: (4) I•. ·... use dual symbol GC-GM. Cc = (D3o) 2/D10 X D6o [Eq. = D6r/D10 [Eq. · · mlf soil'contains 2: 30% plus No.silty clay..Organic siltk..:Peat ''/' - ~" - - --- -- Kif fines classify as CI. add "with cobbles and/or boulders'' to group name.<. : ilf the liquid limit and plasticity index plot in the hatched area on plasticity chart.. .'1' SANDS .e: 4 and 1 > Cc < 3• GW Well-graded gravd Cu< 4 and/or 1 > Cc < 3e GP Fines classify as .4 ·sieve '' · .. . · . 75 LLnatural ' · Organic siltk..7 Index and Classification Properties of Soils Unified Soil Classification System .m.l Criteria for Assigning Group Symbols' ~nd Group Names Ush1g Laboratory Tests• (1) (2) COARSEGRAINED SOILS (3) GRAVELS More than 50% retained on · No.36)). GW-GC well-graded gravel with clay.o PI plots on or above .i sc Clayey sandg. below "A"-line' LL oven-dned · · < ·.: GP-GC poorly graded gravel with' clay. "gravelly" to group name. 0 PI <: 4 or plots below "N. : Fines classify as CLorCH ' . Poorly graded sand.75 LLnatural 'Primarily organic matter. 'c. (2.. Dept.l. ' •PI plots below "N' ·line.35)). 200. SC-SM... caravels with 5% to 12% fines require dual symbols: .:::::::_ Fat clayk· 1·m CH " MH ..200 . oven-dned . dark iri color..hlf fines are organic. · . gravel." whichever is predominant.ML.' ' '• ...so Chapter 2 · .)' LL .organic odor · · -· · --------- •Based on the' material passing the 3 in. " 1 PI < 4 and plots .p ..l. . (2. -• . "A:'-lirie' . MLorMH· GM Poorly graded gravd Silty gravetfg. Organic SILTS AND ·CLAYS . add "with sand" to group name. . 0. PI plots below "A'' -litie . " . iif soil contains 2: 15% gravel. . of the Interior (1990). ..· Soil Class_ification . predominantly gravel. SP-SC poorly graded sand with clay. Liquid limit less than 50 Fines classify as MLorMH.

amount of organic matter. with each part of. 2.ol is modifiedby C or M. silty clays '\ I "··-.'' The A -line generally separates clayey' from silty soils (symbols C and M).13). silts and clays. on Casagrande's plasticity chart (Fig. 1 _. and the fines are classified using the plasticity chart (Fig.4 Low plasticity inorganic clays. .the sy'. · ' 4 The symbol M isfrom the S~edish terms rna(= very fine sand) ~nd mjiil~ (=silt). determined to be primarily organic in nature._. but they can be included in the verbal description of the soil. These dual symbols are: GW-GC GW-GM SW-SC SW-SM' GP-GC GP-GM SP-SC . and the primary symb.13 Several representative soil types shown on Casagrande's plasticity chait {developed from Casagrande. 2. are those having 50% or more passing the No. Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) 51 • · Between 5% and 12%: Again. sandy and . In all of the cases. 0 can be substituted for CorM if the fines are.-67~777-="'i CL-ML •.9 ·. ---F".2. 1984). Based.· ·· GC. 40 material. a distinction is made.13). • Greater than 12%: The Atterberg limits are performed on the minus No.100 . .~M ! I._j_ -. . between soils with LL-less than or greater than 50 (symbols Land H). and between inorganic soils above or below the "A-line.SC. 200 or 75 m sieve.Silty clays. The fine-grained soils. The soil is classified as either W or P based on the Cu arid Cc.O" 0 I 0 10 16 50 90 . 1948. · clayey silts and sands F I . and Howard. Cu and Cc need to be evaluated. .GM. A dual symbol is th~n assigned. · . as follows: ·· · ··· · . but now there are sufficient fines to also run Atterberg limits on the minus No. 110 Liquid limit FIGURE 2. and they are classified according to theirAtterberg limits and whether they containasignificant.+"""'P::L.llbol starting with either G or S. 40 material.cited above for coarse-grained soils.SP-SM 1 Notice that the L and H from the plasticity chart don't make it into the classification.

and none had LL below 16. and he found that no ·soils plotted above this line (A. only four had LL 17.14 should always be used together withTable 2. etc.14 useful.75. 200 sieve. very high moisture content. leaves. In addition. Silts and clays that contain sufficient organic ma!ter to influence the}r properties are classified as organic.52 Chapter 2 .= 16. These consist primarily of organic matter. Both the ASTM D 2487 and USBR 5000 procedures give flow charts for coarse-grained. we have always found the step-by-step procedure in Fig. 200 sieve Note: Sieve sizes are U. If the ratio of the oven~dried LL to the LL not dried is less than 0. color. personal communication. and thus they often have a fibrous to amorphous texture as well as the ·dark color and organic odor mentioned above. See ASTM standard D 4427 for a system for classifying peat. FIGURE 2. They are given the group symbol Pt and the group name of peat. and organic soils to help you conveniently assign the appropriate name and ~'group name" to a soil. because LL's below 16 are not very reliable. then the soil is considered to be organic and has the symbols OL or~ .S. odor. 1960). = (The third major group is highly organic soils.7. COARSE GRAINED. The U-line is·an upper-limit line. Peats are composed of vegetable matter and plant debris in various stages of decomposition. Casagrande developed his chart by plotting Atterberg limit results from various soils from around the world. HIGHLY ORGANIC SOILS (Pt) Fibrous texture. It has been found that the LL of organic clays and silts decreases after oven drying. etc.14 Auxiliary laboratory identification procedure (after USAEWES. If you plot results above this line. are dark bro~n to black in color. 2. or FINE GRAINED. In · borderline cases determine amount passing No. Note that the U-line is 'vertical at LL =. you've made either soil history or an error (you can figure the odds). imd have an organic odor. ' . because it shows a process of elimination of all the possibilities until only the correct classification remains. since the soil is sliding on the LL cup rather than flowing or shearing through the soil itself. Casagrande._ · . so this is a simple indicator of the presence of significant organic matter. Standard • If fines interfere with free-draining properties use double symbol such as GW-GM.) COARSE GRAINED 50% or less pass No. one had LL = 16. Howard (1984) reports that of over 1000 LL tests performed by the USBR. finegrained.Index and Classification Properties of Soil~ Make visual examination of soil to determine whether It Is HIGHLY ORGANIC. Figure 2. 1966). particles of vegetable matter (sticks.

% Finer No. % Finer Soil 2. 40 sieve material Umits plot in hatched zone on plasticity chart FIGURE 2. Required: ..lO NoAO No.200 LL PL PI ••• -! 97 90 40 8 5 NPa Soil 3.' . % Finer 100 100 100 99 97 124 47 77 "Nonplastic.9 Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) 53 Run LL and PL on minus No.lOO No. Example 2.4 No. Sieve Size Soill.. . Cl!issify the three soils according to the Unified Soil Classification System and provide a group name.14 Continued.13 Given: Sieve analysis and plasticity data for the following three soil~. 2.

54 Chapter2 ·Index and Classification Properties of Soils U. .S. since only 5% passes the No. Q) Q. ing the No..1 .. the % sand _.) U.4 sieve. footnote l in Tably 2.::: ~ 0 tii ~ 40 ""-~ 30 t1l 0 ~ .0 ~~ t----~~--------~--~~~~~~~~~~-­ :.' 'Plot the grain-size distribution curves forth~ threesoils (show~ inFig. so it is a CL-ML. Standards sieve opening (in.11_1_11·1~1111~ ~ 90 10 f/l f/l l:lt1l 80 ~ 70 t 60 0 "(ii t1l E 5 :E Ol "(ii ~ ~ >- . we see from the curve that more than 50% passes the No. . to further classify it. Elev. Next. "'----.1 6 ~ 43 11'{1.7 indicates that "sandy" should be added. so that the soil's group name is ~'Sandy Silty Clay. .. ' For soil1.····· 3 4 "'.:.. .S..200 sieve~ b 7% passes the No.13). 5 LL PL 20 15 PI 5 . or depth Classification Natw% .13 Solution: Use Table 2..No. 1.7 and Fig.. Standards sieve numbers 100 Hydrometer . Sample . riote the amount of : eria assing lleN-o. 200 sieve: looking at the grain size curve.. 2.Ex. . 2 2 1 4 2 8 3 4·6 -·-···-----·---·-·····---1.j ~ QL (. "" . r-Date FIGURE Ex. the soilplots inJhehatched zone on the plasticity chart (Fig. the soil is a sand rather than a gravel. Soil2 is immediately seen to be coarse grained. 2. thus the soilis fine grained and the Atterberg limits are required..200Sl:eve(5%).) "E Q) ~ Q. 2:14.. 2.13). . NP 124 47 77 49 24 25 -- NP I Project ·Ex.::! % gravel.HciinF1g:'2}4.theioil is "borderline" and therefore . -.:l. and with < 15% gravel. 3. With LL = 20 and PI = 5. 2. Continue now by using Table 2...". 2. 1 2 .7to obtain the group name.:l. 200 sieve (60% ).13 Area '----- Boring no. With> 30% pass·.

71 = 3. and homogeneity of the deposit should be observed and included in the sample description.13 to determine whether the soil isaCH or MH. brown.word "mixed" is used if the material is fill comprised of various soil components from different sources.7. caution should be used when one is· handling and ''sniffing" soil that is believed . 4.ied Soil Classification System (USCS) 55 su~h~. · a ' ' = 0. so the group name is "Fat Clay. . Characteristics such as color. 1. they do not completely describe·a soil.9 < 6 · D 10 0. and other combinations of the basic colors.34 mm.with a group name of poorly graded sand (SP).S.: the Pi is 78for soil 3.20) = 75. A typical set of soil colors includes the following: gray. Cc' = (D3o? . we cannot directly use the plasticity chart (Fig. one could also end up .. Even a small percentage of fines ch'cu1ges the engineering properties quite a bit. For a 'soil to be considered . or soil deposit. yellowish. and · D10 = 0. Howard (1977).73(LL .well graded. .1 Visual-Manual Classification of Soils Although the letter symbols and group names•in the USCS are convenient.inct. it m~st meet the criteria shown in Column (4) of Table 2..91 · .9 .. · 2. The coefficient of uniformity Cu is Cu = D60 ="' 0.. ' ' i ' ' .lT.. ASTM D 2488.= 0. 7.~-:~ending has a dual symbol on the values of Cu and Cc. . at the CH group symbol./1 ~ni. 2. and the U. in fact. . soil with symbolSP-SM is "poorly graded sand with silt. D 10 X D 60 = co. Since the LL is greater than 100.9. it does not." · • Commentary on this example and engineering practice: The only way-repeat. From Table 2. let alone group name.yellow and brown.and thus the soil is classified as a CH. D30 . 200 sieve).71 = 0. various government agencies.. Burmister (1948) is credited with introducing the concept of systematically describ·.18 · and the coefficient of curvature Cc is . ' - ! . descriptive terms should alsobe used for a complete soil classification. Otherwise it is an educated guess-unless you have lots of experience with the visual-manual classification procedure. with 97% 'passing.' only 3%is retained on that sieve.20) = 0. From the grain-size 'distribution ~x:-T. The . may be found is by having both the Atterberg limits AND the grain size analysis..34) 2 0. PI . and none of the footnotes k. so the soil is considered poorly graded and its classification is SP-SM .'.73(124 ·"-. ing soils.) .A quick glance at soil 3's characteristics indicates that it is fine grained (97% passes the No.18 X 0.7.] · ·· · · ' ' '' . Army Corps of Engineers (1960). For this reason. No sieves or Atterberg limits are used'-just your eyes and fingers.18 mm. itlies abov~ th~ A-line. . mottled . Odor is important. ONLY way-that the correct classification symbol. 71 mm." [Because this soil is almost borderline with < 5% fines. odor. These are called visual-manual procedures because they use only observations and manual manipulation to describe and identify soils. 2. moisture con.13): We use instead the equation for the A-line on Fig. gray brown. since it can be used to assess the presence of organics and contaminants.\Ve find that D 60 · = 0. (The soil is SM because the fines are nonplastic and probably silty. from footnoted inTable 2. . reddish brown. ' ' 1 S.dition. .· and consulting firms have· developed variations of basic· descriptive categories. For the group name. or m apply. . .

such items as grain shape. degree of weathering. and even taste (if they wante. predominantly coarse-grained soils. which means that descdptive classification be more dependent on the person doing it.8 describes four methods for field testing of soils. you just use those that are applicable for your particular soil sample.56 Chapter 2 . Terms such as very loose. and very dense are used to describe in situ density. Index and Classification Properties of Soils to be severely contaminated. we suggested that you get some pracfice identifying soils according to texture and other characteristics. we prepare.a . and hard are employed to describe consistency~ Table 2. as well as the tests described in Table 2.Ther6fore.) There probably was about 400 years of total geotechnical experience inthe room. Everyone was under the gun. ~e procedures. Adjectives such as rounded. consistency. diameter) piece of reinforcing steel: very loose soil can be penetrated with the bar pushed by hand. provide astartingpointfor this part of soil classification. and their relationship to p'1nticularfine-gr~ined soil types and plasticity: ~·.4 ( 1/z-in. and'imy other appropriate identification marks andinformation. medium. About 25 very experienced soils engineers were invited to classify the samples according to the Unified Soil Classification System and provide a name 1for each soil (without knowing the Atterberg limits or grain size). soft. In other words. · · For cohesionless.d) the soil in order to classify it. silts. Dept. They were calling silts.d a 'set of ten samples of moist soils along with a small container of the · same soils air dried. the project or job name and number. and some measure of plasticity should be noted in the sample description. However.· . 2. We encourage you to obtain a copy of one of these procedures and use it as a guide in learning to visually and manually classify different soils. loose. as compared with thelaboratorydetermined USCS classification of these ten soils. while to penetrate very dense soil even a few millimetres may require a sledge hammer. stiff firm). bore hole or test pit number. and is usually evaluated by notingtheease with which the deposit can be penetrated. they perceived the soils to be finer than they actually were. The result was entirely unanticipated.an effective and accurate (or will on . getting a consistent desciiptiv~'classification for' a given soil requires considerable experience. Excellent guides for doing this ar~. medium. Although they are similar to the USCS and use the same · group names and symbols. Such terms as very soft. you can become quite good at it. . not all these items will be required for all soils. · • · · · · · When we discussed texture of soils in Sec. Also be sure to include all pertinent information' the origin or source of the sample. The moisture condition description can be as simple as dry (dusty). Each participant was given a clipboard and pencil and was free to poke. For fine-grained soils. and the presence or absence of fines should be noted and included. Of course. remolded consistency. in situ density. very stiff. They also have flow charts to help you get the correct group name and visual-manual classification. and with a little practice on a variety of soils. (This test occurred long before ASTM had group names in their standards. Years ago.) Table 2. 2. are very simple. these proceduresrely only on vislial examination: and simple manual tests-and not on laboratory tests for grain size distribution and Atterberg limits. (See Chapters 3 and 4 for rock classification. · .to become. mineralogical content. feel. of the Interior (1990) Procedure USBR 5005. the method mentioned above. Conclusion: It takes practice and continual self-calibration.standard D 2488 and U.4 ·and at the beginiling of this section. was only3 out of 10! Most of the engineers were · consistently off (horizontal translation) regarding the "fineness" of a soil sample. Consistency in the natural state corresponds in some respects to the in situ density in coarse-grained soils.8. clays and sands.7). especially under the guidance of an experienced soil classifier. The·average grade.S.given by ASTM (2010) . · You can probably see thatthe visual-mariual classification of soils is much more subjective than uses classification.' sample riumher. The in situ density is normally obtained using the standard penetration test or a cone penetrometer. · •:: . angular. moist (damp) or wet (free water). but a cruder version of this test is to use a No.' especially the more senior people. and subangular are commonly used to describe grain shape (see Fig. dense.9 is a checklist of the items that should be included in a visual-manual soil description. .-to describe and ·identify soils.

Results Interpretatio~: Weakness of the thre~d at th~ pl~stic limit and quick loss of coherence of the lump below the plastic limit indicate either inorganic clay of low plasticity or materials such as kaolin-type clays and organic clays that occur below theA-line. · . the fine sand feels gritty after breaking.silts show a moderately quick reaction. a Dry Strength (crushing properties) · • Mold a pat of soil to the consistency of putty. A typical inorganic silt has only very slight dry strength~ Silty fine sands and silts have about' the same dry strength. then test its 'strength by breaking and crumbling between the fingers. finally loses it plasticity.8mm Note: Soil iype in caps is the predominant soil type.:. Results Interpretatio~: Very fine. · · ·· ' • Th~ dry strength increases with increasing plasticity.8 Property Tested Test Procedures and Results Interpretation Dilatancy (reaction to shaking) • Prepare a pat of moist soil with a volume of about 5 cm3• •· • Add enough water to make the soil soft but not sticky. a very weak and spongy feel at the plastic limit. • The tougher the thread near the plastic limit and the stiffer the lump when it finally crumbles. but . Unified Soil Classification System {USCS) 57 TABLE 2. 40 sieve size. clean sands give the quickest and most dramatic reaction. the more plastic the soil. • A positive reaction consists of water appearing on the surface of the pat. while a typical silt feels sm'oother and more like flour. . • The smaller the. Plasticity (estimate of natural plasticity) • M~?ld a specimen of soil at its natural water content into a lump.'· aAll tests are for soil or soil fractions minus No.2. which becomes filmy and glossy.moisture is lost.6mm . when the sample is squeezed between the fingers. Results Interpret~tion: · Degree of plasticity Nonplastic· Slight Low'· . thread that can be rolled out. Medium· High· · . ·. and it finally cracks or crumbles. Howard (1977). • Allow the pat to dry completely by oven.. . and von Rosenvinge (2006). the pieces should be lumped together and a slight kneading action ·continued until the lump crumbles. '. the water and gloss disappear. sun. or air.0. . while plastic clay gives no reaction. Fold and refold the thread repeatedly:. . After U. .' . adding water or slightly drying if necessary. Then.' . the moreyotent the clay fraction in the soil. ' ' . • After the thread crumbles. Soil type SILT Clayey SILT SILT and CLAY · CLAY and SILT ·· Silty CLAY CLAY .S. : Results Interpretation: High dry strength is characteristic of a CH clay. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station (1960).VeryHigh · .3mm· 1. . • Place the pat in the open palm of one hand and shake vigorously against the other hand several times. adding water if necessary. • Mold a specimen ofsoil about the size of a 12mm cube (like a sugar cube) to the consistency . High-organi~ clays have . '' Toughness (consistency near the plastic limit) '' .. Roll out the specimen by hand on a smooth surface or between the palms into the smallest thread possible without causing excessive cracking or crumbling.. Inorganic . • Roll out the specimen by hand on a smooth surface or between the palms into a thread about 3 mm in diameter.9.of putty. and cnimbles when the plastic limit is reached. the specimen stiffens. the pat stiffens.

Plasticity of fines: nonplastic. namesalsoshouldcorrelate With the group names in Column (6) of Table 2. · 22.S. strong "•. This is basically whytheCasagrande chards so useful in the engineering classification of soils. 21. Color (in moist condition) 15. fissured.7. 7. 9. flat and elongated . Geologic interpretation .> .9. wet . firm. 14. :• · '-. Moisture: dry. 1990) 1. very hard 19.15.9 Checklist for Description of Soils (U. as compared with their behavior at the same plasticity index but with increasing liquid limit. 2. ·• classifier.10. For example. ' :' ~. Particle shape (if appropriate): flat. moist. we can get several other things from Casagrande's LL-PI chart. . while the inset at the upper left of the figure shows data primarily from the United States. rapid · 13. sand and/or fines (by dry mass) 5. laminated.16 from Casagrande (1948) shows the Atterberg limits for a number of typical soils from around the world. rounded . moderate. subangular. 18. Sand-fine. Maximum particle siie or dimension. medium. Hardness of coarse sand and larger particles . r~. of roots or root holes Presence of mica. ' ·· 17. Casagrande (1948) observed the behavior of soils at the same liquid limit with plasticity index ·increasing. slickensided. elongated.· Surface coatings on coarse-grained particles Caving or sloughing of auger hole or tren~h sides·<· Difficulty if! auguring or excavation . Reactio~ with HCI: nom!. homogeneous 20. of the Interior.13). : What Else Can We Get from the LL-PI Chart? Besides being useful for the classification of fine-grained soils (e. . high 1L Dry strength: none.2 .. Dilatancy: none. Tmighness: low. Follow ASTM D 2488 and USBR 5005 and get some experience! And calibrate yourself frequently with a variety of soils with knownAtterberg limits and grain size curves. coarse. _ Group symboL 3. strong . medium.. Local name . Particle-size range: Gravel-:fine.g. medium. For example. You can see from these figures that several different soil types tend to plot in approximately the same area on the LL-PI chart. . 10. weak. low. low. 2. high . medium. Group name 2. Particle angularity: angular.. slow. hard.~ Fig. These. high. . . . · ' 2. Cementation: weak. representative fine-grained soil types are shown in Fig. Odor (mention only if organic or unusual) 16. soft. le~sed. Percent of gravel. gypsum. Percent of cobbles and/or boulders (by volume) 4. '. which means that they tend to have about the same engineering behavior. vei:y high' 12. Figure 2. Additional comments: Presence.58 · Chapter 2 · Index and Classification Properties of Soils TABLE 2. Structure: stratifi~d. . The results are shown in Table 2. coarse • 6. .. etc. ·' ~ : ' 1 • s: For int~ct sa~ples: · . .. subi:ounded. COnsistency (fine-grained soils only): very soft. Dept.

