the following items: (a) maximum

settlement at the surface above the tunnel axis; (b) point of
inflection of the subsidence curve; (c) volume loss in the
section; (d) the shape of the transversal subsidence curve;
and (e) the shape of the longitudinal subsidence curve.
The adopted values, in the numerical method, for the parameters of the EPB tunnelling machine are as follows: (a) earth
pressure in the face chamber (hydrostatic distribution in depth):
50 and 200 kPa on the upper and lower cells, respectively; and
(b) grouting pressure at the shield tail: 100 and 220 kPa on the
top and the bottom of the tunnel, respectively.
The main properties corresponding to the Madrid soils, as
required by the numerical method, are summarized in Table 1. Elastic and Mohr-Coulomb parameters have been obtained from several hundred soil tests from the last Madrid
Metro extension (Medina 2000), while Cam clay parameters
have been inferred from the following empirical correlations
(Wood 1990):

PI s
0. 006 PI
100 000 ln(100)
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Fig. 14. Stratigraphic profile. Section III (Getafe, chainage 7+385).

Fig. 15. Predicted transversal settlement profile by different

methods. Section III (Getafe, chainage 7+385).

6 sin
3 sin


M =



(LL + 0.3 PI)
100 000

where is the slope of the normal compression line in the

ln p plane, PI is the plasticity index, s is the density of
the soil particles, expressed in kg/m3, M is the shape factor
for the Cam clay ellipseslope of the critical state line, LL is
the liquid limit, and is the value of the specific volume on
the critical state line at a mean effective stress p = 1 kPa.
This later expression can be combined with the following
one obtained from 178 soil samples (Medina 2000):

LL = 1.422 PI + 9.581

The following relationship between N, PI, , and is obtained:


N = + ( ) ln 2

Fig. 16. Predicted longitudinal settlement profile by different

methods. Section III (Getafe, chainage 7+385).


N = 1.25 + 0.045 PI + 0.693( )

where N is the value of the specific volume on the normal

compression line at a mean effective stress p = 1 kPa, and
is the slope of the unloadingreloading line in the ln p
The preconsolidation pressure, pc0, is obtained in each finite difference element from

pc0 = pmax +

q max
M 2 pmax

where pmax and qmax are the maximum previous p and q

v,max + 2 h,max


pmax =


q max = v,max h,max

and v,max and h,max are the maximum vertical and horizontal stresses, respectively, corresponding to each element.
They are obtained from the current depth and elevation of
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Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 39, 2002

Fig. 17. Stratigraphic profile. Section IV (Alcorcn, chainage 7+505).

Fig. 18. Predicted transversal settlement profile by different

methods. Section IV (Alcorcn, chainage 7+505).

each element, the past maximum elevation of Madrid ground

surface, and eq. [16].
To be able to compare the results from the different methods, the same VS values have been used with those methods
that need it (i.e., Sagaseta, Verruijt-Booker, and Peck methods). These values have been obtained from Fig. 5, which
shows data from several instrumented sections in the Madrid
Metro extension (19951999).
Most of the VS values are within the range 0.1 and 0.6%.
If we consider that VS (0.71.0)V0 (Medina 2000), and the
overexcavation (a circular ring 15 mm thick) represents
0.64% of the tunnel cross section, it is possible that most of
the ground loss, V0, is due to this overexcavation. Thus, after
the passage of the shield, grouting and lining rings avoid additional ground loss.
The values of the parameters employed in the analyzed sections for each predictive method are summarized in Table 2.
Section I
This section is located in the city of Fuenlabrada (chain-

Fig. 19. Predicted longitudinal settlement profile by different

methods. Section IV (Alcorcn, chainage 7+505).

age 0+305, overburden 9.5 m). The stratigraphic profile is

formed, from top to bottom, by 3.5 m of man-made fills,
8 m of brown clay, and several strata of clayey sand, sandy
clay, and brown clay randomly distributed (Fig. 6).
The subsidence profiles from the numerical simulation are
shown in Fig. 7. As said before, three different constitutive
models have been used: the linear-elastic model, the MohrCoulomb elastoplastic model, and the critical state Cam clay
Settlements predicted by the Mohr-Coulomb model are
slightly higher than those obtained from the elastic model. This
is a consequence of the ring of plasticized soil around the excavation. Soil movements from the Cam clay model estimation
are between those corresponding to the two other ones.
The most reliable predictions are believed to be those from
the Mohr-Coulomb model because (i) it takes into account the
plasticity phenomenon, as explained before; and (ii) its corresponding parameters are better known than those of the critical state model obtained from empirical correlations.
Results from all of the prediction methods corresponding
to the transversal and longitudinal troughs are shown in
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Melis et al.


Fig. 20. Stratigraphic profile. Section V (Alcorcn, chainage 8+770).

Fig. 21. Predicted transversal settlement profile by different

methods. Section V (Alcorcn, chainage 8+770).

Figs. 8 and 9, respectively. Because of the above-mentioned

reasons, the represented numerical prediction (Medina-Melis
method) corresponds to the Mohr-Coulomb model results
shown in Fig. 7.
The maximum settlement, over the tunnel axis, ranges between 6.2 (Oteos method) and 32.3 mm (Pecks method).
With respect to the longitudinal subsidence profile, similar
results have been obtained with the Medina-Melis and De la
Fuente methods. In this case, the Sagaseta model predicts a
final maximum movement greater than the others.
Section II
This section is also located in the city of Fuenlabrada
(chainage 1+114, overburden 10.3 m). The stratigraphic profile is formed, from top to bottom, by 4.5 m of man-made
fills and several strata of clayey sand, sandy clay, brown
clay, and loamy sand randomly distributed (Fig. 10).
The subsidence profiles from the numerical simulation
(Medina-Melis method) are shown in Fig. 11.

