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SPECFEM3D_GEOTECH is an open-source command-driven software for 3D slope stability analysis and simulation of 3D multistage excavation based on the spectral-element method.

SPECFEM3D_GEOTECH is a free and open-source command-driven software for 3D slope stability analysis (for more details see Gharti et al., 2012a) and simulation of 3D multistage excavation (for more details see Gharti et al., 2012b) based on the spectral-element method (e.g., Patera, 1984; Canuto et al., 1988; Seriani, 1994; Faccioli et al., 1997; Komatitsch and Vilotte, 1998; Komatitsch and Tromp, 1999; Peter et al., 2011). The slope stability and the excavation routines were originally started from the routines found in the book "Programming the finite element method" (Smith and Griffiths, 2004). The software can run on a single processor as well as multi-core machines or large clusters. It is written mainly in FORTRAN 90 and parallelized using MPI (Gropp et al., 1994; Pacheco, 1997) based on domain decomposition, the open-source graph partitioning library SCOTCH (Pellegrini and Roman, 1996) is used. The element-by-element preconditioned conjugate-gradient method (e.g., Hughes et al., 1983; Law, 1986; King and Sonnad, 1987; Barragy and Carey, 1988) is implemented to solve the linear equations. For elastoplastic failure, a Mohr-coulomb failure criterion is used with a viscoplastic strain method (Zienkiewicz and Cormeau, 1974).

This program does not automatically determine the factor of safety of slope stability. Simulations can be performed for a series of safety factors. After plotting the safety factor versus maximum displacement curve, one can determine the factor of safety of the given slope. Although the software is optimized for slope stability analysis and multistage excavation, other relevant simulations of quasistatic problems in solid (geo)mechanics can also be performed with this software.

The software currently does not include an inbuilt mesher. Existing tools, such as Gmsh (Geuzaine and Remacle, 2009), CUBIT (CUBIT, 2011), TrueGrid (Rainsberger, 2006), etc., can be used for hexahedral meshing, and the resulting mesh file can be converted to the input files required by SPECFEM3D_GEOTECH. Output data can be visualized and processed using the open-source visualization application ParaView.

Current Release

Source Packages

SPECFEM3D_GEOTECH_V1.2.0.tar.gz [2017-06-27]

  • The file format of the displacement boundary conditions has changed (See Section 3.2.5 of the manual).
  • Now the program can be run from the general locations.
  • Main routines are modularized in preparation to add other features in the coming versions.
  • Removed all instances of runtime warning for temporary arrays.
  • Added step-by-step tutorials for both serial and parallel runs.
  • Added GiD mesh converter.
  • Improved EXODUS mesh converter.
  • Fixed several minor bugs.
  • Structural change and overall code cleanup.

View Prior Source Releases

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SPECFEM3D_GEOTECH_V1.1b.tar.gz [2012-04-23]

Version 1.1 Beta

User Resources

User Manual

The SPECFEM3D GEOTECH user manual is available online.

Community Wiki

Visit the SPECFEM3D GEOTECH Wiki page for additional support with building, using, or modifying SPECFEM3D GEOTECH.

SPECFEM3D GEOTECH Publications List

Research publications using SPECFEM3D GEOTECH.

Community Discussion

Browse the CIG Mailing List Archive to find past discussions and previous troubleshooting help, or post to the CIG forum with questions or comments.

Developer Resources

Development Version

If you are interested in getting the development version of this code from the CIG repository, use the following git command:

git clone --recursive --branch devel

You can also browse the history of modifications in the Git repository.

Issue/Bug Tracker on Github

Browse and/or submit new issues at our Github Issues Tracker.

Doxygen Documentation

Auto-generated Doxygen documentation is available for the Development and Release codebases.


Shows location of all users who downloaded SPECFEM3D GEOTECH in the past year (image updated daily.)

map showing location of all users who downloaded SPECFEM3D GEOTECH in the last year (image updated daily)
This image was generated using GMT: The Generic Mapping Tools which is released under the GNU LGPL3+. Location data is based on MaxMind's GeoLite database which is released under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 3.0.
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