MARIANAS_ISLANDS - -. @CLAY. '-· .----.• .S.----.: . ..· . ' ·· DAKOTA- 40 o ··0 ~~ ~/ ·I l II .... . ~~400t-:--+--~~~/-+-?'~ ~ 80 100 I 120 140 160 180 200 .-------.'•J. t-. TRACE OF . CALIFORNIA rt.ARIZONA • .. KANSAS. 1990). ·... KANSAS-NEBRASKA' .. CALIFORNIA • : . Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) G) SANDY CLAY. .~ -. .___ ~t---. . ~v /' / @_ BENTONITE..10.. ~12! ·_A: ' ro ·· c::: '_ 80 .LI=7'. . SINGAP-ORE @KAOLIN CLAY. .. Liquid limit FIGURE 2./ / B @CLAY._ -- ~ 100 :~ ~<:. ®CLAYEY UJESS. ' Increases 'Increases Decreases -About the same · · ' Decreases ' . of the Interior.L-PI Chart and Physical Properties ·..9..'-_/"--f---+--f---+--f---1 · GILARIVERVALLEY. ___. NORTHEASTERN NEW MEXICO 180 59 . 2. . WYOMING AND souTH. 160 _ @SILTY CLAY. UTAH - _ I ' i CZ)PORTERVILLE CLAY "EXPANSIVE" (CALCIUM 140 BEIDELLITE). .---. RESIDUAL SOIL. SLIGH. j- 60 ·. · MONTMORILLONITE GUAM. TLY ORGANIC. · • . Dry strength Toughness near PL · Permeability · : Compressibility R~te of volume charige .---. ~-- I / (13) I // . @~~EM~~ ~:i::.Relation Between Position on the i. - ' ll .. 1 / I ·' 600 . GLACIAL LAKE DEPOSIT. ' @SILTY LOESS.EE"i~ _\~t.· GUAM.. Dept.. . NORTH DAKOTA .---:.T~ 20 _)- ' 40 60 I I. · • TABLE 2..-with Increasing PI'' .15 Relation between the liquid limit (LL) and the plasticity index (PI) for various soils (U. MARIANAS ISLANDS · -~ .. c I •._ · 'A'dfmJH~f® I~ :e:~~~r® • ~~~·.. ' . Soil~ at Eq~al LL. r~~ ~-j-~-x _ @MONTMORILLONITE CLAY.----..~7--{g · . SALT LAKE BASIN SEDIMENTS. . -· @HALLOYSITE CLAY. -~-:S -------7---.--+--:-+-+--+-t-:--t----1 I. .·-+-+--+-+--+--f---1 . SANDY. "EXPANSIVE"(SODIUM MONTMORILLONITE}$"_ ''~+.----.. DECOMPOSED GRANITE. . . @ KAOLIN CLAY..ig~~~EOUS AND . ' \ Soils at Equal PI with Increasing LL Decreases Decreases Increases · Increases •·After Casagrande (1948).---120 . ---. f+-. '..Characteristic..

Natural State t=¢F~"~~~~~~. suchas cobbles ·and boulders. although. For one thing..Index and Classification Properties of Soils 400 r--. and they are discussed in great detail later in this book. along with correlation with the activity. when you are classifying a soil deposit.) Another difficulty with theUSCS is that it says veiy little about materials laq~er than gravels. it does not consider the geologic origin or source of the materials being classified. (This is item 22in Table 2.. · .----.· Silt. Although the uses is meant for classifying naturally occurring mineral and organa-mineral .· .16 Relationship betw'een liquid limit and plasticity index . The other three characteristics are engineering properties. As will be noted in Chapter 3...) Dned qrgamc S1\t and Clay (Panama) __ _ I : K~olin (Mica. 2.~· • ~ (Fl ush!~g Meadows.) 110 40 Liquid limit FIGURE 2.----. ': . Wash.____ I Diatomaceous Earth Peat >< Q) "'C ·-m 70r--~--~--~-r-T---r--~ · Liquid Limit - 30 . the angularity of cobbles and boulder~ is not mentioned. and Mass. . Ga..(Calif.9. .------. . Ll. - "~ . it is still OK to classify them as soils according to the USCS (see ASTM D 2488 and USBR 5005).'-~. and Cl ay. . .-. · :(' 1. __ . However. -. clay. cinders.Or~am~ ~l~y (N.. soils.------.~ ·~ '.. .) I 00 10 20 30 Micaceous Sandy Silt (Cartersville. as we will later see.. For now.' ·-·------.. slag.. ' ' Toughness near the. sandstone.) ··-·~·.for typical soils (Casagrande. Howard (1984) mentions that it is often used to-classify materials such as shale. __.. PL and dry strength are v~ry useful visual classification properties.<. Conn.We shall see in Chapter 4 that Casagrande's plasticity chart can be used to identify qualitatively the predominant clay minerals in a soil (Fig.60 Chapter 2 .. ·. Thus. ..• . particle shape strongly influences the strength of granular materials. · . be sure to indicate that the materials did not naturally occur in this state. .. ~~:h~~x~--south Carolina) 1 . which do not occur naturally as soils.~. as shown in the preceding section (see Table 2. the USCS does have some limitations.8).:. As noted by Galster (1999). .) 100 200 300 400 ' .. it would be prudent to mention the geologic' origin of the materials you are working with.14). crushed rock.!: ~ co a:: -------l· .3 Limitations of the uses ! " . 4. materials are crushed or otherwise broken down by construction activity.: ... . If these .9.~w London.:. siltstone... just ·rely on yoilr general knowledge and ingenuity to figure out what those three words mean . in addition to the USCS group name and symbol. 100 Various /~Types of §. the nature of the · soils and their engineering properties are often strongly influenced by· their geologic origin. 'i... Furthermore. . and shells. . • @ ·Mica Powd er ~~ ' Organic . . 1948). . stone.

.5 Prepare a graph like that in Pr~blem 2. Prepare a concluding statement .11. as there is a unique relationship between dry density. . with only a thin tar or asphalt pavement.) · The AASHTO system classifies soils into seven groups. AI-Hussaini (1977) arid Liu (1970) compare the two systems in terms of the p~obable corr~sponding soil groups. If you just look them up and copy the~. ·. .! '-. void ratio. you will satisfy the moral obligation to do the homework but you will not learn them.2 ·From memory. [Note: Such a graph is very useful to check problems that you do in this chapter. ~ '' ' . and saturated density. write out the definitions for water c~ntent. dry density.Problems 2. 2.4. Similar graphs for density of other solids may be easily computed and plotted. subgrades.67 Mg/m3• What is the water content of the material when saturated? Phase diagram! 2. and so on are then readily computed. . 2. Matlab-or a spreadsheet would be nice! 2.9 What is the water content of a fully saturated soil with adry density of 1. :2.6 Prepare a graph like that in Problem 2.': - . ' ' :' . Label all the parts. The PR system was modified several times for sub grades under thicker pavements..7 The dry density of a compacted sand is 1.. to be defined shortly). Bureau of Public Roads (now the Federal Highway Administration. ' . from 100% to 40% in 10% increments. 2.and ASTM (2010)standard D 3282. What is the density of the solids? What is the dry density of the soil? Phase diagram! :. the so~called "farm-to:market" roads: That research led to the development of the Public Roads Classification System (Hogentogler and Terzaghi.4 Prepare a spreadsheet plot of dry de~sity in Mg/m3 as the ordi~ate versus water content in percent as the abscissa. FHWA) co~ducted ex'tensive research on the use.A-1 throughA-7. · .65 Mg/m3 and vary the degree· of saturation.3 Assuming a valtu:' of Ps = 2. Void ratio.of your observations. S..ents on your sheet for future reference. wet density. The "phases" have a Volume side · · and Mass side.10 A dry quartz sand has a density of 1.2. for some comments on this point.Designation M 145 ." you should keep in mind its original purpose. · . •.65 M~m3 • Find the(a) water content. . 2. wet or moist density..72 Mg/m3• 2. · . .65 Mg/m3.10 AASHTO SOIL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM 61 • J. and bases. Doing so will give you an idea of what to expect in the future. based on.8 A soil that is completely saturated has a total density of 2045 kgim3 and a water content of 24%. 2. and the degree of saturation for any given density of solids. Remember this range. Its details are given in AASHTO. The only tests required are the sieve analysis and the Atterberg limits. water content. draw a phase diagram (like Fig. which is· riot surprising. adequate (except for very soft clays. and it includes several subgroups. .S.68 Mg/m3• Detennine its density when the degre~ of ~aturation is 75%.•.. . There are severalsignificant differences between the' USCS and AASHTO soil classification ··systems.1 From memory. 2.. ' ~ . : The density of solids for quartz is 2. and this is essentially the present AASHTO (2004) _system. • . Soils within each group are evaluated according to the group index. considering the differences in their history and purpose.87 Mg/m3 and the density of the' solids is 2. . 2. .] Show all your equations as corrmi.. and (c) totaldensity when th'e 'soil is saturated. Th.72 Mg/m3? Assume Ps = 2. only for S = 100%.60 to 2. .80 Mg/m3• You decide the size of the increments you need to "satisfactorily" evaluate the relationship asPs varies.' In the late 1920~ the U. • .the stability characteristics of soils used as a road surface or . subbases. which is calculated by an empirical fonnula. . (b) void ratio. .. but don't look first!). ' . ·Although AASHTO states that the system "should be useful in determining the relative quality of the soil material for use in embankments. 1948.4..e d~ densityor'a soil is i. . ' ' ' ' . Assume Ps = 2..'take tl~e range of saturated density iii T~ble i l for the six soil types and calculate/estimate the 'range in void ratios that one might expect for these soils. . only use dry 'density unlts of kN/m3 and pounds per cubic feet. of soils in local or secondary road construction.60 Mg/m3 and the solids have a density of2. The latest revision was in 1942. (See Casagrande. . and varythe density of solids from 2. 1929).7Mg/m 3. PROBLEMS Phase relationships 2. . A maximum of 50% water content should be.

assuming the sample mass M 1 stayed the same? 2. Compute how many grams of water must be added to each 1000 g of soil (in its natural state) in order to increase the water content to 22.:) 24ho~rs 2. how much force is required to prevent it from sinking? Assume that a weightless membrane surrounds the spechn<!n·..22 A sample of sand has the following properties: total mass M 1 = 160 g. specific gravity of solids G5 = 2. Specific gravity 'of solids 3 inches .If the sand contains 0. The_soil will be used for a highway project where a total of 100.0%. · 2. The dry weight of the specimen is 128 g. Compute the water content.69 Find the density.83 inches and weighed 777 gniiris.20 A cylindrical soil specimen is tested in the laboratory. water contentw = 20%. · Give the answers to parts (e) and (f) iri both SI and British engineering units.64. total volume v. . Its void ratio in this state is 1.95lb 2. 2.' ' ·· · a 2. . (Prof. . The.0%. ·• '(a) Calculate the wet unit weight in po~nds per cubi~ feet. How much would the sample volume have to change to get 100% saturation.000 m3 of soil is needed in its compacted state. (b) Find the void ratio afte~ compression and the chal!-ge in _water content that occurred from initial to final state.16 A cubic meter of dry quartz sand (Gs = 2. · · · . . The sample is compressed to a 2-cm thickness without a change in diameter. · · ·' ' · . 2.5 em thick.14 In the lab.10 kg Specific gravity of solids: 2.Ladd. of 60% is immersed in an oil bath having a density of 0. .27.12 A natural deposit of soil is found to have a water content of 20% and to be 90% saturated. unit weight. using the correct' number of significant figures. . 2. and the specific gravity of solids is 2. .18 A sample of moist soil was found to have the following characteristics: Total volume: 0. .15 The natural water content of a sample taken froin a soil deposit was found to be 12. What is the void ratio of this soil? 2. p~ior to being compressed..65) with a porosity. its compacted void ratio is 0.70. .06 g after the soil had dried. m3 of entrapped air. If the specific gravity of solids G5 = 2.determine the water content.2 grams after drying. (c) Compute the dry density in Mg/m3 and the 'dry unit weight in kN/m3•.5 feet.35. I ( 'J_ .70. and the density of the soil solids is 2.54lb uooc ···.65 ' . (c) porosity. por~sity. . .80. after drying in oven · Oven temperature ' Drying time· . It has been calculated that the maximum density for the soil will be obtained when the water content reaches 22..15.21 A sample of saturated silt is 10 em in diameter and 2. . in glcffi. 73. followlng properties were obtained:.74 kg Mass after oven drying: 22. andvoid ratio of the soil. (b) A small chunk of the original sample had a wet weight of l 40.13 A chunk of soil has a wet weight of 62 lb and ~olume of o:s6 ft 3: When dried iri ~n· ov~n. The specific gravity of solids is 2.27 g bef~re it was placed in theoven and 100. the ~oil weighs 50 lb. .) 2.23 D~aw a phasediagr~m' and begin to fill in the bl~nk~: A soil speci~~n h~s totalvolum~ of SO.62 Chapter 2 Index and Classification Properties of Soils 2.' (d) degree of saturation.3.· (a) Find the density of the silt sample. . · 2. wet unit weight. Determine the '· · · void ratio and water content of the original soil sample.92 g/cm3.31 g. (e) wet density.OoO mm3 and weighs 145 g.0%.9 grams and weighed 85. = 80 cm3. .17 ·A soil sample taken from a borrow pit has a natural void ratio of 1. . f~ I Sample_diameter Sample length ·• Wt.19 A gray silty clay (CL) is sampled from a depth of 12.• ': Wh~t is the degre~ of saturationof this specimen? 2. and degr<!e of saturation for the moist soh.' a container of saturated soilh~d a mass of113. (b) void ratio. before drying in oven· Wt. 6 inches 2. v~id rati~. The container alone had a mass of 49. The "moist" soil was extruded from a 6-inch-high brass liner with an inside diameter of 2. and (f) dry density.68 Mg/m3• Find the (a) water content. C. dry unit weight.How much volume has to be exc~v~ted from the bo~row pit to _meet the job requirements? 2.01456 m3 Total mass: 25. C.

36: . The container weighs 8. The oven-dried water content is 23. the density of soil solids Psis 2600 kg/m3. compute (a) the total or wet density and (b) the dry density.4%?. 2.25 A water-content test was made on a sample of clayey silt.24 m 3: The' vol~me. of solids .28 A specimen of fully saturated day soil that weigh~ l3S9 gin its natural state weighs 982 g after drying.22 215.22 215. porosity.35 A sample of natural glacial till was taken from below the groundwater table. 2. · 2.27 The ma~s of~ sample of silty' clay soil plus corit~inerls 18.was 15. Estimate the wet density. and lbf/ft3. find the water content.75 216. Calculate . 13. The weight of the wet soil plus container was 18. The mass of the dish is 146. dry density.30 grams: (After U. Y.30 For the soil sample of Problem 2. content is 6.S.70 Mg/m3• With this information.43g and the ~eight of the dry soil plus container is . porosity.>f the ·e!llpty contaii!er.' Clearly state any nec· · essary assumptions. and so on.19 "This total time of 4 minutes is from 3 minutes before and one more minute. . . 6 7 8 9 10 Mass of Soil + Dish.29.33 The saturated density 'Ysat of a soil is 137 lbf!ft3• Find the buoyant density of this soil in both lbf!ft3 and kg/m3• 2.. Its dry weight is 920 g and the density of solids is 2680 kg!m3• Compute the void ratio. is 0.03 g. .19 215. min .84 g: Compute the water content of the sample. .72 215. Dept. compute (a) the void ratio and (b) the porosity. 2.6 g when the initial water. · a 2.was 7. 1990. grams 231. kg!m3. Dept.29.22 grams. What is the natural water content of the soil? .46 g. The container weighs 258. 2. and total density in kg/m3• 2. · FIGURE P2. degree of saturation.62 217. (After 'U. Compute the density of the sand when dry and when saturated and compare it with the density when submerged.67 g. 2. The water content was found to be 52%.7 g.58. buoyant density.36 A 1~ll1 3 sample of moist soil ~eighs 2000 kg: The water ~ontent is 10%: Assume Psis 2.63 g. .31 For the soil sample of Problem 2. and void ratio. .) · · · · Time in Oven. 2.24 A sample of soil plus container weighs 397. oflnterior.) ' ' ' ' ' ~ ' . 2. giving a mass of soil + dish = 216.S.32 A 592-cm3volume of moist sand weighs 1090 g. ~2. Give your answers in Mg/m3.7%. .3%. From the data below. 1990. .34 A s~nd is composed of solid constituents having a density of 2..2. . water content. ratio is 0. Total Oven Time. evaluate the water content and draw conclusions.29 -The volume of water in a sample of saturated soilis 0. and the weight of the dry soil plus container. the_watercontent of the ~ample.Problems 63 .wen to determine its water content. Weight <.. Howmuch water needs to be added to the original specimen if the water content is to_ be increased by 3.68 Mg/m3• The void.25 m 3• Given that . 3 4" 5 . of l!lterior. min 0.48 215.-36 .26 A soil sample is dried in microwave-i. . fill in all ?lanks in the phase diagram of Fig. 2.32 215.

:.n .70 Mg/m . calculate (a) the void ratio.46 For the soil in the previous two problems.Ps · 1 · e ·(b) p = Pd(1 + w) · Ps " '(c) w. in terms of the porosity n and the water content w' for (a) a fully saturated soil and (b) a partially saturated soil. · · · 2.41 Calculate the maxi~um possible porosity and void ratio fora collection of (a) tennis balls (assume they are 64. Can the plastic limit be evaluated by a one-point method? 2.40 The values of minimum e and maximum e for a pure silica sand were found to be 0.Pw)/(1 + e). 3 2. 1+e 2.39 A specimen of saturated glacial clay has a water content of 38%. Does your answer compare . 2. (2.11). p.47 A soil specimen had a buoyant density ~f'73 pounds per cubic foot.36. 2. Pw. n - Ps + PwSe 1+e (d) e = 1.44 The degree of saturation of a cohesive soil is 100%~ The clay when wet weighs 1489 g and after drying weighs only 876 g. (3) weighed again (W. e . What is the corresponding range in the saturated density in kg/m ? 2. compute (a) the water content and (b) dry and wet densities in both SI and British thermal units. Find the water content of the soil. with what you would expect for a satu~at~dcohesive soil? 2.45 For the soil in the previous problem.64 Index and Classification Properties of Soils Chapter 2 2.50 g What is the PL of the soil? 2.37 For the information given in Problem 2. Provide your answers in units of Mg/m3. and (c) the dry density.12 g = 1.51 Develop a formula for (a) the wet density and (b) the buoyant density in terms of the water content. compute the void ratio and the porosity.38 The void ratio of clay soil is 0. 2.. . 2.42 A plastic-limit test has the following results: Wet weight + container Dry weight + container Container weight = 23.50 and 0.52 From Archimedes' principle show that Eq. and (c) degree of saturation in terms of p. (e ) n = . 2. arid (4) weighed in water (to get the volume of the sample +wax coatingremember Archimedes?). Pw• and w.48 Verify from first principles that: _ (1 ++ w) _· (a) p . On the assumption that Ps = 2. · ' 2. A specimen of cemented silty sand is treated in this way to obtain the ~'chunk density.- . the natural water content of the specimen is determined. porosity. and saturated density.3 mm in diameter..49 Derive an expression for p. The specimen at its natural water content is (1) weighed. imd (d) degree of saturation of the sample.43 During a plastic-limit test.14 mm in diameter) and (b) tiny ball bearings 0.6and the degree of saturation is 75%. is the same as (p.46 g Compute the PL of the soil. Draw a phase diagram and properly label it. kN/m3. especially of friable samples. ! ..13 g = 19. (2) painted with a thin coat of wax or paraffin (to prevent water from entefing the pores). the density of the soil solids. 3 . determine the (a) wet density." From the information given below.12g ~ 20.. p'.(b) void ratio.. 3 2.and lbf/ft3• · ' . Finally.50 Derive an expression for (a) dry density.= Psat. compute the void ratio. . compute (a) the total or wet density and (b) the dry density. (b) the porosity.70. (c) void ratio. the following data was obtained for one of the samples: Wet weight + container Dry weight + container Weight of container = 23. respectively. and the density of ~ater. + Wwax). C~lcul~te its wet density in kg/m • 2.53 The "chunk density" method is often used to deter~i~e the unit weight (and other necessary information) of a specimen of irregular shape. • . Assuming the density of the solids is 2710 kg/m3.= Se ' Pw . · 2. (b) dry density.84 g = 1.