Fig. 22. Predicted longitudinal settlement profile by different

methods. Section V (Alcorcn, chainage 8+770).

As happened in section I, settlements predicted by the

Mohr-Coulomb model are a bit higher than those obtained
from the elastic model. In this case, the Cam clay model estimates greater movements than the other two models and
they are very close to the elastoplastic prediction.
As explained before, the most reliable predictions are
those from the Mohr-Coulomb model. Because of the similarity between the estimations from the different constitutive
models, only the Mohr-Coulomb results have been presented
in the next two figures.
Results from all of the prediction methods corresponding
to the transversal and longitudinal troughs are shown in
Figs. 12 and 13, respectively.
The maximum settlement, over the tunnel axis, oscillates
between 6.8 (Oteos method) and 22.1 mm (Pecks method).
With respect to the longitudinal subsidence profile, similar
results have been obtained with the Sagaseta and De la
Fuente methods. In this case, the Medina-Melis model predicts a final maximum movement much greater than the
other methods.
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Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 39, 2002

Table 3. Estimated values for max , i, and VS corresponding to the analyzed sections.






max (mm)
i (m)
VS (%)
max (mm)
i (m)
VS (%)
max (mm)
i (m)
VS (%)
max (mm)
i (m)
VS (%)
max (mm)
i (m)
VS (%)
max (mm)
i (m)
VS (%)

Section I

Section II

Section III

Section IV

Section V






Section III
This section is located in the city of Getafe (chainage
7+385, overburden 12.8 m). The stratigraphic profile is
formed by 2.4 m of man-made fills and several strata of
sandy clay and high plasticity clays (Fig. 14).
Results from all the prediction methods corresponding to
the transversal and longitudinal troughs are shown in
Figs. 15 and 16, respectively. The numerical prediction corresponds to the Mohr-Coulomb model.
The final settlement over the tunnel axis ranges between
4.6 (Sagasetas method) and 11.1 mm (Pecks method).
Similar shapes for the longitudinal subsidence profile
have been obtained by means of the employed methods, although each of them predicts a different final settlement.
Section IV
This section is located in the city of Alcorcn (chainage
7+505, overburden 6.3 m). The stratigraphic profile is
formed by several alternate strata of loamy sand, sandy clay,
and clayey sand, as shown in Fig. 17.
Results for transversal and longitudinal troughs are represented in Figs. 18 and 19, respectively. The numerical prediction corresponds to the Cam clay model. In hollow
tunnels (H < 1.5 D) this model seems to fit field data better
than the others (Medina 2000).
The maximum settlement ranges between 11.5 and
56.5 mm, as predicted by Oteo and Peck, respectively.
Similar shapes for the longitudinal subsidence profile
have been obtained using the employed methods, although
final movements are quite different.
Section V
This section is located in the city of Alcorcn (chainage
8+770, overburden 15.2 m). The stratigraphic profile is
formed, from top to bottom, by 3 m of man-made fills,
4.5 m of loamy sand, 3 m of clayey sand, and several alternated strata of sandy clay, loamy sand, and brown clay as
shown in Fig. 20.

Results for transversal and longitudinal profiles are represented in Figs. 21 and 22, respectively. The numerical prediction corresponds to the Mohr-Coulomb model.
The maximum settlement ranges between 4.5 and 9.5 mm,
as predicted by Sagaseta and Peck, respectively.
Similar shapes for the longitudinal subsidence profile
have been obtained using the employed methods, although
each of them predicts a different final settlement; in this
case, the Medina-Melis method gives an estimation higher
than the others.
As a final summation of this point, results from the five
analyzed sections are gathered in Table 3. It refers to the
maximum settlement, max, the position of the point of inflection, i, and the volume loss, VS.
The positions of the point of inflection given by Pecks
method are smaller to the positions from the other methods.
Nevertheless, in most cases the maximum settlements are
predicted by Pecks method. Thus, the volume loss values
from this method are similar to the values from the others.
In general, the minimum vertical movements are obtained
from Sagasetas method.

Although a few methods have been proposed to predict
the deformations in numerical, statistical, and empirical
ways, it is difficult to say whether these methods can be
used in confidence.
To convert analytical methods into a practical predictive
tool, it would be of great interest to establish easy ways to
estimate their parameters. Much help could be found in all
of the available data from the Madrid Metro extensions.
Empirical methods are very useful and easy to handle tools
for estimating ground settlements. However, tunnelling engineers would be grateful for them if they provided more specific
values to be used for their parameters in each kind of problem.
Numerical methods are very flexible and may be adopted
to solve a specific problem taking into account geometrical
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Melis et al.

and geotechnical variables and the construction process.

They provide much more information than analytical or empirical methods. However, the incorrect choice of the constitutive model, the inaccuracy in the values of the parameters
employed, the improper understanding of the construction
process, etc., may lead to wrong results. Numerical models
should be verified and validated with the help of analytical
and empirical models and field data.
After the completion of the tunnelling works corresponding to the METROSUR Extension Project, a comparison between the predicted settlements presented in this paper and
the monitoring data will be made. The accuracy of each predictive method will be assessed with reference to the soil
movements measured at the five analyzed sections.
An improved fitting of the variables involved in the presented methods and a further knowledge about their applicability to specific situations will be inferred from this future study.

The authors wish to thank Professor Jimnez Salas, sadly
no longer with us, for his invaluable contribution to the
world of geotechnical engineering and in particular to that in

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