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In order to know the explanation, the meta-stable structure cause by leaching was presented by
Skempton and Northey (1953). To introduce the influence of leaching, it is postulated that a
reduction in the salt concentration reduced the thickness of the absorbed layer (absorbed water)
as shown in fig. 2.

a) Before leaching b) After leaching

Fig 1. Effect of leaching on the structure of undisturbed marine clay after Skempton and
Northey (1952)

Before leaching

The clay mineral lattice generally carries a net negative charge due to isomorphous substation
of high valence electropositive elements by such elements of low valence (Kazi, 1972). This net
negative charge is balanced by exchange cations absorbed by the clay minerals.

For natural marine clay, high salinity means high ionized condition, then the net negative
charge of the clay particles was suppressed to such an extent that the mutual particle repulsion is
considerable and an edge to face attraction between the particles is manifested by a loose held
frame work of randomly oriented flocculated structure of marine clay as in Fig. 1.

After leaching

The particle are still in effective contact and their packing has not been changed, and the
water content remained unaltered. But the proportion of “free water” is now greatly increased.
Consequently there is more of this free water available than before leaching.


1. X-ray diffraction technique has been successfully used for the fabric analysis of natural
sediments by a number of investigators (Bates 1947, Kaarsberg 1959, Brien 1964, Gipson
1966, Odom 1967, Gilliot 1970, Tchalenko 1971, Burnett & Hung 1971 and Kazi 1972a).
The principle is fairy simple:
- “ If the clay particles become preferentially oriented in a given plane then the intensity
of a diffracted beam from that plane is enhanced and is proportional to the amount of
material oriented in the irradiated volume (Brindley 1953 and Meade 1961).

- The problem of analyzing the fabric of soft sediments requires essentially to prepare for
examination a specimen that preserves the original fabric of the specimen (Rosenqvist 1955).
This was accomplished by impregnating the specimen in a bath of molten polyethylene glycol
(Carbowas 6000) maintained at a temperature of 60oC for a period of 10 days (Mitchell 1956 and
Martin 1966).
- The specimen was then removed from the bath and allowed to cool slowly at the room
temperature for a few days. Following the above treatment, the specimen was dissected into 3
slices. One of the slices was cut perpendicular to the in situ consolidation direction (horizontal
section) and the other two were cut parallel to this direction (vertical sections). A smooth and flat
surface to be examined under X-ray was prepared by grinding the slice (mounted on a glass slide)
with a series of increasingly fine emery papers. The surface was finally cleaned with several
application of cellotape to remove any dust partings (Barden and Slides 1971).
- X-ray diffraction traces were obtained by using nickel filter copper radiation (K-alpha)
generated at 30 kilovolts and 20 milliamperes at a scaning speed of 1o per minute. The diffracted
radiation was detected by scintillation counter using varied scale factors for optimum resolution
of diffraction peaks. The intensity of a given peak was evaluated by four different methods of
peak size measurements as shown in Fig. 2.
2. Scanning electron microscope (SEM)
-The study of the microfabric component of soil structure, i.e. the arrangement in soils of
microscopic particulate matter and the voids between these, is a subject which has evoked interest
over a long period. Several conceptual models of particle arrangements have previously been
presented, the earliest of which were conceived by Terzaghi (1925), Goldschmidt (1926) and
Casagrande (1932). Later other workers, such as Lambe (1953, 1958), Schofield and Samson
(1954), Tan (1957) and Van Olphen (1963) established models following consideration of the
colloidal and electrochemical properties of clay soils.

The basis of many of these early concepts was that particular models could be associated
with certain depositional environments. The inherent assumption was that the dominant factors in
the determination of the particle arrangement were the mode of deposition and the
electrochemistry of the pore fluid at the time of deposition. In fact, many other factors are also
known to influence the depositional arrangement of particles, among which are particle size,
shape and gradation; clay mineralogy; exchangeable cations, particularly their valency; acidity;
organic content; concentration of sediment and rate of deposition; state of agitation and depth of
water; seasonal drying out. In recent years various optical and electron microscopy techniques
have been developed for the observation of soil microfabric and are widely used. Several other
models have been put forward on the basis of these observations. This work has generated a
multiplicity of descriptive terminology which now presents an added difficulty to the
understanding of the subject. A list of definitions of the descriptive terms used in this text is
therefore given in the Appendix, and in the Paper direct reference is made to models representing
the features described.