) 38 (P/z) 19 (%) 9. . No. dry density. ' 1~J.5% ~ 2650 kg/ri13 = 940kg/m3 i' Phase. "' 40~J. or Particle Size ··J 75 mm (3 in. Pwax . Find the inconsistent value and report it correctiy. \:. '•·. .10 .Problems 65 . . 181.-.74 •' -~.volume.8 g .65 Mg/m3• Compute the void ratio..5 (3fs). Weight of specimen at natural water content ia air Weight of specimen + wax ~oatirig iri air .(c) Vibrated and loaded sand.56 On five-cycle semilogarithmic paper.40 No.54 A sensitive volcanic clay soil was tested in the laboratory and found to have the following properties: (a) p = 1.. and (d) the British Standard. porosity...55 A cylinder contains 510 cm3 of loose dry sand which w~ighs 740 g.88 82 80 :. . 27 22 18 14 11 10 '! 100 99 91 :37 .No. '=2.9 .m Note: Missing data is indicated by a dash in the column. .. diagram!! ' '· 2. No. - . Weight of specimen + :-vax in water Natural water content· Soil solid density.· No. sand silt. one was found ta' be inconsistent with the rest.200 SoilE . and then by vibration it is reduced 10% of the original ..28 Mg/m3 (b) e = 9.5 '.. and total density corresponding to each of the following cases: (a) Loose sand. (b) Sand under static load. Under a static load of200 kPa the volume is reduced 1%.91 87 81 70 '· 2. . and clay according to (a) ASTM. Determine also the percentages of gravel.20 No.9 '!.4 No.0 (c) S =95% (d) Ps = 2.100 !'. Show all your computations and phase diagrams.·.·_' :65 55 31 .. No.'"..m 20f.. 4 SoilF 100 89 63 •' 60 57 41. 4 3 2 1 <: 1 j . Given:.60:.78 .m 2~J. . ' ' '~ '= 215. A through F. . Soil Classification 2. 19 ' h· 10 . Assume the solid density of the sand grains is 2.. 49 . plot the grain-size distribution curves from the following mechanical analysis data on six soils. (c) USCS. 2.140. 35 20 8 100 99 92 82 71 52 39 .Lm 10 ~A-in 5~J.m .. (b) AASHTO.. Ps Wax solid densitY. •' 35 ·:32.75 Mg/m~ (e) w = 311% In rechecking the abov~~~lues.·:: 8 . For each soil determine theeffective size as well as the uniformity coefficient and the' coeffiCient of curvature...9 = 58... .'.

do they have the same Cu and Cc) when plotted arithmetically? Explain. .8. Property o/oo' LL PL Wn. The maximum size of the subrounded boulders is 500 mm. and the toughness index is the PI divided by the flow index. 1990. : · This matei'ial has 74% fine to coarse subangular reddish sand and 26% organic and silty dark brown fines.and 16% fine to coarse subrounded to subangular sand.66 Chapter 2 Index and Classification Properties of Soils 2. A dark brown. The uniformity coefficient is 40. with·s~nd has 73% fine to coarse sub-angular gravel. organic-odor soil has 100% passing the No.1 41. Soil A SoilB SoilC• Soil D•. in plotting GSD curves. 29 21 15 Water Conterit. The maximum size of the particles is 75 mm. of Blows 35.62 · Yo~ know what is coming. 2. Dept. (After U. while the coefficient of curvature is only 0.63. The plastic index (not dried) is 6.1% and 23. while the uniformity coefficient is 12. and the toughness index. Determine the LL. Determine the PI and LI for each soil and comment on their general activity. ' . it has everything else! It has gravel content of78% fine to coarse subrounded to subangular gravel. and is 21% when oven dried!) and the plastic index is 21% (not dried). 200 sieve.10 or on the Web. 23% silty fines. This sand has 61% predominately fine sand.58 The soils in Problem 2. 25% fine to coarse subangular sand.. and 2% fines. 38 42 2. %: 41. Although this soil has only 6% nonplastic silty fines. plot the particle-size distribution.60 The following data were obtained from a liquid-limit test on a silty clay.S. and 16% fine subrounded gravel size. (c) Calculate the coefficient of curvature. The flow index is the slope of the water content versus log of number of blows in the liquid-limit test.4. wet. The coefficient of curvature is 2.6%. The results of a sieve test below give the percentage passing through the sieve.Classify the following soils according to the USCS: -. The liquid limit (not dried) is 37% while it is 26% when oven dried.5.8-43. The liquid limit is 33% and the plastic limit is 27% . · ' . LL PL SL SoilG SoilH 55 20 25 . ..57 (a) Explain briefly why it is preferable.61" .. (b) Are the shapes of GSD curves comparable (for example. You can find procedures for doing this in the references given in Section-2. Soi!E Soil F 27 13 8 14 35 29 14 35 18 11 8 '28 NP· 72 60 28 NP 2.59 Comment on the validity of the results of Atterberg limits on soils G and H. 2. No. . Two plastic-limit determinations had water contents of 23. to plot the grain diameter on a logarithmic · rather than an arithmetic scale. Classify the five soils in the preceding question according 'to the AASHTO method of soil classification. ·.) . · · 2. '' (a) Using a spreadsheet.9 . 44. the flow · index. The liquid limit is 32% (not dried..7. of the Interior. The maximumsize is 20 mm. PI.56 have the following Atterberg limits and natural water contents. . ' '(a) A sample of well-graded gravel (b) • (c) (d) (e) 2.-. (b) Calculate the uniformity coefficient.

·:~' . For each soil.' .= 1. Sieve No. • Perc~nt Coarser by Weight 4.67 A sample of soil was tested in the laboratorya~d the following grain-size analysis results were obtained: ' . . ' (c) 70% material retained on No.. . 40 m~terial had a liquidity index of 0.66 A minus No. Percent Coarser by Weight Sieve Opening (mm) Sieve No. .68 A sample of soil . .wastested in the laboratory and the following grain~size an'alysis results were obtained: · Sieve No.._ 0.65 A sample. classify the soils according to the USCS.5. Cu =3. and a pl~sticity index of 24. ' ' . 200 sieve.·. Sieve Opening(mm) 4 10 4. Cc . . .= 23. ~ ' ' Sieve Opening (mm) . 11 7 4 2.4 sieve.' 200 sieve.30% is coarserthanthe 1/z-inch'sieve: Classify this soil according to the USCS. a ~ai~ral watercontent of 44.. 2.20 No. PL.100 Problems . ···.. of soil was tested in the laboratory and the following grain-size analysis results ~ere obtained...=.32%retained on No. Cc = 1.·. give both the letter symbol and the narrative description .425 0.67 71 37 32 23 . 2.60 No.p~oViding .4 sieve. · · ·· · · ' 2. .00·· 0. Ja) 65%material retained on No. PL.75 2. ' .100% material passed No. - <. LL .40 No..· PL .64 For the data given below.4 sieve.4 10 20 40 60 100 200'' .15 O. ..5%. Classify this soil according to the USCS. ' ' •. 200 sieve. the USCS. use linear interpolation if you need specific values no(given.= 17. Cu ~ S..7.'' ..25 ·' 0. providing the group symbol for it.. 60.73.75 2. this soil ~cc~rdlng to. providing the group symbol for it.)'>. 90% passed No. ·~·26:'ciassify 'theg~o.00 Percent Finer by Weight '100 100 (Continued) . . 4 10 20 40 60 100 200 Pan 36' 52 '64 ' .p:~ymbol for it. .D75 37 52 64 69 71 77 90 '100 ' •r . No. You do not need to graph this data. . 27% retained on No. LL . 23.85 '. . (b) . 69 71 LL = 26. 2.

Q75 94 82 66 45 0 Atterberg limits on minus No.075 mm) Liquid limit Plastic limit 100 96 94 73 Not used 55 52 32 .15 O. Evaluate the soil type.68 Chapter 2 Index and Classification Properties of Soils Sieve No. Determine the USCS letter symbol (e.85 0.1. 40 material: LL for this soil.· 2..1 mm) 0. .7 70. Another plastic limit was 16.85 mm) 40 (0.5 100 . · . Determine the USCS classification for samples A and B.9%.70 A sample of soil was tested in the laboratory and the following grain~size analysis results were obtained: Sieve No.425 0.Q75 0 ' ' 5. indicate the information on a plastiCity chart. the water content was 46. . GP) . Sieve Openirig (mm) 4 10 20 40 60 100 200 Pan 4. Compute the plastic limit. tlie water' content' was 47. the water content was 49.dish = 10.8 90. (19. the wet weight+ dish = 11. The dish only weighed 4. 10.85 0.00mm) 20 (0. 2.8%.75 mm) 10(2. For one of the PL determinations. PL = 20. and give the Unified Soil Classification symboL_. 2. ·· = 62. (38.2 84.5%. 20 40 60 100 200 Pan Sieve Opening (mm) ' Percent Finer by Weight 100 0.0 40. - Atterberg limits on minus No. 40 material were: LL = 36..3%. For 17 blows.25 0. for 26 blows.75 2. Sieve No. (76. and/or Opening Size Sample B Percent Passing Sample A Percent Passing 100 98 96 77 Not used· 55 Not used 30 18 32 25 3 in.1 mm) 4 (4.g.69 Laboratory testing was performed on two soil samples (A and B) and the data is summarized in the table.00 0.75 in. Use log interpolation as necessary.425 mm) 100 (0..150 mm) 200 (0.15 O.2 mm) 1.53 g and the dry weight +. PL = 14.15 g. arid for 36 blows.25 0.5 in.71 A sample of a brown sandy clay was obtained to determine its Atterberglimits and then classify its soil type · according to the Unified Soil Classification System.425 0.49 g. Three deterniinations of the liquid limit were niade. Determine the USCS classification symbol for this soil.

glaciation. and websites that you can go to for additional information. ·. Knowledge of geology is very important to the successful practice of geotechnical engineering. · and the Origin otGeomaterials . sedimentation. '· · · ' 1 ···' · : ··''''' • • •• ··. structure. and natural processes acting on or. geomorphology. historical geology and paleontology (study of fossils). engineering. it is not a substitute for formal courses in · physical geology. geochemistry and environmental geology are 69 . arid engineering 'geology. at the end of the chapter we describe some books.. geomorphology and hydrogeology. So in this chapter we introduce you to relevant and important aspects of geology: We believe that students should know something about the origin and nature of geologic materials before beginning to study ·geotechnical engineering. geochemistry and enviromriental geology.: • . and is helpful in several other areas of civil engineering as well.1. Although this chapter provides some ofthe basics. rock.1 ·. geolog~ is the science ofthe earth~ It is primarily. and earthquake· engineering.1 : •·Geology : . d~scriptive science that isconcerned with the history. articles. If you have already had 'one ormore courses in geology. struc:· tural geology arid geophysics.: •• • :• . also are a part of geology. this chapter will be usefulas a review. . It is an extremely broad field that includes the study of rocks (petrology) and minerals (mineralogy). Petrology is important in construction materials engineering. form. composition. As pointed out by Heim (1990). economic geology. and some aspects of structural geology apply to rock mechanics. The branches of geology most relevant to civil engineering are physical geology. our planet. Geologic processes . ··. 3. geomorphology. and you are encouraged io take as many of these courses as your schedule permits. . In addition to hydrogeology. ' 3.' ~ I Geology. and hydrogeology. .: Finally.' La~dforms. as well as the material deposits associated with these processes. such as volcanism. :Basically. IMPORTANCE OF GEOLOGY TO GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING· Geotechnical engineering is the branch of civil engineering that applies civil engineering technology to some ·aspect of the earth. in. geotechnical engineers and geologists are "truly handicapped" in their professional activities if they do not know the origin ofthe deposits theyareworkingwith.

·· · · " . construction. and their composition. engineering geology provides: <'} a complete and accurate geologic description of a site and relevant areas. and they interpret this information for use by civil (geotechnical. if we can identify the particular landform(s) at our site. and the Origin of Geomaterials important aspects of geoenvironmental engineering. . adequacy of geologic conditions for the intended project. · . Why. or construction) engineers. to call upon the services of a .eering projects. then we know how it was formed and the geologic processes involved.3 • . The basic equation for geotechnical engineers then is: · geology~ specific landform~ soils/rocks ~engineering information and potential problems at a site (3.branch of geology concerned with the form or shape of the earth's solid surface. professional engineering geologist. Geomorphology involves the study of specific landforms: their origin. be prepared. and construction of)arge civil engin. the landforms produced. A good example is the · important role that geologic conditions play in determining groundwater movement and the design of facilities such as landfills.1. we consider it to be an interdisciplinary field between geology and civil engineering that is very closely related to geotechnical engineering practice. This information helps us anticipate engineering problems that may occur at that site. any landform is a function of: 1. and when appropriate. As Galster (1992) · . the structure and characteristics of rocks and other deposits at a· site or project. . Although engineering geology is sometimes considered another branch of geology. determining of the . Engineering geologists obtain the geologic information and data necessary to' describe the pertinent geologic features and processes. Engineering geologistshave a major role in the planning. the processes a'cting on those rocks and soils (for example water transport). Landforms. and making available appropriate · ·advice to the engineer/designer throughout the design. 3. . materials. and operational period of · the project. closely related in professional practice to geotechnical engineering.1. 3.2 Geomorphology Geomorphology is that . the geologic processes involved in their formation.· As a civil engineer. you should recognize the limitations of your own education and experience. 2. . · noted. the original rocks or soils (composition and structural relationship). design. andtypical rocks and soils commonly found in these landforms. and . · especiallywith regard to geology..70 Chapter 3 Geology. 3. study landforms? Well. This is essentially how geomorphology is applied in geotechnical practice. what soils and rocks probably exist at the site.1) In general. Engineering Geology Engineering geology is an interdisciplinary field between engineering and geology. the timeframe over which these processes ac{ ·. and something about their likely engineering properties. In this chapter we discuss these factors. ' · In recent years engineering geologists have become increasingly active in the environmental aspects of geotechnical engineering (also known as geoenvironmental engineering). We also mention important engineering characteristics and problems often associated with the landforms.

g. smaltite. \. Goodman (1993). carbonates." mostly salt minerals(sulfates andchlorides). ferberite. performance.':. Carbonates: Calcite. Taylor (personal communication. amphibole (hornblende). feldspar (orthoclase and plagioclase). . Minerals ' • '' .. soils. vivianite. heavier oceanic ' . Oxides: Limonite. The four major rock-forming mineral groups are silicates. ·The' plc:net Earth con~ists of a den~e mo~ten core. erythrite. Potentially swelling minerals include anhydrite and the clay minerals montmorillonite and vermiculite (described in Chapter4). talc. According toT. solid. an important aspect of modern g'eology and geophysics. and Rock. but probably fewer than 20 are important for civil engineering purposes. chert. FHWA (1991). ' . AND ROCK STRUCTURE · The' Earth . example. collide. • . olivine. chlorite.. approach to mineral identification.::: '• .Only a small number of minerals are. or move alongside or under om: another.' ' . (Earthquake engineering is concerned with the design.:•. The most important m_inerals und~r each group are: l.g. Others: Gyp~um. .)· l 3. boulangerite.1 THE EARTH. Identification of these and other less collinion miner~ls is b'~sed on their vis~~l appearance. cerargyrite. . Only in the 'case of earthquake engineering is the deeper realm of plate tectonics and geophysics of interest. witherite. The study of the plate's and their movements.2. For. .' . (.2 The Earth. and graphite(carbon):. anhydrite. . mica (biotite and muscovite).·• 3. gypsum. tyuyamunite. .' ': . propelled by convection cells that circulate the ·. responsible for most engineering problems. . corbomite. crocoite. a list of miner:· als you· definitely.. while others release • sulfuric acid when they weather (e. imd West (1995) as well as in basic geology texts provide a simple but systematic . torbernite.. serpentine. Tables and 'charts in Goodman (1989). These plates contain the relatively lightcoi1tinentallithosphen!. and operation of civil engineering structures and other facilities that may · be subjected to earthquakes during their service lives. pyrochloremicrolite.lithosphere. talc. Minerals.' :. Silicates: Quartz (and chert)..000 different types of minerals found in soils and rocks. tennantite. from your study of concrete that several minerals that may be part of the aggregate composition (e. The earth's lithosphere. r~latively brittle '.. :.dness. ..ics. and zincite.2 3. ' ' . and halite). ' ' .: . : . and the clay minerals. . chloanthite.. should not· know would include the following: amblygonite. mica. and graphite). In civil engineering practice we are concerned mostly . MINERALS. ha. .2 71 ··: .specific chemiCal composition and having its '. pyrite): Some minerals have low friction coefficients (e.with the rocks. seismic (earthquake) activity. Mineralogists have identified more than 3. smithosonite.2. and human-made materials found on or near the surfaceofthe Earth's crust. pyrite (fool's gold). clay •minerals. atacamite. dumortierite. meet. calcite. brochanthite. rocky plates that slowly move arcmi1d on the nuintle. ROCKS.and arela~ivelyihin (25~75km thick)least:dens'epust. . and some volcanic rocks) react adversely with Portland cement in concrete.some minerals are soluble (e... of seventl)~rge.g.. dolomite. Structure 3. micas. dolomite.. anhydrite. of the volcani~ andpimintain-buildingactivity on the 'earth's surface occurs where these 'large lith~spheriC plates. gypsum. ·. halite (NaCI). quasi-solid to ductile •' mantle. Rocks. . 2•.atoms arranged in a systematic internal structure. · . phnarghite. serpentine. and certain characteristics of the cry~tal~ in the mineral. : . pyroxene. 1999). hausmannite. ..3. Ph1te intersections also seem to he. oxides and "other. is called plate tecto. ' '' '. 4. xenotime. . hematite.>-. pyrargyite. or acmnbination ~fboth: Most. chlorite. jarosite. the primary loci of recorded. : A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic solid with a.. . . consists.'· ·· · · . . .. ' ' ./ ·![ .. surrol}nded by a less dense. ' ' ·..g. a composite ' ')ayer 'ofthe crust' and ouiennost part ofthe mantle.You probably know . earth's internal heat.

shale. They may also come from crystalline precipitates and biologic deposits in oceans and lakes. marble 2.. Landforms. Sedimentary 'rocks are formed from the accumulation and aggregation of particles derived from preexisting rocks and ranging in size from the coarsest rubble down to the finest coiloidal sized particles. • Biological sediments: coal. . metasandstone.3 Geology. ' ' ' .A few examples are given after each rock type.' Igneous rocks are formed from molten mineral material that' has cooled and solidified either deep. Igneous rocks A. Goodman (1989). while sedimentary clastic rocks are transported. pahoehoe.· Clastics: sandstone. into. Bedded metaniorphics (argillite. amphibolite. FHWA (1991).· · ' · · · · 1. pressure. Goodman (1993). plutonic rocks have cooled very slowly at depth and thus are coarsely crystalline. . Crystalline. tuff. diorite. too small to be seen without· a microscope. according to their genesis or origin. anhydrite B. . . Metamorphic rocks result from thealtenition of the structure and/or chemical composi. andesite. siltstone. chalk. while plutonic rock refers to those volcanic rocks that are intruded into pre-existing materials below the surface of the earth. lava rocks generally contain min•eials with very small crystals. hornfels. ' ' I. three main groups: igneous.2.· i ·A few more definitions are in order. dolomite. feldsite. · Numerous volcanic and sedimentary rockswith meta as a prefix B. Volcanic rocks 1. and/or temperature. coral reef limestone. phyllite. pumice 2. and from buried piarit and animal . Metamorphic rocks · 1· A. provide tables and charts to help you with rock identification and classification. Precipitates: chert. Clastic texture refers to rocks made up of broken fragments of preexisting rocks and assorted minerals bound or cemented together by another mineral or chemical. in the earth (plutonic) or in volcanic eruptions at ~r near the earth's surface. . argillite C. slate. . because their mineral crystals are relatively large. diatomite III. rhyolite. or chemicai reactions. · · • ' · The following rock classification scheme (Galster. '. gneiss. limestone. rock salt. Quartzite. . Petrologists (geologists who specialize in rocks) usually classify rocks.72 Chapter 3 · 3.r ' ·. Plutonic and other coarselycrystalline rocks: granite. quartzite) . Sedimentary rocks A. 1992) appears to be a practical one for civil · . sedimented. granodiorite. . and then transformed into clastic sedimentary rocks by chemical cementation.tion of rocks of any type by heat._.. pressure. Volcanoclasitics:volcanic ejecta. sedimentary breccia.that the rocks are mostly composed of mineral crystals that have developed in the rock itself. among others. and metamorphic. and trachite 3.· claystone. gabbro · II. breccia. Volcanic intrusives: diabase. remains.. texture means . gypsum. Nonfoliated: 1. serpentinite. . Thus vo!Canoclastics are clastic rocks of volcanic origin. Because of rapid cooling at the surface. quartz diorite. syenite. Lava is a general name for molten rock from volcanoes deposited on the . conglomerate. . and the Origin of Geomaterials Rocks Rock is any naturally occurring aggregation or mass of one or more minerals found in the earth's crust. On the other himd. Lavas: basalt. sedimentary. Foliated: · . Schist. . engineers. aa B. ·. ·' · surface. and West (1995). ' .. ' : . amphibolite.· 2.

1. domes. Several types of faults have been identified. particularly when chemically aggressive. Goodman (1989) and . . Joints are regularly occurring and relatively planar fracture surfaces in the. and these are shown in Fig. folds. 3. 3. the joints usually make a rock mass weaker and more permeable.2 '. and faults. . Foliated and bedded rocks often have planes of weakness.. and strike are at right angles to each other. . and ·tested for strength and frictional characteristics.. Note that the dip · ·· ·. that can cause landslides and stability problems in excavations.· ·. .of... approximately parallel faults is called a shear or fault zone.g. joints. When beds and strata. Foliated metamorphic rocks are banded or laminated (in contrast with the stratification and bedding planes of sedimentary rocks). are subjected to bending without ruptUf!?. Even if the intaCt rock between the joints is . depending on how movement takes place.tieme temperatures and pressures that cause metamorphism. many of them deadly. and shear..The Earth.2~4 as Rock Structure When rock masses are subjected to different stress conditions such as compression.3. · a 3. A fault occurs when the rock mass ruptures and movement or shearing displacement takes place along the rupture surface.rock mass. Wyllie. even imder conditions''of high confining pressure and temperature.West (i995) for. . A series of closely spaced.details as to how rock joints are observed. Some of these structures are very large and may cover hundreds of square kilometres of the earth's surface.:-:· '3. The strike is the azimuth or direction of the feature in the horizontal plane.991) describe number of spectacular failures of civil well as human engineering structures directly related to these and other geologic conditions. These processes result in features such as joints. . measured. Shales can swell or soften when exposed to water or even air and become weak anct' compressible. all of which strongly influence the engineering behavior of the rock mass. they can.. · · . such as different kinds of folds. already been defined. they result from the flattening of the constituent mineral grains due to the ex. along which little or no movement has occurred. Joints occur because of tensile or shear strains in the rock mass.groundwateris present (e. :: . · .. " · · • ·· · · . are extremely important in rock mechanics and rock engineering. Minerals. (l996 and 1999) describes how rock joints are treated and strengthened ii_l thefietd.. · The spatial orientation . the deformation of the beds creates a number of structures. Swelling rocks cause serious problems in tunnel construction when the materials are de-stressed during excavation. activity. rock layers. very strong and impermeabie. and such deposits can also result in sinkholes. basins." fold. Some of the m'ore signifidi~t ones will be discussed in Sec. and they. illustrate how important it is for civil engineers to recognize potentially dangerous geologic conditions as"early as possible in the design and construction process. and arches. The dip or dip angle of a geologic feature is the acute angle between the feature and some reference plane. For example.9.. from mining wastes or tailings).. . Nonfoliated metamorphic rocks are 'those that did not develop foliation as a result of their metamorphism. geologic features such·· as.2. Clastics have'. and faults is described by the terms dip and strike. See . tension. ' . Rocks. Biological sediments and rocks obviously have an organic origin. dams have failed and re~ervoirs have leaked when they . usually the horizontal. . especially of sedimentary rocks. folds.' and rupture. Kiersch and James (1. .· · . 3. ·· · Rock structures produce a number of interesting l<indforirls. shift.were constructed on soluble rocks such as carbonates and gypsum. .3 for a tilted stratum. These failures. and Rock Structure 73 Precipitates are those sedimentary rocks that resulted from chemical precipitation in either a marine or fresh water environment. with spacings ranging from a few millimetres to several metres. '· · There are many examples of engineering problems associated with specific rock types. · . Fold structures are shown in Fig. 3·.. as illustrated in Fig.

