The problem of the stability of “ravanetos” (debris piles of mining waste material extracted from the Apuan Alps, Italy) is very relevant, because of the consequences a landslide would have on the people and the existing civil infrastructures throughout the territory.
In this work, the stability of two ravanetos that can be considered as representative of those in the Carrara area has been studied: the Polvaccio ravaneto, a recent type of debris pile and the Torrione-Tecchione, an old debris pile at present undergoing re-naturalisation.
The study using the LEM (Limit Equilibrium Method) in a static and pseudo-static field, has made it possible to first carry out a back-analysis to define the most probable apparent cohesion and friction angle values of the material that makes up the ravanetos. Subsequently, it was possible to determine the intensity of the seismic wave that would be able to lead the two ravanetos to limit stability conditions and to determine the probability of such a seismic wave occurring in the next 50 years.
A more accurate analysis, carried out with a numerical method in the dynamic field, of the most critical condition (the Polvaccio ravaneto) has led to more conservative results (higher safety factors) than those obtained with the LEM. This result allows us to reveal how the LEM can be considered a cautionary instrument to judge the stability of debris piles during a seismic event and that the likelihood of a landslide occurring in the two studied representative ravanetos over the next 50 years is very slim.