1955). and the Origin of Geomaterials Youngest rock' Oldest rock ' Axial plane Symmetrical (open) (c) (b) -(d).1 -. Fold structures: (a) anticline and syncline. Landforms.. 1995. (d) overturned anticline.74 Chapter 3 Geology. (e) recumbent anticline. . (c) a~ym~etrical anticline. (b) symmetric~ I anticlif1e.· · . 'l) (e) FIGURE 3. and Emmons et al. (f) monocline (after Chernicoff and Venkatakrishnan.

-·· '··. ·! FIGURE 3.• :/.. 75 . Zipczeck.rike and slip ' defined (after Emmons · · et al. 1956) . .2 Faults: (a) normal.'j j( . . .3 St. (c) strike-slip (after Z.· ·FIGURE 3.Z.(b) reverse or thrust. 1955)..

typical soils and rocks involved. Geologic time. and even some of its potential uses and limitations as a foundation or construction material. lists the origin of different surficial sediments and materials together with the particular geologic process that produced them. In this section we describe a particular geologic process..Weathering is the alteration of the composition or structure of rocks at or near the earth's surface by physical. if not at the same geographic location.1 Geologic Processes and the Origin of Earthen Materials Geologic processes can be described according to the origin of their activity. it has aspects we need to understand. 3. extraterrestrially. important but not ordinarily of engineering concern. wave . ice (glaciers). and their composition. whether aggregational (depositional or building. These are described toward the end of the chapter. up) or degradational (erosionai or tearing down). to most humans. To civil engineers. surface water. adapted from Galster (1992). can be eroding at one place and depositing at another.· Geologic processes originating on the earth's surface include weathering. Rivers and glaciers. and some of the engineering concerns associated with each landform. . and plutonic processes. Both contemporary and ancient processes and their resulting landforms can significantly influence engineering projects. Still.3. Because specific landforms indicate the geologic processes that produced them. because knowing the origin of a particular soil deposit helps you estimate its distribution. including human beings).. (2) geologic processes acting on the earth materials.2. 3.3. Landforms. . In the Mount St. · Extraterrestrial objects (meteors) striking the earth's surface can leave craters that are locally . gravity. the relative age of a deposit or landform is ordinarily more important than absolute age. and the Origin of Geomaterials GEOLOGIC PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS Earlier we mentioned that geomorphology deals with landforms: their origin. is almost incomprehensibly long. about 400 m of the top of the volcano was blown away (definitely degradational!) while large volumes of volcanic ash varying in thickness from a few metres down to a inild dusting were deposited. One special example is aeolian or wind-deposited materials.. (1) on the earth's surface. tectonic. volcanic activity. Table 3. Subsurface geologic processes of interest to geotechnical engineers include groundwater. the geologic processes involved in their formation. variation. the action of agents such as glaciers. (2) below the earth's surface. and (3) time over which these processes act. and combinations of these processes.not very good to put foundation on. Physical weathering causes mechanical disintegration of rocks by changes in temperature (freezing and thawing).2 Weathering . Some geologic processes are very long acting while others can take place in a relative'Iy short period-for example. .. and prone to erosion. these are generally silty materials that are loosely deposited. and (3) in rare cases. it is important to be able to recognize the different landforms and their commonly associated earthen materials and potential design and construction problems. Table 3. Surficial geologic processes can also be classified according to the results of the process.. that is. Helen's (Washington) eruption of May 1980. chemical. The three factors controlling the formation of a particular landform are the (1) earth materials' (their composition and structural relationship). wind.76 3. or biological processes. Most processes are both degradational and aggregational at the same time. although absolute age may be important in understanding contemporary processes. Because the particles had to be small enough and sufficiently lacking in cohesion to be windborne.:. during a construction project.1will help you appreciate the geologic time scale. the landforms produced.3 Chapter 3 Geology. all within the same river or glacier system. for example. <. · Identification of the origin is important. the action of organisms (plants and animals. Volcanoes can be both degradational and aggregational in the same event.

carbonization.T. ranging from boulders and cobbles to gravel. Very old 1300 r i a 800 ~4600 n action. sands. Chemical weathering causes decompositionofrocks by chemical action-oxidation. Biological activity includes the actions of plants and animals.3. Situ'rian ' ' Ordovician Cambrian·. a m .2 8.. · · The products of weathering are all typ~s of soils.. and wind.4 12. .Geologic Processes ·and Landforms TABLE 3. 1995) Era c Period Epoch Quaternary Holocene Pleistocene e n 0 z Tertiary 0 i c p h a n M e e r o 0 z z 0 0 i c i' c e 0 z 0 i c ..• . chemical weathering dominates . hydrolysis.b 77 Age of Boundary · (yr before present X 106) · Pliocene Miocene Oligocene Eocene Paleocene 3.. Triassic 37 ·Permian Pennsylvanian Mississippian· Devonian.6 Translation· for Engineers Not so young 66.· 41 34 40 48 30 . and the action of organic acids..9 21.1 Eon Geologic Time for Civil Engineers (after Chernicoff andVenkatakrishnan. and it can be physical · · and/or chemical. personal communication. reduction..r e c· :·.. Taylor. sometimes called residuum. whereas physical weathering tends to be more important in arctic climates and at higher elevations intemperate zones. . Physical weathering tends to produce coarser-grained soils.4 78 64 Old . In general. Older 570 1930 . and silts (these grain sizes are defined exactly in Chapter2): Chemical weathering produces various types ... .7 18.3 . 67 65 .. 1995.in temperate and tropical climates. .

· I ~_l . an important constituent of fine-grained soils. Because limestone and other carbonate rocks are so common throughout the world. The bestknown and most important example is the development of karst topography and karstic features on ' soluble bedrock. of clay minerals. Rainwater is slightly acidic because it dissolves carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Clay minerals and other products of weathering are discussed in detail in Chapter 4. Other types of clay minerals are produced from different rock minerals under different chemical. if any] Weathering Gravity Surface water Marine and coastal Lacustrine Ice Wind Volcanic Material weathered in place Gravity deposition. Extreme levels of groundwater acidity can result from mining operations and the wastes (or tailings) produced. as shown in Fig. slope wash Fluvial (stream) deposition Marine and . karstic features and topography are very important geotechnically where such rocks occur. 1954). yielding carbonic acid.4 Typical karstic landscape features (Thornbury.4. For example.coastal deposition Deposition in lakes Deposition associated with glacial ice and frozen ground Deposition by wind Deposition by volcanism Human activities Residual [residuum] Colluvial [colluvium] Alluvial [alluvium] Marine and coastal Lacustrine Glacial Eolian Volcanic Artificial fill After Galster (1992). and drainage conditions.2 Geology. climatic. Carbonate rocks are attacked by this acidic groundwater and slowly dissolve. the hydrolysis of feldspar and mica (biotite) minerals in granitic rocks produces the clay mineral kaolinite. Landforms.78 Chapter 3 TABLE 3. Karst and Karstic Features-Sometimes specific landforms result from weathering. ( Deeply intrenched permanent stream Karst valley · FIGURE 3. The name "karst" comes from a particular limestone plateau located on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia and extending into Slovenia and Italy along the Adriatic Sea. and it may become even more acidic from air pollution and organic-enriched soils on the ground. 3. and the Origin of Geomaterials Surficial Geologic Processes and Materials Produced Surface Process Description Material Produced [soil name.

4 and.caverns. (d) initial collapse with rock overhang.1996). and a highly irregular bedrock surface (Fig. caves and domes often collapse. and eventually (c) pinnacles and residuum. . enlarged vertical joints (often filled with silty clay soil).. Shallow. Sometimes large blocks of more resistant limestone are completely isolated from adjacent bedrock and may even be underlain. and subsequent (e) rim collapse and debris mound (Sowers.3 Geologic Processes and Landforms 79 .5) that may be filled with clay or even .. leaving surface depressions called sinkholes (Figs: 3. '.-.3. leading to(b) slots and blocks. starting with (a) solution cracks. subterranean caves:and. .5 · Development of solution cavities and karstic features. ' ' .by clay occither weaker materials. Formation of a collapse sinkh'ole in a shallow cavern.·· FIGURE 3. ' (b) (a) (e). · 3.5) resulting from ground collapse.' ' ' leaving solution cavities. 3.

" The resulting soils. even at a specific site. 3. They can develop from just about any bedrock type. in niakirig excavations at sites in deeply weathered rock.. are red. 3. . intense chemical weathering and decomposition of the parent bedrock occurs along with rather complex chemical alterati~n of the minerals in the bedrock. climate. and difficulties with foundation exploration.. Goodman (1993) and Wesley and Irfan (1997) discuss the difficult problem of classifying weathered rock and residual soils profiles for engineering purposes. 3.. . weakening and decomposition takes place from the ground surface down to the unweathered material (Fig. Most DG is primarily granular (sands and fine gravel) · . For example. The degree of disintegration and the thickness of the zone of residual soil depends on the type of bedrock (local "parent" material). drainage conditions.80 Chapter. · As noted by LyonsAssociates (1971) and Mitchell and Soga (2005). · in size. constniction. These problems often lead to unstable slopes. They may appear to be sandy and free draining when excavated. Residual soils also· are often difficult to compact when used for road bases. usually rich in clays. A number of other areas in the United States and Canada have deposits of soluble rocks with solution features such as ca~es and caverns. The upper clayey zone can be a metre or two thick. solution. because of high temperatures and high rainfall in tropical regions.:the presence of mica in both saprolite and DG may result in lower compacted densities (Chapter 5) and more compressibility than desirable. Weathering profiles [Fig. The most important karstic regions ill North America are in central Florida and in the large area of southern Indiana. It forms largely due to chemical weatheri~g ~f graniticbedrock in situ. but it may contain relict boulders. lengths.6(a)] can be very deep in the tropics. . Deep foundations for heavy structures such as bridges can be very problematic due to variable . Furthermore. forming primarily in humid temperate or subtropical climates. and north-central Tennessee. west-ceritnil Kentucky. carbon dioxide..6(c)]. 1996). . especially on DG. Chemicalprocesses of hydration. often tens of metres deep. and are not subseque11tly transported. almost clayey · . Sometimes saprolites retain the original (relict) texture and structure of the parent rock. and the result is a fine~ grained. reservoirs that leak. The thickness of these zones varies greatly. especially when they form on gneiss and schist bedrock [Fig. and topography. Residual and Tropical Soils-Soils that result from the in-place weathering ofrock or other earthen materials. lmd organic acids derived from decaying vegetation. because of a high concentrationof aluminum and iron oxides (because the silicates have been weathered away). cmripad and is not free draining. are known as residual soils. and carbonation result inthe alteration of minerals in the rock. · Another residual soil. the' granules break down. Reservoirs in karstic country often experience severe leakage. Large collapsing sinkholes in built-up areas can be very destructive to surface structures and facilities. The process is known as "laterization. ·•·. including landslides and debris flows (described in the next section). Landforms. and this variability in thickness and soil properties creates · ·· difficult problems for foundation design and construction. hydrolysis. and it leads to highly variable and irregular soil and bedrock profiies.. There is often no definite boundary between rock and soil. and performance. oxygen. that result from the chemical decomposition of bedrock. and the Origin of Geomaterials water. what is rock and whafis soil for quantity payment purposes may result in costly disagreements between 'the owner and contractor. which in tum transitions into a highly irregular weathered zone and finally into sound rock. material that is difficult to. which is locally important in the desert southwest as well as in higher elevations of the Sierra N evadas and other western mountain ranges.3 • ·. but when compaction energy is applied. either vertically or horizontally. .· ·• . then underlain by a silty or sandy zone. Possible engineering problems in areas of deeply weathered rock and residual soils are summarized by Jennings and Brink (1978) and by Blight (1997). The design and construction of foundations on karstic bedrock present serious challenges to geotechnical engineers(Sowers. mostly clay minerals (Chapter4) are formed due to water. and new minerals. A progressive and gradual. is decomposed granite (also known ' as DG). Saprolites are also weathered residual soils. end bearing conditions.6).'calledlaterites (Latin: later = brick). and installation. because weathering generally follows the joints and bedding planes in the rock.:Geology.

(c) humid temperate regions' metamorphic bedrock (Sowers and Richardson. ..on igneous bedrock (Sowers and Richardson. SOIL • . 81 . :. · · · · · · · · · em . LEACHING -SOILdltJ~a..---.· {a) . SAPROLITE : J···-:·:v:: :-'/\·.. (b) humid temperate regions .··. .:SOUND ROCK ZONES ' GRANITE TO GABBRO (c) FIGURE 3. .'~£~~~~ 0 COMPLETELY WEATHERED 0 0 i: W. 1983).. 0 /.. 1997.·.. PARTIALLY WEATHERED · · ··:.::-h::o·' .-. 2005)..3 Geologic Proces'ses and Landforms . ROCK . ..:.. ·. (Mitchell and Soga.· 7 • .6. . FRESH ROCK · GNEISS TO SCHIST (b) .r:. and (d) decomposed granite.. · '· 3.. · HUMUS & TOPSOIL / .-...-./:~>:b'. :rypical residual soil profiles: (a) tropical residu~l soils (Blight.. RELATiVELY-.-.· ·:Lj~(?b\~.:·-. .--. HIGHLY WEATHERED SLIGHTLY WEATHERED ·.->>:~~---. 1969)...----..£ . .£ '.: :- i i: 0 °) . 1983). after Little./:_/-: - ~~ ··• ~:-. ----° ' 0 0 : '::: 0~ 0 0 o .. . ..t:j: .-.-. •• -[~. ·Q··".

3. silts. often active. some finer~ grained materials. and Edelen (1999). for example. 3. distribution. Spreads can occur on rather gentle slopes. and British Columbia. homogeneous clays. and flow (shown in Fig. Although there are a number of possible ways to identify and classify downslope movements. and the Origin of Geomaterials Because of extensive erosion by glaciation (Sec. wet debris flows. These slides can involve rock.3. So. soil creep. usually with one or more ridges where slide material has bunched together. .7). moist earth slides. and talus. The table also gives some indication of the damage the landslide can cause. It gives adjectives to describe. wet earth flow. advancing.iefaction (Chapters 7 and 13) of the sand and silt seams. Landforms. and the coastal areas of California." Because die term creep is ambiguous.3.7) in Canada and the northern United States. topple. . Additional terms may be added to these names to further describe landslides. slide. Downslope movements include falls. composite rock slides or advancing slow. Spreads may result from licp. water content. because the geological process is gravitational.' . ___ . spreads. while others may be retrogressive. Additional information on_ the engineering problems of residual soils can be found in the proceedings of the ASCE Specialty Conference on Engineering and Construction in Tropical and Residual Soils held in Honolulu in 1982. Thus. a debris flow or an earth slide.3. we follow Cruden and Varnes (1996). Possible landslide movements are fall. landslide landforms h~tve an irregular surface. earth. very wet debiis flows or earth slides. followed by descriptions of the rate of movement. These include debris flows: lehars [debris flows from volcanoes (Indonesian. flows. earth consists of predominately sands. debris. it 'should be n:!placed by theappropriate rate modifiers (very slow or extremely slow) in Table 3. Mudflows are. complex. Spreads are common on water-bearing thin seams of sands and silts overlain by relatively 'competent rock. rapid. spread. Some mudslides are simply earth slides. it is important to be able to describe a landslide precisely. or possibly combinations of these. Ground collapse is also briefly discussed in this section. -. rapid to moderate. or earth (soil). and clays. or constructed earth fills. The generic teim for this is landslide. a landslide might be a rock fall. solifluction.result in the movement of rock and soil masses down a slope under the influence of gravity. and be complex or composite in style. ' . . residual soils in North America are mainly -found south of the continental ice limit: in the central and southern Great Plains states. and ice that slowly creep-downslope in mountainou~ areas-are "very slow. blasting. and style of the landslide.. they may progress or retrogress very rapidly." Solifluction is the slow downslope flowage or "creep" of saturated surficial soil layers.3. Because the term "mud" does not have a precise engineering definition (itis a mixture of earth and water) and should be avoided in technical discussions. Since the 'earthen materials have been disturbed.Rock glaciers-accumulations of broken rock. In the new terminology.82 Chapter 3 Geology.3 Gravity Processes a Mass movement (or mass wasting) is a geologic term for variety of processes that . so we will give just a few examples of some of the more common landslide types. Table 3. Slide materials can be rock. for example. the Colorado Plateau in the "four-corners" area of the southwest United States. .3 is a glossary for forming landslide names. Because· of the sudden . advancing debris flows) . Oregon. the southeastern states in the Appalachian Mountains.the state. Blight (1997). and slide type. be moist or wet. 3. Cruden and Varnes (1996) provide detailed definitions and illustrations of the terms in Table 3. or debris. from laharisa. Hawaii.. solifluction is ''very slow. and debris contains a significant amount of coarse materials (gravel and larger). triggered by earthquakes. to avoid confusion. material type. or pile driving in the vicinity. mudslide or mudflow is often used by nonengineers 'to describe severill different types of landslides. meaning hot mud)] and debris avalanches (extremely . Washington. and after movement starts. Rock refers to a rock mass that was_intact and in its natural place before sliding. who classify landslides according to (1) type of movement and (2) type of material.A number of important flows have also been identified. active.

. 'i !' a material movement.. 0··· . materials in the vicinity. · and (e) flow (after Cruden and Varnes. (d) spread.. there' is often an abnorm~l surface drainage patt~rn. Usually ~here is scarp [the · steep slope at the top of the slide--:.see Fig. 1996). 3. The size oflandslides varies fro~ a few square metres to square kilo' metr~s.sm (b) 500m (d) 20] (e) FIGURE 3. (c) slide.'ent and sliding. 7(c) and (e)] that indicates the uppermost and widest · ·lateral extent ofthe slide area. Engineering probh:ms associat~d ~~th landslides inaude variable groundwater conditions and highlyvariable and often poor foundation conditions. (b) topple.3.. Slop_es. Probably the mostdifficult problem is determining the potential for additi~nal movem. experiencing solifluction may contain trees with bent . either of the ia~dslide material itself or of intact.3 Geologic Processes and Landforms 83 0 (a) ~ .7 Types of landslides: (a) fall.

Engineering information required for talus stabilization includes the sizes of therock particles in the slope.. . and whether an' excavation into or construction on the slope cause instability and ·undesirable movementS.1988). Talus is the accumulation of rock fragments (ranging in size from boulders through gravel) derived from and lying at the base of a cliff or a very steep rock slope. . · will .. Talus slopes form at 30-50 degrees and they may extend . >5 inls Dry Rock Fall Major catastrophe Very rapid Rapid >3m/min >1. and the Origin of Geomaterials Glossary for Forming Names of Landslides and Rates ~f Landslide Movements·. Landforms. slopes. and the groundwater conditions inthe slope.it is important to know whether the slope is still active or not.84 Chapter 3: : Geology. generally by vegetati..8 rnlhr Moist Wet Earth Debris Topple Some lives lost Evacuation possible.constructing facilities near or through talus .8 Schematic illustrating a slope experiencing solifluction (after Lambert.: and that the slope is not very stable (Fig.8). In. quite common on mountain slopes. · trunks or leaning power poles. a sure indication that downslope movement is slow and continuous .Tahis slopes are called active if they continuously creep and inactive if they have become stabilized.on. . structures destroyed Slide Spread Flow Maintenance possible Remedial construction possible Some permanent structures undamaged Imperceptible without instruments Modified after Cruden and Varnes (1996). · upslope tens to hundreds of metres. 3. FIGURE 3. · Another gravity-induced landform. Talus results from the physical weathering (alternate ·freezing and thawing) of ari exposed rock face.3 State of Activity Distribution of Activity Style of · Activity Rate of Movement Active Advancing Complex Reactivated Suspended Retrogressive Composite Widening .. is a talus slope.Multiple · Velocity Water Content Material Type Example Extremely rapid ·. TABLE 3.·. whether there are · finer materials in the rock voids.

However. density and degree of compaction of the surface soil~. the predominant grain size of the soils at the site. 3. because of erosion of river banks or construction excavations. rive'rs.. and drainage patterns.3. Fleming and Varnes (1991) discuss how slope hazards can be evaluated and describe· their relevance to engineering works. 4. and coastal. the water can either infiltrate into the surface materials or become surface runoff. The erosion. transportation.. it must be either flattened· or otherwise stabilized. Cruden and Varnes (1996) provide a checklist that may help you determine the cause of the movement. ' ' Of these six factors. finer~grained soils such as silts and clays have relatively low resistance to erosion and relatively low infiltration. and oceans have influenced and continue to cause the formation of many of the earth's surficial geologic features. marine. whether the surface is frozen or not.2 above.3. runoff is by far the most important of the two as a geologic agent. we describe fluvial (strea~ns and rivers).7(d)] can ordinarily be analyzed.4 Surface-Water Processes Surface water is a ubiquitous and important geologic agent. and Gully Shapes. more common in mountainous areas. o e that the materials in talus are an example of colluvium. and the slope of the surface.7(c)] or on a more. The relative amount of runoff v~rsus infiltration depends on 1. . They are' quite common in karstic regions. no matter the type of slope movement. In this section. Sowers (1992) provides an excellent description of the . 3. 3.Landforms produced include surface depressions or sinkholes that may fill with ground or surface water. 1996) also contains a wealth of information about landslides and their impact on transportation facilities. depends on loss of underground support due to. 5. . 3. landslides. In general. Although both infiltration and runoff can cause erosion arid deposition. in rela~ tively homogeneous earth that is moving either on a curved failure surface [rotational slides. and deposition of sediments by streams.3. The Transportation Research Board Special . and other gravity landforms and features occur in most regions of North 'America. If you ever have to investigate a landslide. water content. Holzer (1991) gives a detailed description of non tectonic subsidence and its effect on engineering works. as discussed in Sec. Large landslides and mass movements are.When precipitation falls on. or less planar surface [translational slide. and damage property and infrastructure. even with modern analytical techniques and computer programs. Therefore they tend to . arid lacustrine (lakes) landforms and processes. of course. Sinkholes often form suddenly. Water is responsible for many landforms and soil deposits of interest to civil engineers. and control of natural landslides. Ground collapse. Mass wasting. 3. prediction. another gravitational process. runoff. either mining operations or dissolution of carbonate and other soluble rocks. causes. important part of geotechnical engineering practice. · respectively. Drainage Patterns. Fig. The major engineering problem in these regions is the potential for the formation of additional· sinkholes or enlargement: of an existing· sinkhole. olluvium includes all landslide debris. without warning. lakes. the earth's surface. If a slope is unstable or unsafe. 2. Runoff. Also mentioned are the special landforms and soil deposits found in desert areas. Analysis for the stability of both natural and excavated slopes is an . after a brief discussion of infiltration. Holtz and Schuster (1996) and Wyllie (1996) discuss the stabilization and remediation of soil and rock slopes. grain size is the most important. impact. but sliding canoccur even on relatively flat topography-for example. 6. including creep. Report 247 (Thrner and Schuster. vegetation and ground cov~r. Fig. Infiltration.3 Geologic Processes and Landforms 85 The loose and ten incoherent soil and rock materials deposited down slope due to the action of •gravity are calle colluvium. only rather simple geometric shapes.

86

Chapter 3: .. :Geology, Landforms, and the Origin of Geomaterials

' : ·• develop a rather intensive pattern of rills, drainage channels, and gullies. The opposite is generally true
of coarser-grained soils. They are much• more. erosion resistant, have much greater infiltration, and
therefore tend to develop relatively few drainage channels: One exception to this 'general rule is the
:fine-grained soil called loess (German: lOss), a silt carried and deposited by the wind (Sec. 3.3.6). Loess
deposits have high vertical infiltration rates and thus develop relatively few drainage channels.
As the water flows down a' slope or stream channel, its potential energy (from being at some
higherelevation) is convertedirito kinetic energy as its velocity.increases. Some losses of energy, however, occur.through internal turbulence and boundary-layerfriction; additional energy is also consumed
by erosion or scour of the channel and by sediment transport. Factors that influence stream erosion are
, the water velocity, the type and amount of sediment, and the riature of the streambed (whether rock or
· ' soil). In a bedrock channel, the nature and spacing of rock structures, such as joints and bedding planes,
also influence. erosion (West, 1995). Energy loss and erosion are approximately proportional to the
square ofthe stream velocity, and this explains why intense .rainfall, high runoff, and flooding often
. cause so much soil erosion.
·•.:·· ....
· . The sediment carried by the stream includes the suspended load and bedload. Suspended load is
. the sediment carried in suspension above the streambed, while bed load is the sediment transported
.•,, mainly by rolling or saltation (short hops or jumps)· along the streambed. As you might imagine, there
is a big difference' in the erodability of a strearri channel· in soil versus one.primarily on bedrock. For
· . soil channels, Fig. 3.9 shows whether erosion, transportation, ·or deposition· is likely to take place,
>:
. depending on the stream velocity·and the 'size of thesoilparticles in the streambed. Fine sands are
" obviously the most erodible. Coarser~grained soils require more·velocity (energy) to cause them to
. .~

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FIGURE 3.9 Flow velocity and particle sizes required for erosion, transportation,
and deposition (after Hjulstrom,J 935). . .
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3.3 Geologic Processes and Landforms

87

erode, because the particles are larger and heavier. On the other hand, finer-grained soils (silts and
clays) often have a significant amount of internal cohesion that results in greater resistance to erosion.
Streams erode channels in bedrock mostly by abrasion due to the suspended and bed load sediment
and by the "plucking" of loose rock blocks py hydraulic action. Erosion caused by cavitation may even
· · ·· ·
occur in 'rapids and waterfalls.
·
Drainage patter~s as determined from maps and aerial photographs can provide much useful
information about soil and rock types, bedrock structure, etc., in an area. On-line resources such as
Google Earth and USA National Atlas Online now provide aerial photographicviewsof most areas
around the world. Eight typical but very characteristic drainage patterns are sk~tched il1 Fig. 3.10.
Dendritic drainage patterns [part (a) of Fig. 3.10] are very common; they develop on nearly horizontal sedimentary rocks or massive igneous rocks where there is no significant structural control. On the
other hand, a trellis pattern (b) develops where there is significant bedrock or str~ctural control, such as
folded or dipping rocks with parallel faults. Rectangular drainage ·patterns (c) follow joint or fault systems in jointed rocks. Radial patterns (d) develop on domes, cones,· and so on. Complex or deranged
drainage (e) develops on very recent deposits, for example on a recently glaciated region (Sec. 3.3.5).
Parallel drainage is found in areas where slope or structure controls the developed drainage (f). Pinnate
drainage patterns (g), a variation of the dendritic pattern, develop on steep slopes and are particularly
common in areas of thick loess deposits (Sec. 3.3.6). Finally, Fig; 3.10(h) shows no drainage pattern, which
means that the material is very free draining and that all precipitation infiltrates dir.ectly downward into
the soil. Such a condition can develop, for example, on a clean gravel river terrace. Other patterns for different soil and bedrock conditions are given by American Society of Photogrammetry (1960).
Gully shape, both in cross-section and in profile, also gives an indication of the possible types of
soils to be found in an area: Three characteristic patterns are shown in Fig. 3.11.
Fluvial Landforms-As runoff channels coalesce and flows increase, basins enlarge and streams
... and rivers develop into systems that are in dynamic equilibrium between erosion and deposition. Because
so much civil infrastructure development and construction takes place on the flood plains of fivers, the
characteristics and soil deposits of fluvial landforms have important implications for civil engineers.
Figure 3.12 shows some of the main .features found on the flood plain~ of br~l\d alluvial valleys.
A flood plain is the relatively flat area bo~dering a stream or fiver that .contain water-deposited sediments or alluvium. lluvium rders-to-all-materials deposited by streams and rivers, and it can consist
of just about all soi sizes ranging_lr:Q!!} gravels t~ilts~ys.Alluvium may be dep~ m the
- stream channel Itself, on the river banks (called overbank deposits), and on the valley floor. Flood-plain
deposits are frequently reworked as the stream meanders, both during normal flow and during floods.
Meanders are an interesting-characteristic ofa well-developed river system, and their development is
. shown in Fig 3.13. Any deflection of the flow will tend to cause the channel to either erode on the outside or deposit on the inside of the meander: Erosion occurs at the outside of the meander due to
expenditure of energy in deflectingthe flow back into the ch'annel; undercutting of the bank adds to
the development of the meander [Fig.3.13(b )]. On the inside of the meander, deposition of sands takes
plac~, because the vdocityofthe stream is lower there; these deposits'are called point bars (or pubs).
Meanders indicate' that rivers and streams have reached energy and flow equilibrium; areas along
·waterways that are heavily developed may be more prone to flooding and channel erosion/deposition,
since this natural equilibrium mechanism has been restricted by the development. h.
:
· · . Other flood-plain features include channel bars, deltas, natural·levees, and backswanip deposits
(Figs. 3.12~ 3.13, and 3.14). Channel bars contain sand and gravel deposited within the stream channel
itself. Deltas form when sands and gravels are deposited at the mouths of tributary streams entering the
•: .main river channel. The.low ridges lying parallel to and along the banks of the main river channel are
called natura/levees (Figs. 3.12 and 3.14). They form especially on older, well-developed flood plains
during floods when the •stream first begins to .leave the main channel. Because the velocity decreases,
coarser materials (sands and ~oarse silts) are deposited first, adjacent to the main channel. Then, further

88

Geology, Landforms, and the Origin of Geomaterials

Chapter 3

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FIGURE 3.10 Drainage patterns: (a) dendritic; (b) trellis; (c) rectangular; (d) radiali
(e) complex or deranged; (f) parallel; (g) pinnate; and (h) no drainage pattern
(after Krynine and Judd, 1957, and Thornbury, 1969).
°

PLAN

SOIL
(a) NON-PLASTIC .
:SEMI-GRANULAR
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Photogrammetry, 1960).'
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•• 3:3 :. Geologic Processes and landforms
Natural levees

Natural levees
Valley wall
Backswamp
Yazoo stream

·Oxbow lake
Valley wall

Point bar

Meander scars

, FIGURE 3.12

Landforms and

fe~tures found on flood plains of broad all~vial valleys (from West, 1995).
'

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of a meander due to erosion
and deposition: (a) plan view;,
(b) cross section. ' .
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(b)

89

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90

Chapter 3: •.. -Geology, Landforms, and the Origin of Geomaterials

'

Natu'raF---

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I, ~~~

.·------

''"f>Yt

-t

t

levees and backswamp .
deposits. -

,\:'

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,. "'"'"',,>I'
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, . Natural levees

Backswamp deposits ·

from the main ch~nnel, fine'r sediments (fine silts and clays) an! depo~ited in the backswamp of the flood
plain, as shown in Fig. 3.12 and in the cross-section' in Fig. 3.14. Backswamp deposits typically ar~ very soft
and often contain organic materials. Although these deposits are good for agricultural purposes, they
make very poof foundations and are not good sources of construction materials: On the other hand, flood
plains may be good sources of groundwater, depending on the. thiCkness and character of the alluvium.
Meanders continually move back and forth across the· flood plain; and in'very old and wide
river valleys, even the so-called ineimder belt'caii meander. Eventually, a meander may become so
large and sinuous that the river channel cuts through its "neck" and leaves it stranded in the form of a
crescent-shaped, water-filled channeL call~d an, px.bow l(lke (boolabong )f1 Aboriginal Australian)
(Figs. 3.12 and 3.15). Materials deposited behind the natural levee darn at the cutoff points effectively
seal the lake. Oxbow lakes may eventually fill with very soft and compressible organic silts and clays.
Like backswamp deposits, filled oxbow lakes make poor construction sites, and where identified are
best avoided. Another feature shown in Fig. 3.15 is the scroll-like pattern of the old point-bar deposits.
Because these are coarser grained than the backswamp or oxbow deposits, they appear to be lighter
colored when viewed from the air or .On aerial photographs.
'
The lower Mississippi River valley (Fig. 3.15) is a classic example of a well~developed old river
system with a very broad (> 130 km) flood plain and a_wide meandering meander belt, many oxbow
lakes, scroll-like point-bar deposits, natural levees, and backswamp deposits. The extensive protective
levee system along the Mississippi River was 'constructed to help protect adjacent land f~om flooding;
however, such systems also prevent further natural channel development, and tend to ultimately
increase flow.velocities, especially during floods.
·
··
Braided streams are an interesting fluvial phenomenon that occurs when the stream bedload is
very large relative to its discharge and the mainstream channel becomes choked with sands and gravels.
Many channels and islands form, with lots of branching and.rejoining of channels, until the stream
appears to be braided . .Braided streams are quite· common in yalleys downstream from glaciers that
carry lots of coarse sediment, arid in deserts where occasional flooding and high erosion provide large
··
· amounts of granular mate~ials to be carried by a channel:
Fluvial terraces are relatively flat, benchlike ~emnants of older flood plains found on the valley
walls above the'jJiesent flood plain. Fluvial teir~~es'can be cut either into rock or into soil [Fig. 3.16(a)
and (b)]. They usually consist of predominately· coarser granular materials but niay also contain
pockets of silts and clays wherever the flood velocity decreases. Terrace deposits often tend to become
siltier away from the main channel next to the valley walls, where the flow velocities are less. Alluvial
terraces are commonly paired [Fig. 3.16(c)]; that is, there are corresponding terrace at the same elevation on opposite sides ofthe valley. Sometimes, however, terraces are unpaired or cyclical [Fig. 3.16( d)];
that is, they are not at the same elevation due tilting of the flood plain or differential lateral 'erosion.
Fill terraces and terraces cut in fill are often g'ood sources-of aggregates for construction arid frequently
provide excellent groundwater resources. ' '
'
' ·.. ' ' '' ":.' ' ' ' '
Deltas are formed when alluvium is deposited at the mouths of rivers a~d streams as, they enter
into a larger valley or body of water,·such as another river, a lake, or the ocean. In plan view deltas often

to'

;; 3.3: Geologic Processes and Landforms

91

FIGURE 3.1S . The Mississippi Ri~er ~b~ve Natchez, Miss:, sh~wing me~nders •
and meander cutoffs, former channels, 'oxbow lakes, and point bar deposits


·
·
·
· •1 ··
·{modified after Lob~ck, 1939).
:>'';

: ..

;',

·have a shape similar to the Greek letter L\. As the river enters the larger body of water, its velocity
·. · decreases markedly because of a change in gradient; and the sediments in suspension' drop out. Coarser
' materials are deposited first; then finer materials are deposited further from the mouth of the river. The
delta gradually builds up in thickness as deposition continues with time [Fig. 3.17(a)], and eventually a
deltaic plain [Fig. 3.17(b)] forms. The main and secondary river channels cut through the deltaic plain,
· and materialis deposited on the plain itself only during flooding. ; ·' ·
·,
·
·

92

Chapter 3

Geology, Landforms, and the Origin of Geomaterials

h

Present __j
flood plain~

I
I
I

.IIJ~~~i~iit~~~i~!~t
• < /

(b)

:....--

-----.--~

-cs=~

----y

Alluvium_)____;/"-"'\:
\

&

.

)

-lAIIuvium

Present · _____'-__!
flood plain~

FIGURE 3.16 Fluvial terraces cut in (a) rock and (b)soil; (c) paired and
(d) unpaired terraces. .
·.

What will we find if we take a vertical secticin through a typical large river delta? At the bottom
of the section are nearly horizontal beds, called bottomset beds, consisting mostly of silts and clays.
Foreset beds are found in the middle of the section; they are mostly sands and gravels and thus are able
to stand on a somewhat steeper slope than the finer-grainedmaterials near the bottom. At the top of
the section are strata lying nearly horizontally, the topset beds; these are a continuation of the alluvial
or flood plain of the main river system. These beds are illustnited in Fig. 3.17 .. ·.
. .. . ·
A feature related to a delta is an 'alluvial fan. Alluvial fans are formed when streams carrying
sediment down from a mountain or highland area flow onto a valley floor or plain; The sudden
decrease in slope of the stream channel results in a decrease in water velocity and therefore in the
. ,., , sediment-carrying ability of the stream. Coarser materials, primarily gravel and sand, drop out first;
· finer and finer mateiialsare. carried further. out on the plain (Fig. 3.18). Often the stream on the flat., ter portion of the alluvial fan becomes braided with a poorly defined main channel. Alluvial fans are
often good sources of groundwater. as well as construction aggregates.
,One important characteristic of all coarse-grained fluvial deposits is that they have a rounded
shape. During the tninsportation ofthese particles. as part. of the.bed load of the stream, their rough

a

\

'. 3.3

Geologic Processes and La,ndforms

i

93

:.;

Sea level
j

i

Note: A - topset beds
B- to reset beds
C - bottomset beds
0- bunk beds

>,

':

a

. FIGURE 3. , { Cross section of delta: (a) early in its depositional history;
and (b) much later after the deltaic plain is formed. . .
'

.. and broken edges are smoothed by the abrasive action of the turbulent water and contact with other
· particles in the stream; Particle shape is discussed in Sec. 2.6.
' Marine and Coastal Landforms-Shorelines along large bodies of water such as oceans are subject to wave action from tides, wind (especially during storms), and. the rare tsunami (Japanese: "tidal
wave"); Waves are the major cause of erosion of ~oastlines, and so you might think they would produce

~··' .;

FIGURE 3.18

Cross section of an alluvial fan.

94

Chapter 3

Geology, Landforms, and the Origin of Geomaterials

only erosional landforms. However, several important coastal features are the result of deposition of
·
.. .. . . ·
sediments caused. by wave action. :. ·
In deep water, the wave velocity and wave length remain essentially constant.Asthe wave enters
shallow waters, increased bottom friction slows it down to the point that the wave becomes unstable and
breaks at the shore. When the wave breaks, its energy is dissipated by turbuh!nce, and work (erosion and
sediment transportation) is done on the shor~ bottom. Finally, after the wave breakS, water continues to
run up the beach, expending the last bit of wave energy. Runup length depends on the wave height and
the roughness and slope of the beach. Figure 3.19 shows an idealized profile of a beach along with some
coastal, beach, and nearshore (littoral) features and terminology (Henry et al., 1987). In assessing the
condition of a specific coastal area, we need to know whether the coastline is emergent, submergent, or
stable, and the reasons for this assessment. These conditions lead to coastlines that are destructional
(eroding), constructional( accreting), or.....:: as is common in many coastlines..::. a composite stable com·.
··
·· · ;: ;
bination of both eroding and accreting{m)ces~es.
Reflection and refraction of waves impinging on the sh<ore, as well as longshore currents, probably
contribute the most to coastal erosion and transportation of sediment (Henry eta!.', 1987):Some of the
more important erosional shoreline landforms are shown in Fig. 3.20. Most of these features depend on
the lithology of the headlands; massive hard rock is, of course, much more resistant to erosion than soft
rock and soil. Changes in sea level, whether caused by climatic changes or tectonic activity, also strongly
influence the formation of coastal landforms. A difficult problem associated with erosional coastlines is
predicting their rate of retreat, which is obviously important in protecting infrastructure from coastal
landslides and other damage.
· · · ' ··
·
In constructionalshoreline~, the bea~h is co.ntinually re~eiving materials erodedfrom some
other area of the coast, or even offshore, arid transported by wave' aCtion and alongshore currents. This
process results from peculiarities in predmninani wind mid wave direction, loc~l topography, and the
availability-of materials to be eroded·elsewhere:and then transported: Common landforms in constructional shorelines are shown in Fig. 3.2L If the lana is rising relative to the sea or lake level, or if an
excess of littoral or.beach material is present, then a succession of beach ridges or. beach terraces may
be formed; these landforms also typically develop sand dunes and other Eolian features (Sec. 3.3.6).
Barrier islands are very .long offshore bars; they. are important landforms along the southern Atlantic
and Gulf Coasts of the United States.
·Nearshore (littoral) zone
(extends through breaker zone)

Beach
Backshore

Pub

Fore

Offshore

Shore

\

High water level
Low water level

FIGURE 3.19 Idealized beach profile illustrating coastal, beach, and nearshore (littoral) terminology
(Henry et al., 1987).

·· 3.3

Geologic Processes and Landforms

95

(

. FIGURE 3.20 .icommon landforms of an erosionalc~astline in resistant rock: {a) ~arlier stage showing
headland a, bay b; sea Caves C, and cliff-top blowhole d; {b) at a later stage; cave erosion causes sea arches e
and stacks f (after Lambert, .1988). · ·
·

FIGURE 3.21: Common landforms in constructional shoreliries.T, toinbolo; s,:spit; RS, re'cunied spit or
. 'hook; CS,' complex spit or compound hook; CT, complex tom bolo; LB, looped bar; DT, double tom bolo; HB,
headland beach;. 8MB, baymouth bar; MBB, midbay bar; CB, cuspate bar;BHB, bayhead beach; BSB, bayside beach; BHD, bayhead delta; CF, cuspate foreland {moaified after Thornbury, 1954);

96

.:·

Chapter 3' · ·Geology, Landforms, and the Origin of Geomaterials

Beach lagoons and tidal marshes are commonly found behind barrier islands, beach ridges, bay
mouth bars, and so on, as shown in Fig. 3.21. These features are important geotechnically because they
often become filled with soft organic silts and clays that are very poor foundation materials.
Materials found on shorelines and beaches range from boulders and cobbles to very fine sands; of
course, finer particles produced by erosion have already been carried away by wave action. In boulder,
cobble, and pebble beaches, the wave action is so strong that even most of the sand particles have been
carried away. Just as with coarse-grained fluvial deposits, these coarse-grained particles usually have
rounded and smooth shapes due to the abrading action of the waves and tides.
The predominant material found on beach ridges and terraces is sand, because the finer particles
have been carried away by the wave action. Coarser sands tend to be found nearer the tops of the
ridges, while nearer the water the materials tend to be finer in texture. Inorganic coastal deposits are
suitable for use in embankment fills. However, as coastal areas are also environmentally sensitive, they
may not be logical sources of construction materials. Low-lying coastal areas, especially near the
oceans and inland seas, are often poor sources of groundwater because of saltwater intrusion into adjacent aquifers.
.
·
Lacustrine Landforms- Similar to ocean coastlines, the shorelines of lakes are al.so subject to wave
action caused by wind or the rarf! seiche. Although the wave energy is less, the same types of en?sional
and depositional landforms can develop on lakeshores. The term acust~ine efers to both the processes
associated with and the materials deposited in lakes. The natural deve opment pattern for small shallow
lakes, especially in glaciated regions (Sec.3.3.5), is that they gradually fill with sediments and organic
· materials and turn into swamps and marshes, even with no exposed water surface. This process is termed
eutrophication (from Old Slavonic, eutropikosz: "stinky bog").
Lacustrine deposits are geotechnically very important, because they usually are fine-grained silts
and clays, often are quite soft and compressible, and may also contain significant amounts of organic
matter. If this is the case, lacustrine deposits are poor foundation materials, although in some cases, due
to desiccation and subsequent glaciation (Sec. 3.3.5), they may be strong enough to support structural
foundations. In soft materials, there may be problems with the stability of slopes and excavations. Fluctuating water levels in lakes and reservoirs also can cause shore slope instability in these deposits.
Important lacustrine deposits associated with the last Ice Age or Pleistocene epoch (Table 3.1)
are found around.the Great Lakes and in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the Dakotas. The Ottawa'and
St. Lawrence River valleys contain thick deposits of soft, sensitive. clays, l~rgelyJacustrine in origin,
although the clays in the lower St. Lawrence Valley were deposited in brackish to salt water. Varved
clays are found in the Connecticut River valley (much of which was formerly covered by glacial Lake
Hitchcock), the Puget Sound basin, and in many other formerly glaciated areas. Varved clays contain
alternating thin layers of silty and clayey soils; the coarser, silty layers were deposited when.the lakes
were ice free, while the finer" sediments settled out much more slowly (following Stokes' law) when the
lakes were frozen over and the water very quiescent. Finally, important lacustrine deposits are found in
the basins of western Nevada and Utah, in southeastern Oregon, and in southeastern California in a
remnant of the Colorado River delta. During the Pleistocene, large lakes formed and remained for a
•·long time because of the particular topogniphic and climatic conditions in these areas.
Also associated with the Pleistocene lakes are beach ridges and beach terraces that were formed
during different stages or levels. of the li1kes. These landforms are common around the Great Lakes ,
and the western basins, particularly the Great Salt Lake basin, They are often good sources of sands
and gravels and, depending on local conditions, may also provide limited groundwater supplies.
Sp.ecial Conditions in Desert Areas-Because conditions in desert·areas are different than in
. ::temperate and wetter,climates,speciallandforms·and soil deposits develop. The reasons for this development are fourfold. First, contrary to popular opinion, it does rain in deserts, although. obviously
infrequently. When rainfall does occur, often it is very intense and leads to significant runoff and erosion. Also contributing to erosion is the lack of vegetative cover. Second; drainage in deserts is often

J'

:·.J

3.3. Geologic Processes and Landforms · 97

''
.
· :: largely.internal through the coarser materials found on the desert floor and in desert mountains. This
leadsto well-developed drainage patterns (discussed earlier in this section). Third; evaporation rates
....• are much greater than rainfall rates, so if there is some standing water after a rain, it rapidly evaporates.
, Fourth, mechanical weathering, especially.because of wind action (Sec. 3.3.6), is more significant than
·in wetter climates (where chemical weathering predominates). All these conditions lead to the devel. opment of special desert landforms and soil deposits. Figure 3.22 illustrates a number of the landforms
commonly found in desert regions.
'
1,:

.. ,'

:··

-

\;

.... (a}
.~ . ; .
)

.

.

r

• Piedmont ·plain .
Fines~

c. : ·.FIGURE 3.22 Common landforms in.deserfregions: (a} bajadas; (b) pediment and .. :
, ; piedmont plain; and (c) fans and playas (after West, 1995).

·

98

Chapter 3'

1

Geology, Landforms, and the Origin of Geomaterials

· Alluvial fans, discussed previously, are. very common in desert areas. When several alluvial fans
coalesce on the valley floor or the piedmont plain below, they form what is called a bajada ("bottom" or
"lower" in Spanish). Because of the coarser materials found in the upper portions of alluvial fans, they
are often good sources of groundwater in desert areas. The broad, gently sloping erosional surface at the
-base of a mountain front is called a pediment. Pediments may contain Eolian landforms (described in
Sec. 3.3.6) and inselbergs.An inselberg ("island mountain" in German) is an isolated bedrock hill rising
abruptly above the eroded bedrock surface.
Dry, almost dry, or sometimes seasonal lakes on the piedmont plain in deserts are called playas
("beach" in Spanish). In the desert southwest United States, playas often have no outlet, and because
of the high evaporation rate, the water, if any, in a playa tends to be very salty. The dry lake-bed or
playa soils are also often salt encrusted.due to precipitation of salts from the ephemeral lake water;
such areas are commonly called alkali flats.
.
A type of soil commonly found in desert regions is caliche (origin: Spanish for "flake of lime")
which is a hard, highly variable layer cemented mainly with calcium carbonate ( CaC03 ) found within the
soil profile. Caliche is generally found at or just below the ground surface, and it is extremely variable in
thickness, ranging from a few centimetres to a few metres, even at the same site. Its hardness also varies
·greatly, which can make excavation difficult at times. Where it exists,itis an excellent foundation-support
material for highways and buildings, although dissotution is a problem with increased groundwater
presence. West (1995) gives two hypotheses for the origin of caliche. One is that water percolating
downward from the ground surface deposits calcium carbonate near the bottom of the soil profile. The
other is that capillary action (Sec. 6.2) draws mineral-rich water up near the surface, where the high
evaporation rate causes the salts to precipitate out and cement the soil particles together.
The potential for flooding and encroachment of infrastructure presents difficult problems for
civil engineers in desert regions. Stream channels can change rapidly, and due to the high~intensity
rainfall, erosion, and rapid runoff, flood waters often carry large amounts of debris and sediments.
Because these events may be rather rare; it is often difficult to obtain high~quality engineering data
necessary for design of culverts, bddges, levees,' and so on.
·
-

3.3.5

Ice Processes and Glaciation
The formation, movement and subsequent ~elting of large ice masses are important. geologic
processes that result in a number of major landforms, and important soil deposits. A~is a large
body of ice that is formed on land by the compaction and recrystallization of snow an'd-that gives evidence of past or present movement. Glaciers are important erosional and depositional agents, and
their effects extend well beyond the limits ·of glaciation. Although ·major continental glaciation
occurred during the Pleistocene epoch [2 X 106 yr B.P. (before present) to 15,000 yr B.P.; Table 3.1],
some glaciation is still occurring today. Also important geologically, and. geotechnically are
permafrost-permanently frozen ground-and seasonally frozen ground. About one-quarter of the
North American continent currently· contains penriafrost, while about two-thirds· of it is seasonally
subject to frost action. Frost action in soils· is discussed in Sec. 6.8.
.
. · , ,, ,
_ . In this section, wedescribe the origin and' characteristics of glaciers; the landforms and soil
deposits they produce, and the geotechnical characteristics of these landforms and soil deposits.
Origin and Characteristics of Glaciers-Glaciers begin with an acciuriulation of snow that on an
annual basis is greater than the loss taking place during the summer due to melting and evaporation
(called wastage). As snow accumulates, it co~presses and recrystallizes under its own weight and
gradually turns into ice that starts to flow plastically downslope (Fig. 3.23) or outward due to its own
weight. In some ways, glacial ice behaves as a very viscous liquid.
Glacial systems are essentially self-perpetuating, as long as no drastic climatic changes occur over
the long term. The surface elevation of the glacier rises as sriow accumulates, and this tends to cause

3.3 .. Geologic Processes and Landforms

99

FIGURE 3.23 Cross se~tion through a valley glacier showing the area relationship.betwee~ accumulation
and wastage; downslope flow lines are also shown schematically (~fterSharp,1960);
·

more snowfall; snow also increases the reflectivity of the area, and this means l((ss solar heat and lower
temperatures. In any event, for glaciers to continue to exist, there must be a state of equilibrium between
precipitation and accumulation of snow in the winter, and wastage (Fig.3.23) during the summer months.
When this equilibrium is altered by long-term climatiC changes, a glacier either (1) advances by accretion
of new snow deposition, more ice formation and less melting (colder climate trend); or (2) retreats when
melting outpaces accretion (warmer climate trerid). For example; there is evidence that during the
period 1300-1850, global temperatures were generally cooler, and glaciers advanced into areas where
. ·· · ,:,,they hadn't been present·for hundreds of years (Fagan, 2000). The opposite has been true since 1850,
•. : although there is debate 'aboutwhether this reflects a natural temperature cycle or human activity.
Glaciers can originate either on mountains or on continents. Mountain glaciers are active in many
areas of North and South America, Europe, and Asia in the Himalayas.' Continental glaciers were very
c·omnion· during the.Pleistcicene on all continents; today, large continental~type' glaCiers or continental
ice sheets exist only on Greerilarid and Antarctica (with remnants in Alaska imd Siberia). Observations
: made on those glaCiers' togethef\vith studies of Pleistocene glacial deposits tell us much about the
:
· .. · .: behavior arid effects'of continental glaciers during the Pleistocene.
··
· · · Figure 3.24 illustrates both mountain and continental glaciers. As most mountain glaciers occur in
valleys, the term valley glaCier may be more appropriate. Where two or more valley glaciers coalesce at
, the mountain front; they form a piedmont glacier. Also shown in Fig:3.24 are ice caps, cirque glaciers,
· and tidewater glaciers.
·
·
·.
· ·. Continental ice sheets can be very thick, even thicker tlian 4 km, and their weight depresses the
·. ·:: earth's crust underneath them; As the Pleistocene ice sheets melted (at the erid of the last Pleistocene),
·:<the earth's crus( rebounded elastically-in some cases, many metres-in Canada, the northern United
··:.States; and the Finrio-Scandinavian peninsula; For example, in the Puget Sound basin, the inferred net
; rebound ranges from· 40 to~l30 in.·crustal rebound has also cimsed many interesting local effects. In
·•:
Sweden, harbors became shallow and islimds began appearing in lakes and offshon! in the Baltic Sea.
· , 'Some of these'chariges are so rapid thafthey.have occurred even during the lifespans of people living
there. Residual stresses from ice loading are encountered .in the bedrock, and faults, minor earth. quakes, and the rupture of rcick slabs· during e'xcavations :have been attributed to these stresses
'·' (Nicho san
1991).. .
·''
.,.
lacial Landforms Glaciers and 'glaeial aCtion p·roduce both erosional and depositional land': forms'. As the Ice a vances in both valley and continental glaciers, it erodes adjacent soils and rocks by
; abrasion and gouging, and b)" the plucking cif blocks of jointed bedrock;•The eroded materials are
incorporated in the ice, with the greatest concentration near the bottom of the glacier. All of the debris

Chapter 3·

100

Geology, Landforms, and the Origin of Geomaterials

Tidewater.
glacier

....

Ice cap

Cirque
glaciers

Piedmont
glacier

Continental
ice sheet

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~: t.• ',") i 1: .

···.::··:·:

.. :~ ·~··:: .

;

Valley
glacier

'

.

'

.

... ... . :: ... : ....... ·

- . -. .-.-.·

.. ..

··..

·· ..... ·

..

"<):·.: ::.·.:::·: ·.

.... ·

.. FIGURE 3.24 . Types of glaciers (after Chernicoff .and Venkatakrishnan, .1995) ..

transported and later deposited by glacial action is called glacial drift, a general term that includes both
: materials directly deposited by the:ice and those deposited by meltwaters that carry soils and ro·cks
. away from the ice..
·
•· .
The unstratified drift deposited directly by the glacier itself is called till (from the Scottish: "coarse
·obdurate land"). Basal or lodgement till [Fig. 3.25(a)] is deposited directly under the glacier, while mater. ial deposited as the glacier melts is called ablation till [Fig. 3.25(b)]. Basal tills are characteristically dense
deposits, while ablation tills are often less dense. On the other hand, drift deposited by meltwaters from
glaciers is typically stratified or sorted and forms glacio-fluvial deposits [Fig. 3.25(a)]. Glacio:lacustrine
deposits are common where small ephemeral lakes or large and longer-lasting ones have developed.
: Figure 3.26 illustrates some of the landforms and erosional features associated with mountain
. ,. and valley.glaciation. In contrast to ordinary river and stream valleys in mountainous areas that are
V-shaped in cross-section, glaciated valleys are U-shaped due to the erosional processes described
above. Even after the ice has disappeared, it is easy to tell just how far down the valley the glacier progressed during its lifetime. Yosemite Valley, California, is a classic example of a glaciated valley that
. starts out as a U and becomes V-shaped about halfway down. Sometimes, high up on the valley walls,
· hanging valleys are formed where. smaller tributary glaciers intersected the main glacial valley. Often
·streams flowing in hanging valleys form spectacular waterfalls as they plunge into the main valley. Such
waterfalls are common in Yosemite Valley, California, as well as in Alaska, the Canadian and northern·
·.. ' · . · ··.U.S. Rockies, and the northern .Cascade Range in Washington and British Columbia. Other mountain
· , ·glaciation erosional features are illustrated in fig. 3.26.
·
: In coastal areas, fjords (and chevys) formed when deeply eroded g~acial valleys were drowned as
the sea level rose dramatically after the last glacial period. Classic examples.are, of course, in Norway,
: : 1 :but New Zealand, Alaska, and British.Columbia also have many;-for example, the.harbour of Van.: · couver, British Columbia. Puget Sound in Washington State is also a complex fjord. Other similar erosional features include the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes in NewYork; and the thousands of smaller., .. i lakes on the Canadian Shield in Ontario and Quebec. ·
·
-

3.3 . ·Geologic Processes and Landforms

""'"

101

.

Lodgement till
(a)

(b)

FIGURE 3.25 Glacial drift, till, and glacio-fluvial deposits: (a) lodgement till and glacio>·
fluvial depositsi (b) ablation till (including an end moraine). ·
·

• Moraines (French Provenc;al: mourreno) are till~dominated landforms that were deposited directly
by the glacier itself. Examples inclu~e ground moraines, deposited on the ground under the glacier, and
marginal or lateral moraines formed at the edges of glaciers. As glaciers recede;recessional moraines are
deposited. When a glacier stagnates for a while'- that is, when the rates of melting and accumulation are
about equal-an end moraine is formed by glacial drift deposited at the end or leading edge of the ice.
Sometimes glaciers advance and recede several times, forming several end moraines; but the maximum
advance of the ice is marked by a terminal moraine. Recessional or terminal moraines at the ends of valleys often act as dams and allow glacial lakes to form at various locations and elevations in the valley. '
In continental glaciation; a common landform is a ground mor-aine, sometimes called a till plain
· or till sheet; composed of lodgement tili iliai was deposited directly under the glacier. Good examples
-of till plains are fc{und in centrafillinois, Indiana, Ohio, and southern Ontario. Marginal or lateral
moraines,-formed at the edges of continental glaciers; are also found, as are recessional and terminal
··moraines; these are illustrated in Fig. 3.27. Important e~aniples of recessional and terminal moraines
·are in New England, starting at Staten Island and continuing across Long Island in New York, Block
Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket Island. A major recessional moraine extends from Long
Island, southern Connecticut, Rhode Island, and ~n io Cape Cod in Massachusetts.. ·.··
_ .
·
.
Another landform common in continental glaciated areas is the drumlin (Gaelic: druim =
"ridge of a hill"), which is a streamlined rounded hillS 50 mhigh composedof mostly glacial till. The
direction of ice movement is indicated by the flatter slope and elongated shape of the drumlin (Figs. 3.27
and 3.28). ril-umlins often occur in fields of hundreds or even thousands; good examples are found in western Nova Scotia, west-central New York,northern Michigan, eastern Wisconsin, central Minnesota, southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Also occasionally found on ground and end moraines are kettles, which
are pits or depressions where ice blocks separated from the main glacier, subsequently melted, and left a
collapse depression. Kettles often fill with water and become small lakes, and, as described in'Sec. 3.3.4,

to

102

Chapter 3:

· Geology, Landforms, and the Origin of Geomaterials
Tarns

Horn

Anflte

U~shaped.
vall~y

FIGURE 3.26

Valley glacial landforms (after Chernicoff and Venkatakrishnan, 1995).

,.,
··'"

! ~t

'FIGURE 3.27 · Continental glaciation landforms (afterWest, 1995).,

30)..ar-e usually deposited on a landform called an outwash plain (Fig.' active glaciei are called outwash. when the ice melts.1nces both horizontally and a . although usually they are not continuous for such distance.. it leaves the esker deposited on the ground surface (Figs. in southern Canada. Kame terraces are commonly found above the valley floor.27).3 .30). Materials deposited adjacent to the ice front tend to be quite coarse. the streams carrying the outwash are relatively heavily loaded with sedi. many older roads were built on then because they provided an excellent road base.29). Probably the most important sing. .mayalsQ. · .27) are mounds or small hills of poorly sorted coarse materials rather commonly found on moraines and outwash plains. These features are sometimes called gla'c:io~fluviallandforms.30(3) and (b). Eskers (Old Irish escir: "ridge or elevation separating two plains")' are 'sinuou~ ridges of stratified sands and gravels and even larger partiCles that .le characteristic is that most glacial deposits are highly variable with respect to their material properties. In continental 'glaciers where there are no confining valley. Also shown is a kame terrace formed by outwash deposited by nieltwaters flowing alongside a glacier between the ice and the valley wall. eo technical Significance of Glacial Landforms and Soil Deposits In glaciated country. while the finer gravels arid sands are carried further down the valley. An are~ in southern Wisconsin is called the kettle moraine.27 and3. 3. 3. Kames (Old Norse kjamn¢j: "from the' ice mound") (Fig. and the Dakotas. 3.. by the meltwaters duririgtiriieswhen the glacier was fairlystagnant or receding. 3. Eskers may be up to 30m high and kilometers long.were deposited in streamsflmvirig in ice tunnels under the glacier or on the top of the glacier: In either case. geotechnical engineers m ·· · par 1cu ar c arac enstics of glacial landforms and soil deposits. Geologic Processes and Landforms Direction of ice advance FIGURE 3. because they were deposited . These deposits form what is kriown as a valley train (Figs. Wisconsin. as shown in Fig. 150 km or more in li:'ngti1. They probably originated frorri crevasses on top of the ice that became filled with debris... where the outwash materials are confined by the valley walls.3. because the ground moraine is filled with literally hundreds of kettles. Maine. walls. 3. Outwash pJains. Eskers and kames are also •important landforms associa!ed with continental glaciation (Fig.27 and 3. Some eskers in Mairie are. Braided streams (Sec. .27).27 and 3. because ·they were depo~it~d in ci::mtactwfth the glacial ice. Sands 'and gravels deposited by meltwater streams in fro~tof an end moraine or at the margin of an. or from alluvial fans formed off the front or sides of the glacier. Eskers are common. .28 103 ------+- Drumlins (''a hill of till"). Michigan. In mountains. (Figs.4) ~re common. ev~n within very short dist<. Minnesota. ·' 3.~ontain othe!:_glici~fluvial-lan s such as eskers and kames. they may later accumulate fines aiid organic materials. merit. 3. They can also be called · ice~contact l!indfornis.3. 3. the outwash materials.

_ ~~~%~~\~t~ . -::. - r ·:..." >· ·• FIGURE 3.- .:. __ _..~~S_: ~ "~~ ~.. --._.-~~. Glacier ·retreating .104 Chapter 3..:. __ -....: .• '-s-......~_.! ..~...=-...z.:..\ r''.-. ·-._ .~-· ... .. and the Origin of Geomaterials Glacial ice .r::--·-. Geology.. .. ~~~~"S~0~.' .._ Bedrock channel Bedrock ___.- ...'1' 'f' I < ~ \)I l• . -- Meltwater begins to deposit sand and gravel . -~..._ :. . -<::~r- Deposits accumulate '..r...r. Landforms.•.29 Formation of eskers (Chernicoff and Venkatakrishnim 1 1995) .

105 .'a~d (bfsome ice-contact and outwash deposits and landforms (after Coats.30 A stagnant glacier. showing (a) initial phase of deglaciirtidri.FIGURE 3. 1991).

They also can provide excellent foundation materials. . .' If they are soft and compressible or organic. they ~re: excellent sources' of clean. and. Glacio-lacustrine. drift .ground moraines are of only average to poor quality.4. . For virtually all civil engineering construction sites in glaciated regions. ranging from boulders and even larger blocks. and seasonal frost depths. due to desiccation or subsequent glacial loading. Excavations may be a problem because of the fissures in some tills. Forexample. The finer silt arid clay particles have. Another characteristic. limestone arid/or dolomite). They ~re also moderately stiff and fissured due to unloading. been carried away by the meltwaters. thickness. personal communication). :Because the 'transportation medium is water. not glacial landforms. be progressively siltier. "Of all geologic materials. gravels). Landforms. especially for lighter structures and roads. Although the reasons are different. because tills in the north-central United States and· adjacent Canadian provinces are derived'largely from sedimentary rocks (shale. silts. there may be slope and excavation stability problems in these materials. and organic materials. be good sources of materials for highway fills and ' · earth dams. well sorted and stratified sand and gravel. including peat. as described in Sec. and the Origin of Geomaterials vertically. derived fro~ granites and othyr igneous rocks. Galster. As sources for construction materials. .deposited by meltwaters f~om' glaciers in glacio~ fluvial or'outwash landforms tends to be stratified and well sorted by grain size.for example. Ground moraines· and till plains are generally acceptable for foundations. Virtually all grain sizes are possible. and they are also stiff and fissured because of ice loads and desiccation. just as with soft deposits.3. but sands 1md g~avels predominate. they are predominately clayey. and complexity of the 'glacial drift. 2. 1995. Of course. Recall that the unstratified drift deposited directly by the glacier iscalled till. deposits are often varved. End and lateral moraines in mountainous areas generally make good foundations and may. can cause slope instability. you need to know at a minimum the distribution. Tills in New England and'the Maritime Provinces. especially of smaller and lighter structures. the complexity of the groundwater system.7) and have rough surfaces and broken edges. called glacial erratics. Tills in the PaCific Northwest (Washington. Tills tend to. the direction of ice movement. as one moves ea-st ofOhio and nmth of northern Alberta~ because of the coarser source rocks. Glacial tills typically are characterized by a lack of sorting by sizes and the absence of any significant stratification in the deposit. sands. fissures are planes of weakness and.:. Eskers can be good groundwater sources in glaciated regions.. are quite gravelly and bouldery (as in Scotland and England with their "boulder clays" or "boulder tills").terminalmoraines in mountains and at the ends of glacial valleys often contain soft lacustrine clays. depending on their specific engineering properties: \ Glacial lakes formed behind recessionalor. glacial deposits are the most complex and are likely to be the most humbling to work with" (R. of course. as well as silts a'nd clays-typically all randomly mixed together. Eskers 'are hnp~:>rtantto engineers because. are commonly found in kettles.106 Chapter 3 Geology. if unfavorably inclined. they also are very dense because of very high ice loads. 3. this information will need to be supplemented by project-specific information on soil properties. glacio-lacustrine deposits are poor foundation materials: However. British Columbia) 'are often granular and very silty (because they were predominately derived from igneous and metamorphic rocks and debris).to some extent the distance from their source. desiccation. Just as with ordinary fluvial' deposits. in some locations. coarse-grained glacio-fluvial materials· terid to have· rounded particle shapes. of the coarser particles found in glacial till is that they are generally subangular to angular in shape (Fig. glacio-lacustrine deposits may be very quite stiff and therefore good foundatio~-support materials. You should be dear that the terms glacial till and drift are the generic names of glacial materials. ' 'l'' ' -· • ). through rock fragments (cobbles. The mineralogy and lithology of glacial tills st~6ngly reflect their source and. . Similar deposits. although stratified deposits may be found within a till owing to meltwater streams and ephemeral lakes. These materials tend to be' coa~ser grained and can rangefrom boulders down to fine sands. although excavations along their flanks can pose problems because of boulders and cobbles.

. . ' In the Ice Age. This active layer contributes to the development of many of the characteristic features and landforms found in permafrost" and periglacial (i. For additional geologic and geotechnical information about glacial deposits. permafrost exists everywhere . · . cool summers. . ' ' .. which are cones or domes of ice and sediments that range in size from less than a metre in height and diameter to more than 50 m high ·and 400 min diameter. . • . ·. . railroads. . . " . are relatively CC?nimon. ' ·~ ' . The softening' of the foundation sciils leads to differential settlement. sometimes as much as 3 m in diameter and 10 m deep.l . Maximum permafrost d~pths range from ~bout 1600 min Siberia and 1000 min the Canadian arcticto about 740 m in northern Alaska. • . solifluction. (2) ground subsidence under heated structures. permafrost is either continuous or discontinuous. the ground does not complet~ly thaw during the year. they also are gciod groundwater sources. differential frost heaving.ns?id=mg18725124. . because the average global temperature is rising relatively dramatically-compared to historical trends. ·~ubsidence. Nearly 25% of the earth's surfac~ is per~afrost. and stone stripes and sorted circles found in periglacial and permafrost regions.failu~e of foundations of buildi~gs.. · Permafrost and Periglaciai Landforms-' Permafrost is. 3. the result is a high-water-content soil~ which causes a concurrent decrease in soil strength ' ~iid increase in c~~pr~ssibility. They generally are good for~ foundations except where organic materials exist---' for example.newscientist. do. Fill terraces (Sec. · .3: Geologic Processes and L3ndforms 107 Both kames and kame terraces are good sources of sands and gravels. ' . . . the bottom. The presence or. north. the upper 1-6m of the permafrost thaws. In addition. When it thaws. In continuous permafrost ~ones. .md Clay) as eskers ~r valley tniin deposits. absence of permafrost in the discontinuous zone is influenced by the vegetation and the depth of snow cover present in winter. the four mairi problems associated with infrastructure on permafrost are: (1) thawing of ice-rich permafrost with subsequent" surface subsidence under unheated structures such as road !lnd airfields. . although they tend to be sandier and usuaily not as . and'(4) freezing of buried sewer. especially on the Mackenzie River delta. th~ ~ayities can fill with gravel and sand that later densify to form ice-wedge casts. .. The largest known pingo is 70 m high and 600 min diameter.. As noted previously. The high water content of the active zone. Icewedges. .··.cle~n (fre~ of silt .many permafrost regions are experiencing significant activelayer events (e. . . not freeze completely to.. roads. :3.4. : ' .. Kames and ka~e terraces are often good sources of groundwater. . . and airfields.soil is frozen it has' exc~llent bearing capaCity and very low compressibility.3. and because of its high water content froin melted ice is very unstable. they are l~ss desirable as foundations than eskers. and oil pipelines. ~ . repeated freezing and thawing. primarily in the polar regions and at high altitudes (Fig. perennially frozen ground. there are numerous permafrost-free areas that progressively increase in size arid number as you go from noith to south. 3. •• ' • • • • . cold winters and short. . ' . the cooler... water.31 ): In these regions. mid e~en bea~in"gcapacity.that. . although they may also contain som:e gravels and· finer particles. so today periglacial features are sometimes found from New Jersey across the continent to the Dakotas.3. They are very common in northern Alaska north of the Brooks Range and in northern Canada. r . Weakening of near-surface thawing soils' al~o leads to slope instability.. .500)." wetter climate undoubtedly contributed to the development of the large pleistocene lakes in what is now the desert southwest United States described in Sec. and local vegetation all contribute to patterned ground. In summer. 3. Because kames and kame terraces tend to be more variable than eskers arid may contain kettles. • ~-· .com/article. ' .except: under lakes .> • : '. Because of long. .. near glacial) regions. however.e. . . http://www. generally intensified by poor drainage caused by"perrr1afrosi. When. in kettles and stream channels: They are also reasonable sources of groundwater. even in the far. Among the stranger permafrost features are pingos (Inuit pinguq or pingu: "small hill"). .and. . in discontinuous permafrost zones.· when they thaw.g. NWT. rivers . . located near Thktoyaktuk. the thawing of ice-rich permafrost and ice wedges. see Coates (1991). .4) in glacial valleys are composed mostly of coarse· sands and . .Outwash plains a~ci valiey trains tend to be quite sandy in character. Probably the most important and most destructive is the first one. · gravels.. periglacial environments existed all along the frorit of the North American continental glacie~s.: . frost or ice-wedge polygons. . of b~tli natural slopes and excav"aii~ris iri froieri ground: .. (3) frost action. Acco~ding to Pewe (1991).

it is important to know the'distribution of seasonally and/or permanently frozen ground.. · Because th~ surface of thawed p~rmafrost is v~ry irregular and ~ontalns features such as small lctkes. . and .. bogs. Geology. 1991). 3. . · ' .31 100° 30° Distribution of Permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere (Pewe. it resembles karstic limestone topography (Sef. Landforms. pits.3. Sometimes local subsidence features are called thermokarsts. and the Origin of Geomaterials 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l Zone of· continuous permafrost Zone of discontinuous ·permafrost \. For engineering iri tlie arctic and subarctic.Chapter 3 108 . and caverns. whether the frozen ground is satunited or dry frozen ground.is referred to as thermo karst topography.:· 30° FIGURE 3.2) and.

and (d) parabolic. 3. The most prominent depositional eolian landforms are dunes. The.. Investigations of sand dunes. which is a silt-size particle (Chapter 2). i. the d~ne will have a slope angle of repose of about 30° to 35 6• The slope is iHistable at steeper angles.times present serious maintenance problems.. as are can . Parabolic .200 m high. and. . that is.looser. transverse.32(a)].vind direction. 3. or they can be lifted and carried in suspension by the wind.lakeshores~ .from transversedunesa'fter some vegetation removal. while the'l~ew~ud sid-e· is much steeper ..the.2) or rest Figure 3.. : than transverse. 2.3. local wind conditions (direction and strength). transportation. and: plentiful. except that they form with their ·apexes in the opposite direction.33(b). 'most commonly composed of sand but occasionally ofsilts.:barchans. 109 whether ice wedges and lenses exist at the site.. · ::. 1 to 3:krri wide.!11 finer particles from the ground surface. Stabilization by fences and vegetation is probably most effective. and vegetation. Aeolus) landforms by erosion.::-100 to. Fig. :• . 3:33(a). pipelines) from moving simd dunes that can at.that left behindan.5).tends to anchor. On the leeward side of each type. showri in Fig. canals. A barchan (from an East Turkic dialect:. .( -. they have about the same diameter (Sec.windswhen the wind direction is coi1starit and the supply_of sand is limited. and inclined at the angle of repose (Sec. Transverse dunes form where the winds are relatively weak and blow from the same direction. The· common shapes are· (a). progressing") is the • classic crescent-shaped sand dune.dunes [Fig.: ·. for example.. They probably develop .windward side is relatively flat and somewhat denser. from the Greek g:od of the winds. Sahara and Arabian deserts can be 100 m high and ••· as long as 100 km. the wind is a very effective sorting agent. as shownin fig.32(b). 3. and sand grains will roll down the slope until an angle of repose is reached that is just stable. the prevailing . are a seriesofparallel ridges that form perpendicular to the prevailing . the sands. from Arabic: ''sword"). Vegetation also . but some in the. .'often quite uniform. it readily separates the different particle sizes. the grain diameter must be less than about 0. to. · It is interesting that the mechanisms of transportation and deposition by the wind are quite similar to those in water~ Soil particles can roll and bounce along the ground surface (saltation. form parallel rather ·.wind direction arid when .33(c):Barchansform perpendicular to the prevailing.e.shores of Lake Michigan.3. sand source is nearby. climate.. Longitudinal dunes (also called seifs. See Pewe (1991) and Andersland and Ladanyi (2004) for information on the impact of permafrost on civil infrastructure construction and performance. For suspension to occur with common soil and rock minerals. if any. which indicates that the smaller sizes have been carried be moved by wind forces is not away in suspension.barchans at their :apexes. and more.01 mm. and recent fluvial deposits. sand supply is moderate. . •. Transverse dunes. transverse dunes _can be huge. 3. 3. Because the upper end of the size range that much larger than the lower end. thanlOO km long) ."moving forward. and they are common along sandy ocean and :-:! . . Also. . Eolian Landforms-Erosional eolian landforms include shallow caves eroded from cliffs and bluffs. vegetation· is: scarce.33(d)] have: a shape similar to .. and each is primarilY determined by the type of sand present.- ··: 3:3 Geologic Processes and Limdforms. . .6 Wind Processes ~very ~ffecti~e geol~gic age~t produce~ Wind is that. from Latin: sa/tare: "to jump"). Dunes ·are usually described according to their shape. In the Sahara desert. (c) barchan.Across section of atypical sand dune is shown in Fig. (b) longitudinal.· :.08 mm. have shown that the minimum grain size found in them is about 0.12.. and deposition of finer-grained materials. beaches.::'::~. and blowouts where the wind has removed the topsoil and caused a small depression devoid of any vegetation [Fig.Transverse dunes aiso are common along the southern arid easter!?.The major engineering problems in areas with extensive sand dunes are associated with protection of infrastructure (roads.32(c)shows how both astation~ry dune and a migrating dune are formed. Typically they are only a few metres high. the.. Eolian landforms are found especially in areas of sparse vegetation such deserts. Desert pavement is a term applied to a surface of small stones and gravel left behind when very strong winds have removed sands and <.

1962). . Because the sands are loose... glacial outwash plains. . very common in Canada or Alaska.. .. ' (c) ~IGURE 3. · ... heavier struCtures may require special foundations or stabilization of the sands to prevent unwanted differential settlements. According to Handy .110 Chapter.<:XX 'X 'VYVV (a) '. .. . Iowa... east of the Mississippi River: valley all the way from Minnesota down to southern Illinois. . and 'down the Mississippi to the mouth of the river._. .. . (b) cross-section of a dune....3 Geology. ' ' :---. Loess is not . ..' . (.:fi.... the thickness of loess is greater nearer the source and diminishes as the distance from the source · increases...32 Eolian landforms: (a) blowout. ·· i (1995). the 'flood phiin of the lower Mississippi River has produced loess deposits as thick as 30 m' on' the eastern side of the valley (prevailing winds are from' the 'west). . Important loess deposits ate often associated with the Pleistocene (Ice Age) or postglacial activities: Major loess deposits in the United States include a large area of Nebraska. eroded by 'tlie ·wind: As you might : . Sources of silts are river valleys..." because it seems that few out' side Germany know how to correctly pronounce the word.JJJiJ·'iJfJJ 1\u..s?" vegetation . • ' .. For example. eastern Washington state mid southern Idaho." "less. 'and. expect.. :are carried in suspension by the wind and then deposited.J/ No ~ . and •sandstone ·outcrops that· may be.:. it is variously mispronounced'as "lo-ess. siltstone.. 'V .. Sometimes older dunes become stabilized by natural vegetation. As described above. fine silt-size particles . ... Kansas. ... and they' make decent foundations for highways and small struCtures. '. and the Origin of Geomaterials Vegetation · Vegetation .. Migrating dune Wind ~ ~ ·~I..." "hiss.. .JJJ~h.. Slope stability is a problem only if excavations are attempted into the dunes that' are steeper thim the angle of repose.." or "lerse. Loess.Another important eolian deposit is loess (German: toss or l0/3).~ .\ · '1 . I l '!.""''. andnorthern Missouri. (1. of stationary and migrating dunes (after von Bandat. (c) formation . .. . Landforms.<' c 1 ~ t • ' i' Wind------+ -: (b) Stationary dune .

collapsible soils. 6.. The tank would . ... loess deposits have a very open and porous structure. .7 for additional comments about . The open porous structure of loess also· can collapse when wetted and loaded. together with.. Volcanism produces volcanoes and a number of other features and deposits that are of major concern to civil engineers working in the Pacific Rim and other areas with volcanic activity. the . the loess structure would collapse and detrimental settlements of the foundation of the tank would occur. However. (d) parabolic (after Chernicoff and Venkatakrishnan. 3. and drainage ditches and channels become filled with silt. . In addition.probably be quite stable on shallow foundations. · · .7 Volcanic Processes The geologic processes that result in the extrusion of magma (molten rock -:-Probably from the mantle) onto the earth's surface are collectively called volcanism. such as might happen with a . for example. However. Sometimes.33 Common dune shapes: (a) transverse. Loess slopes can be quite stable even without special erosion protection or vegetation.3. .. loess is very easily eroded.. ' ... ___~~~~~~'!"!i!o ·~•..· · 3. See Sec. Because of its porous structure. such deposits are pre~ wetted to induce their collapse prior to construction to reduce postconstruction settlements. loess particles are lightly cemented by montmorillonite (a clay mineraldescribed in'Chapter 4) or calcite. (c) barchan. almost vertical. (b) longitudinal. cut slopes. 1995).3 Geologic Processes and Landforms 111 Transverse dune Barchan dunes _. loess tends to have a rather high vertical hydraulic conductivity and drainage~ and this fact. if. the slopes flatten rapidly. Parabolic dune ' Deflation-=~~::: hollows FIGURE 3. road cuts are made on an inclined slope. means that they are able to stand on high and very steep. if accidental leakage of the tank should occur.water tank constructed on loess.cementation.. Because they were deposited by wind rather than by water.

\ ••••••••••••••••••••••• (b) -. {after West. all over the Island of Hawaii and central Oregon. Shasta and Lassen Peak in California.ic areas . . New Zealand.· Mt. Indonesia. and a couple of volcanoes on the big island of Hawaii are still very active. Alaska (particularly the Aleutians). include Iceland (22 active). (c) shield volcano. Antarctica. Geology. Mts. Rainier. . and the Origin of Geomaterials Some of the Earth's most spectacular mountains are volcanoes. · .l .34 Types of volcanic eruptions and volcanoes: {a) fissure eruption. St. Mt.112 Chapter 3. Japan. The Hawaiian Islands are volcanic in origin. Central America. and the Andes Mountains of South America all have active volcanoes. and Baker in Washington.\. for example. Good examples of the lava flow landforms can be seen.i\r ::[\ \. Lava is essentially molten rock that viscously flows from the volcano in a fissure eruption (Fig.. Mt. materials such as lava and pyroclastic rocks and other debris are extruded or ejected. and . 1995). and these deposits can produce landforms of interest to civil engineers. and Africa. the Philippines. {d) composite cone. Mts. . the south Pacific.34) and produces lava flows on the ground surface.. McKinley in Alaska. Hele~'s. Notable examples include Mount Fujiyama in Japan.. Lan~forms.When volcanoes erupt. Mt. {e) caldera-Spanish for ·~boiling pot''. Garibaldi in British Columbia. Flow :i. FIGURE 3. 3.::: · . {b) cinder cone.\\\. Other important vobnl. Etna and Vesuvius in Italy. many islands in the Caribbean. --. the Cascades Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Hood · in Oregon.

000 persons.sandstones. In projects in regions with soliible rocks. If the eruption produces mostly cinders. Fujiyama in Japan and the volcanoes in the Cascade Range of California. fissures.8 · Groundwater Processes is As you will learn during your study of geotechnical engineering. Oregon. examples ··include Mount Katmai in Alaska and Crater Lake. . Under~ ground construction in volcanic rocks may present special problems due to joints. ancl volcanic mudflows called lahars.3. . ejected lava can cool as it is propelled through the air. gypsum. and Washington. .As with karst. and plutonic processes. dolomite. Good examples of eruptioris. the design arid construction of foundations on soluble rocks is difficult because of the highly variable subsurface and bedrock conditions. · Groundwater processes of importance to civil engineers include dissolution of soluble rocks and sapping and erosion (piping) that occur as groundwater exits from springs. 3. designers imd contractors must have a thorough knowledge of the subsurface geology. groundwater flows in the pores between the mineral grains. ~nd they are particularly damaging ··•·•to human life and infrastructure. often for surprisingly large distances.rocks such as limestone.34(c)]. 12. For purposes of the present chapter. including the bedrock profile and the distribution and thickness of the overlying soils. are formed by alternating eruptions of lava and pyroclastics [Fig. shield volcanoes are very broad and quite flat. and design for transient ash conditions and for flooding and sedimentation. The groundwater. glaciers. The types of volcanic eruptions and their resulting volcanoes (landforms) are shown in Fig. this sectio~ describes subsurface groundwater. sometimes called stratocones.3. Helen's in Washington. 3~34(e)]. A classic Cinder cone is Sunset . On the other hand. and it is involved in virtually all geotechnical engineering and construction problems. 3. gravel-sized debris called lapilli (Italian: ''little rocks'?).34(d)]: Classic examples of com: posite cones are Mt. Lahars are mixtures of pryro-clastic debris of all sizes with water that is readily obtained from melting snow and glaciers on the volcano or from heary rainfalL Lahars move ~ith high velocity down stream and river chalmels. Eruptions can destroy or disrupt transportation networks. can create serious problems for civilengine'ers.2. . Tephra can contain everything from large rocks (volcanic bombs). 3. and tubes . ' 3. clog rivers and lakes with volc~nic' debris and cause earthquakes. Mt: Pinatuoo· i~ the Philippines. . . Good examples of shield volcanoes are Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii. a steep-sided cinder. besides being potentially very deadly to ~irtually all life forms. The remainder of. and their influence on civil engineering construction. flow is primarily through joints and fissures.3. 334.A caldera is a huge collapsed or'explcided volcanic crater [Fig. and collectively this pyroclastic debris is called tephra (Latin: "ashes").Crater in northern Arizona. you just need to know that in soils and porous rocks such as. .:· .3 Geologic Processes and Landforms 113 · Depending on the force of the eruption and other local factors. because the lava they produce is molten and quite liquid [Fig. tsunamis.34(b)] is formed ·because of the angle of repose (Sec. and salt are subject to dis~ solution. The effect of actual and potential volcanic activity on engineering works is described by Schuster and Mullineaux (1991). water a very important constituent of naturally occur-ring soils and rocks. This last eruption and its resulting mudflows killed nearly 23. Because weathering·and dissolution tend to develop along joints and bedding planes. that are common in lava flows. Some problems include siting of facilities in the potential pathways of lava and · pyroclastic debris. and slopes. tectonic.. St. Soluble. Composite cones. . cinders and pumice to volcanic ash (sand and silt sizes). · Volcanic eruptions. entire chapters of this book to its various aspects. Karst and karstic features are described in Sec. . .producing'damagmg lahars and mudflows _:are those of Mt. conditions and . information on these features should also be determined. water is so important in geotechnical engineering that we devote two .' landslides. calcareous sandstones.2) of the pyroclastic debris. and Nevado del Ruiz in Columbia. In fact. This completes our discus~ion :of surface· geologic· processes. Oregon. in other rock types. cone [Fig: 3.

. and number of. and several of these are shown in Fig. have important 'consequences. Another techtonic process is . (c).. and faults are described in Sec. sometimes called 'tectonism.well as any changes likely to be caused by .· Sapping refers to the process of erosion of softer materials at the base of a cliff. glaciers. Landforms. Awell-known a ' '. 3.synct[nes. 3. Geology.the construction should also be consid.· . and the Origin of Geomaterials 114 :' their variability as. ~riginating in th~ earth's crust~nd shail~~ mantle. arches. described .silts. Thornbury. and anticlines ail may produce distinctive landscapes. engineering implications. important topographic fe'atures are associated with joints. soil particles such as sands ·and . ·····" • '• .(.encroachment and potential flooding are the important engineeri~g problems associated with sapping and piping~ · .dforms that ft'ave. folds.3. basins. . loss of foundation support. . ·. · · : · .'"••'. ... ···· . ' •·t FIGURE 3. · .Chapter 3 . .•• :_ ' . Geologic structure is often dominant factor the . Foldstructliressuch as domes.ered.: : ._. 1954).fault blocks.. important . and .5 and by ·NiChols ~ndCollins (1991).2.·. . :. and (d) complex structures (after·· ·.35·. (Piping is also discussed in Chapter 7. while piping generally refers to the movement of finer. '. . . causing the breaking away' of blocks of rock at the top of th'e cliff.' ~ in ·•._ .4 on rock structure.Tectonic pr~cesses. (b) domes. :.in Sec. Diastrpphism.35 Geologic structures: (a) folds.n!fers' to verylarge:scale crustal ··deformations and mountain building resulting from plate tectonic activity.3..development of landforms. · · ·.· • • " - ' •" .9 Tectonic Processes . especi<illy in seismic~lly active areas. · · ·. 3.) Slope instability. · · · . . ' '. Two other groundwater processes that also can cause local engineering problems are sapping and piping that occur as groundwater exits from springs. crustal rebound due to the retreat of the large continental glacie~s. 3.1 •• ' a . . and slopes.' and they produce 'a number of hln. See James (1992) for practical solutions to the problems of soluble rocks..

Good examples of folding with anticlines and synclines are the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States.·. :: . to the ground surface. Probably the best-known examples of sag ponds are found along the· San Andreas Fault in California. Its height depends. . 3.. but its appearance today depends on how recently the faulting occurred... '1_ ' . on the amount of displacement. Other features that. When a normal or thrust fault [Fig.36 . lines of springs. (c)·.36). ~/' ' < '' ' ' '' ' '· . .3 ·Ge-ologic Processes and Landforms 115 example of a dome with a very old crystalline· rock core is the Black Hills formation of South Dakota.).3.'·' . (b) after · displacement. 3. ··.' ... ''' '' '..'1 '·. (c) after erosion of the fault scarp (after Emmons et al. 1955).} . · ·· · · A~ you might expect. '' j<.· "'. a fault scarp is produced (Fig..' FIGURE 3.. of course.faults also produce distinctive landforms and topographic features. '.-. and sag ponds and small lakes that indicate impounded drainage along a fault.2(a) and (b)] extends. :. F~ult scarp: (a) b-efore displacement.. .·./· :."":. are often evidence of previous faulting include stream offsets.

·pipelines. hospitals) that are potentially important during earthquakes.· earthquake engineering. Although plutonism produces a number of interesting features '(Fig. the bedrock. as well as the potential for other seismically induced problems such as landslides. ·· . Plutonic activity niay also result in hydrothermal alteration of adjacent rocks and sediments. power plants. . Landforms. Thus for the seismic design of civil engineering structures. Hot ascendhig sohitions may alter the minerals in the original rock so that a completely different rock . for example. more variable. One is that. and the return period of the design earthquake are·all usedto estimate the intensity of shakingdue to an earthquake. Plutonic rocks and structures may be locally important in the ·construction of tunnels and underground powerhouses.·Geology. .g. and subsidence. If block faulting occurs on a very large scale. Death Valley in southern California.3. ._·If you expect to practice in earthqmtke. results. and weaker Hiim unaltered . · . . :.·rocks and thus are poorer foundation and construction materials~ ' . The other is that faults that have moved in recent geologic time' are useful indicators of possible future seismic activity. · · . and for long-lifespan facilities such as waste repositories and nuclear power plants. - -'-'- ' ~. . you want to avoid locating a structure or facility across a potentially active fault.. Subsurface volcanic activity or plutonism occurs when mag~a is intr~ded into older overlying rocks. country..38). Kramer (1996) is a good reference on ali aspects of geotechnical . . 3.Hydrothermally altered rocks are more erodible..10 PlutoniC Processes ~ ' . and surficial geology between the fault and the facility.37. · In seismically active areas the location of faults is important-for two reasons. most of them appear at the surface only after the overlying rocks are removed by erosion or other geologic processes.37 Block faulting with horsts and grabbens (West. The higher block is termed a horst (German: "refuge") and the lower block a graben (German: "ditch". 3..116 Chapter 3 • .canism: . these are very common in the Great Basin area of Nevada 'and Utah.or "trench").local ground motions and the potential for ground failure. as shown iri Fig. the distance of a facility from a potentially aCtive fault. See Bonilla (1991) for a description of the effects of faulting and'eiuth_quakes on dams. if at all possible.: ~rust When block faulting occurs. block-faulted mountains are produced. has many such features. 3.(e. airing narrow blockof the earth's is either uplifted or depressed between two faults along itssides. These design considerations· are even more critical for so-called lifeline facilities. you will' need to know something about the regional tectonics. liquefaction (Chapter 7). Hydrothermal alteration can be found iriareas of past intrusive activity or of contemporary vol. · . · .. and the Origin of Geomaterials I lVI~~. ·. and other civil engineering projects. 1995). they occurin almost all intensely faulted regions. FIGURE 3.. i ::.

In addition.38 · Plutonic forms (after Krinine and Judd. and agricultural maps.000of most of the United States. Such maps provide very useful information. Classic geologic maps show the type of rock or rock formation ori the bedrock surface as if the surface soils and vegetation were renioved. Thick overburden deposits are usually also indicated. various state . including valuable information about· their use in engineering practice. you can obtain certain surficial geologic information from topographic maps. geologic.. Topographic maps of all of Canada are available at various .· logic and pedologic maps as well as the usefulness of aerial photographs. West (1995) has a detailed description of topographic and geologic maps..· ' '3. Miles. '· · · · Maps of local areas are also available from various provincial map agencies. Sometimes this information is available in the context of geographic information systems (GIS).an e~cellent source of detailed· information.:With some.S: Geological Survey (USGS) produces 7. journals: To start with. valuable information can be obtained from water-well and other subsurface drill logs. You: are •probably . and Resources (EMR) in Ottawa. OF GEOLOGIC INFORMATION Geotechnical engineers use several sources to obtain the geologic information they need in practice.4 SOURCES. The U. especially to engineering geologists. scales from the Map Office of the Department of Energy.familiar with topographic maps and how they give you both the geographic location and the eleva' tion of a site. reports and papers published by different governmental agencies.5 min quadrangle maps at a scale ' ' of 1:24. about' the type and age of the bedrock and general rock properties. · topographic. an excellent overall description of the geology and soil deposits of North America has been prepared by Woods. They are available from the USGS. etc. departments of natural resources. and articles in scientific and engineering · .4 . The various state· geological surveys are also . .: Sources of Geologic Information 117 >I •· FIGURE 3. 1957): 3. 2006). Mines. and aerial photographs and satellite imagery.. They also discuss the various types of geo. An excellent' compendium of similar information for Canada is given in '··the Canadian Foundation Engineering Manual(Canadian Geotechnical Society. Goodman (1993) gives information on how geologic maps and aerial photographs can be obtained. and Lovell (1962).experience.

118 Chapter 3.com). These new interpretive tools have greatly expanded. U.company. climate and' weather records.pairs. Army Corps of Engineers. · <:and rock types. These maps are definitely worth consulting if. tomosaiC co_vering liuge area or. · ·· · cal engineer.: . ·•. Sometime's oil and gas logs are also available. septic systems. Geology. andJandslides. at various regional centers located across the country. In recent y~ars. Well .·.S. engineering. in Oinada. Depending on the site and the.. ' '. the Geological Survey of Canada.Airphotos show not only geographic details. They are' prepared and sold by the Soil ConserVation· Service (ni:nv known as.the property ofthe. adjacent photo pairs can beviewed stereoscopi. even over short distances. they are available from the various provincial agricultural . Understanding of airphoto interpretation and photogeologyis a very valuable tool for a geotechni. even the maintenance ofall types of Civil works. more c~mmonly/as s. external and subsurface drainage patterns. soil types. y~u have a project in a new a~ea. planning. Department'of AgriCulture. Traditional air photos covering most of the agricultural United States are available froni the USDA. :. yielding a three-dimensional image tO" aid in geologic iriterpretation. color photographs and color infrared (IR) imagery have become available. ·· ·.. . ofimagery from satellites (LANDSAT). Knowing where to obtain that . and patterns of the groundsurface. you rnay also want to obtain such things as flood-plain maps. in Canada by agricultural district.tereo.engineering . · ·· · ·.S. for example. construction. Maps are available in the United States generally by county and . owning the drilling rights. or similar agencies. environmental protection. surface and . · · . be proprietary. Forest Service. outcrops. ·· · · · · ·· · · ·· · . Online (http://www.the quantity and quality of information available to geotechniCal engineers. · · · ·.\ :.. roads.S.. design. Agricultural soil maps and soil surveys (maps) are prepared by soil scientists and agronomists primarily for agricult~ral purposes and land use planning.· .: • •· Most parts of the. •organic deposits. · . two IR bands)."". •:. aggregate sources.· water-well logs are often available at state and provincial departments ofnatural resmirces. green. Administration has photos of the U. case. In the' latter.·: . earth are:now available through Google Earth and the USA National Atlas . • underground mining reports. LANDSAT imagery is available from the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing in Ottawa and · .have various wave bands (red. In Canada.• caily.·. ·· In both the United States and Canada.. landforms.of a project site is to the successful practice of geotechniCal engineering.usatlas2000. · We have emphasized throughout this chapterjust how important the knowledge of the geology .gic information is aerial phbtographs. ~ . m and a \ ~ . as . : . although photo coverage and resolution can vary.'. which we· can' use to identify. 2006). in the American west. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric .! .-lo' . . and. thus th~y concehtrate onthe characteristics of the topmost 1 ofthe soil surface.project reconnaissance. rock. with a 60% overlap in the line of flight and15% side overlaps. . Landforms/and the Origin of Geomaterials geological surveys and departments of natural resources. the Natural· Resources Conservati6n: Servfce) -~f the U. ·. hydrologic information.. coastlines. and local seismicity records. as well as soil .. and Bureau of Land Management are good source's of airphotos.S. · problem. andhindfills. used either aS a pho:\:ally about230~mm X230-mm panchroniatic-(black .. textures. They1 are typiwhite)photogr-aphs. o'ne of the most useful sources of geolo.. :logs can provide much useful information. land use and planning surveys and· maps. . and occasionally. hydrographic charts. geotechnical engineers need a wide variety of information and resources to assist them in . geologic information is a key first step in this process. LANDSAT:informationis available fromthe USGS EROS Data Center. although these tend to. Recent maps also contain some general engineering information such as the soii's suitaoility for siting homes. such as depths to the water table and bedrock. ~ · · · . seepage :zones... . departments. but also the tones (the shades of gray)..As you will see in your study of geotechnical : ~ . and a · number of provincial agencies and departments (Canadian Geotechnical Society. the U. water resources.

(After S. Use a consistent bibliographic citation format.. (b) streets and roads. (b) the previous month. (b) tunnels for a mass-transit system.) ' 3.. Comment on the implications of these features for infrastructure construction. 3. ·. Prepare a one page summary of this information. . L. . ·.5 ·Use Goo'gle Earth to' locate yciu~ university or h~me town: List as: many' geologic features as you can that can be seen from the air photos.gov/regional/neic/.10 Get online and use the keywords geology and engineering to open a search. (d) what a weather forecaster might say be .. List the bedrock' type and units and any other pertinent geologic information about your area. These would be good places to direct a web search to find materials on this topic.. ' . 3. and (c) low-rise commercial buildings. Kramer.9 Search the library for books and manuals on air photo interpretation.1 Go online and find one or more-geotechnical and geologic maps that contains your university or home town. 3. Refine your search as necessary. 3. 3. Select two or three that are fairly ·common in the vicinity of your university or home town. and (d) expansion' of either the local airport or harbor.· · : . Using links available at the NEIC website http://earthquake. · ' . and the general public. Comment on. Write a brief des-cription of the location with sufficient information so that' another engineer could eas· . ' ' . find the 10 largest magnitude earthquakes that have occurred in( a) the past week. ·" · 3. list (a) the common landforms produced.· · · · · ' · ·· · · · · ' 3.) · 3. and (d) engineering problems that may be caused by these hazards. Miles and Lovell (1962) and compare infonnation from that reference with what you fol. ri~es yo~r state or p~ovince require that ~11 water:well drillers record the welll~gs with an appropriate ~gency? If so.Problems 119 PROBLEMS .uid online. . Purdue and Cornell Universities have been leaders in the start of air photo interpretation as early as the 1940s.3 Find ge~logic maps of your state or province that include the locality of your university or home town. L.4. (c) geologic hazards.·. Find the article for one of these cities and summarize its geology and likely construction problems for (a) urban housing development.6 Locate the mo~t recent USDA or CDA agricultural soil map or soil survey for your home county or district.. formerly the Bulletin of the Association of Engineering Geologists. . occasionally publishes articles as part of its "Geology of Cities" series. if any. Explain why you selected those earthquakes. Determine from this reference as much geologic and geotechnical information as you can. ' ~' . scientists. '·· . How is this likely to useful in practice?.possible geotechnical problenis likely. which describes the geology of the major cities of the world.2 Use the web to find the USGS or GSC topographic niap that contains your u~iv~rsity or home-town location. and prepare a list of what you find. comment on how this information would be useful for various types of construction.11 The mission of the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) is to determine rapidly the location and size of all destructive earthquakes worldwide and to immediately' disseminate this information to concerned national and international agencies. (c) construction of a major wastewater treatment plant.11. indicate (a) which earthquake you would expect to have produced the strongest ground shaking (on land). •· ily locate the same map. ' 3. · ·. global seismic database on earthquake parameters and their effects. Select one of the references and explore the use of API in determining soil types through landform identification. Does the report give any useful engineering information? If so. 3. For each process. .. The NEIC/WDC for Seismology compiles and maintains an extensive. to occur in your area during the constrilction of (a) sewer lines.13 Name the appropriate landform or soil feature: (a) where fish keep their money' (b) where you go for a drink (c) something a tailor uses . associated with each. 3. .8 Review the geologic processes described in this chapter. Kramer. (b) important soils or rock types produced. and (b) which one you would expect to have produced the greatest financial loss. what is the name of that agency? Find some well logs near your home and report the information. · Prepare a list of websites and links related to geotechnical engineering. (d) Find a copy of Woods.7 The journal Environmenal & Engineering Geos~ience. 3. (After S.usgs. and (c) so far this year.12 For the the earthquakes you located in Problem 3.

~hat would you do (without importing any soil from elsewhere)? · · · · · · · · · E~gin~ers have made artificial cut-offs (see Fig.17 Geology. Landforms.17 3. will serve as temporary storage of rainwater from storm sewers before the water flows into the wastewater treatment plant.15 3. What major considerations regarding the geotechnical performance of the loess do you have . give two reasons why· the St.16 3. one often finds synclinal ridges and anti' ' · · clinal valleys. and the Origin of Geomaterials (e) what you might use when it's hot (t) what you use for catching fish (g) . Lawrence ends in an almost unsediment<i:d estuary whereas the Colorado has been building a huge delta for thousands of years.120 Chapter 3 3. Considering the nature of meandering streams. Neverthel~ss. P3. The St.18 A rainwater catch basin is to be built in loess terrain. which will be asphalt lined. The basin. Lawrence River carries much more water to the sea thim the Colorado River.part of a house (h) ·where Mr.to make: (a) during the construction of the basin? (b) during operation of the basin? . Spock ("Live long and prosped")comes from · (i) what tool a mechanic uses (this is a real stretch). ' Anti61inesare upfolds a~d syncline~ are dowrifolds. Using your knowledge of delta deposition.17) in the lower Mississippi River and other meandering rivers.14 3.' · If you were a ~onservation engineer and had to d~sign a plan for making soil form as quickly as possible on a fresh broken rock rubble left by construction or mining operations. Explai~ how each of these could be formed. can you suggest reasons for undertaking these projects? FIGURE P3.

. What characteristics of topography or till composition would you use to distinguish it from a ground moraine on the one hand.----_______________________________ --------. 3. P3. the beds dip into the hill [Fig.---. At one site..--_--:-~_-_---_- .:.19 3.:-_:_-:-_. Which do Y.-:--..: .-~-----------. other words.. .. Given what you know about their geologic origin. ..Problems (a) 121 (b) FIGURE P3.22 You are assigned to perform a site investigation of a terminal moraine.. : · ---..20 Predict the probable sequence of events that would follow the building of a dam on a river that has an ample supply of sediment and.-----.24. and outwash on the other? How might you distinguish it from an esker? 3.-. . the beds dip parallel to the slope [Fig.: .23 What.ou prefer and why? What precautions will you take to ensure that the slope will not become unstable? 3. if any. has achieved an equilibria~ concave-upward shape.-·-. both underlain by a weak shale. _ . differences do you expect to find in the topography and soils of kames versus kame terraces? In .19 You have a choice between two building sites on a natural slope.19(a)]. as shown in Fig. at the other.. how might their deposition modes affect their characteristics? 3..19(b)J. 3.-·--. . . P3.24 ·A fjord basin typically has a characteristic rise or sill at its mouth.__--~~. ------------------------------.. explain how such a sill develops. prior to the dam installation..·.-_ .-:_-_-_-Fiord. .21 Why do dune sands tend to vary so little in grain size? Why are they generally free of clay? 3.

2. fo.:and how they interact with water as well as with-each other.:e special soil deposits that are of interest to geotechnical engineers. we described 'the origin of geomaterials and the landforms where those materials are commonly found. macrostructure. The mechanical disintegration of rocks by physical weathering tends to produce 122 .. how those minerals are-identified. We mentioned that weathering' of. Soil and Rock Structures. and Rock C:lass. we also briefly discuss soil profiles and hol'izons. Three new symbols are introduced in thischapter.1) Maximum void ratio Minimum void ratio PRODUCTS OF WEATHERING · In Sec.. Weathering produces all types of soils (called residual soils or residuum).E R 4 Clay Minerals. 3. We also describe some of the iatest thinkiiigabo~t soil fab~ic aiidstructlire_:concepts fundamental to a good understanding of the_behavio_r_of both fine~ grained ~al'Id gr~:milarsoils. In this chapter. we briefly describe the products of weathering and the important clay minerals that result.. ' ' ' : .3. and transitional or intermediate geomaierials ._-In this chapte_r.Eq.} ·:} "::.2 ' Unit < • ' • - ' Definition Activity. rocks and other geologic processes results in certain rock structures and discontinuities as well as a wide variety of different soil types.~ 4>1' INTRODUCTION .' <' Symbol Dimension· A em ax emin 4. or biological processes.' C H ·A P T.:_ thos~. f In Chapter 3. and classification of rock masses. we defined weathering as the alteration of the composition or structure or' rocks because of physical. ___ --.< ·:. chemical.-· ' ·. som. materials that are neit}ler -soii nor hard rock~ We conclude with a discussion of the properties.< ·~. (4.ltication- ·.

In fact. another example of a very fine-grained cohesionless s~il. an importimt constituent offine-grained soils. = 4. As we show in the next section. consisting of four oxy. Chemical weathering. are invisible to the naked eye. the behavior of the soil is increasingly goveriied by the properties -of the clay. such-as the' grain size distribution and the grain shape. ' ' . A common schematic representation of the tetrahedral sheet is shown in Fig. has relatively little effect. Thus the presence. Their individual grains. and hardens when dried. . Chemically. 2. For example. or gravels) are essentially floating in a clay matrix and have little effect on th(!. the coarser grains (silts. 2. and even silts. they are hydrous aluminum silicates plus other metallic ions. Another characteristic of clay soils is that water markedly affects their behavior. When the clay content is about 25% to 35%. and drain. · .which all the oxygens at the base of each tetrahedron are in one plane and the apexes of the tetrahedra all point in the same direction.. particular ways in which these sheets are · stacked together. . generally crystalline particles that are very active electrochemically. In contrast. the hydrolysis of feldspar and mica (biotite) !llinerals in granitic rocks produces the Clay mineral kaolinite. Jhe. This might be a good time to go back to Sec. sands.3. • . as Hatheway (2000) has noted.andean be seen only with an electron microscope.1(d)] illustrates how.4 and quickly review the discussion on the influence of water on the behavior of soils. and they belong to the class of minerals called phyllosilicates. . As the amount of clay increases. and from X-ray ·.. Figure 4. certain characteristics of granular soils. but the grain size distributionhasrelatively little influence. the various clay minerals. __ In Sec. sands. s_oil's engineering behavjor. conditions. Clay minerals are discussed in detail in Sec.3 CLAY MINERALS Clay minerals are crystalline substances produced by chemical ~eathering of certain rock-forming · _ minerals. tends to produce various types of clay minerals. and their strengths.:yet they have little or no plasticity (PI like those of sands. like those of clays. . Water affects 0). day minerals are-very sinall. But. 4.3 -Clay Minerals 123 coarser-grained soils. the tetrahedral . . in civil engineering.. ranging in size from boulders and cobbles down to gravel. You may recall from Sec: 2. gen atoms atthe corners.4.4. Their crystals are colloidal sized (diameter less than 1 11-m) ·. and may lead to serious misunderstandings. A top view of the tetrahedral (silica) sheet [Fig. strongly affect their engineering behavior.1(b) shows how the . their behavior-'-' they are dilatant--. They look like tiny plates or flakes.diffraction studies mineralologists have determined that these flakes consist of many crystal sheets that have a repeating atomic structure. but silts an. but'the presence of water. . Rock flour is. . surrounding a single silicon atom [Fig. we mentioned that the term clay may refer both to a type of s"oil and to specific clay minerals. · oxygen atoms at the base of each tetrahedron are combined to form a sheet structure in . Usually. 4. · . is "cohesive" and has plasticity at appropriate water contents. when we say "clay" we mean a soil that contains some clay minerals along with other mineral constituents. The tetrahedral sheet is basically a combination of silica tetrahedral units. · or silica sheet and the octahedral' or alumina sheet. climatic. 4. noncohesive and nonplastic. on the other hand.of even <l small amount of clay minerals can markedly affect the engineering properties of a soil mass.1(a)].4 that silts are both granular and fine grained.1( c). the oxygen atoms at the base of each tetrahedron belong to two tetrahedrons and how adjacent silicon· atoms are bonded. are essentially independent of water content. characterize . using the word "clay" without a qualifier or modifier is ambiguous and confusing.age · ·_ '. 4. Other types of clay minerals are produced from various rock-forming minerals that are subjected to different chemical. with different bonding and different metallic ions in the crystal lattice. there are only two fundamental crystal sheets. with a few important exceptions. Note the ·h~xagonal "holes" in the sheet.

iron. different crystalline structure with slightly different physical properties and a differe'nt clay mineral. Figure 4. Since the substituted ions are approximately the same physical size. . also indicates bonds from . .i· . 1959). . while Fig. .2(c) is a schematic representation of the octahedral sheet. . tetrahedral and octahedral. 1961). .2(a). . The rows of oxygens or hydroxyls in the sheet are in two planes. If magnesium is substituted for the aluminum and it fills all the cation positions.•' .. Outline of bases of silica tetrahedra. if all the anions of the octahedral 'sheet are hydroxyls and two-thirds of the cation positions are filled with aluminum. For a top view of the octahedral sheet. Clay Minerals. then the mineral is called gibbsite.. Soil and Rock Structures.. (c) Schematic representation of the silica sheet (after Lambe. 4.2(b).the mineral is called brucite. this substitution is called isomorphous. dimensional). 1953).1 (a) Single silica tetrahedron (after Grim.. . and Rock Classification . ' together in certain unique ways and have certain cations present. For engineering purposes it is usually sufficient to describe only a few of the more common clay minerals found in clay soils.". magnesium. The octahedral sheet is basically a combination· of octahedral units consisting of six oxygens or hydroxyls enclosing an aluminum. (b) Isometric view of the tetrahedral or silica sheet (after Grim._ . The:variations in the basic sheet structures make up the dozens of clay minerals that have been identified.• Substitution of different cations in the octahedral sheet is quite common and results in different clay minerals.2( d) . ") All clay minerals consist of the two basic ._ = Oxygens · 1: } ·i· ·o and e = Silicons:. ~ .124 Chapter 4 :. .' i: ' . ' For example. . (d) FIGURE 4. . or other metallic atom: A single octahedron is shown in Fig. 4. (a) 0 and . .oxygens in lower plane (fourth bond from each silicon is perpendicular to plane of paper) · · · '' · · · · : ) ~ . (b) . (d) Top view of the silica sheet (after Warshaw and Roy.. which results in a somewhat ·. that are stacked . see Fig. 4. showing how the different atoms are shared and bonded.. Sometimes not all the octahedrons contain a cation. silicons to.shows how the'octahedrons combine to form a sheet structure. Outline of hexagonal silica network (two . · -·. then. 1959).sheets.' 0: :: ·Oxygens in plane above silicons silicons · • i 'f· @ ·: · •· · Oxygens linked to form network .

~ ~ ·.-are shared and form asingle 1:1 layer.--:: thus they are called 1:1 clay minerals (Fig. 1953). The minerals in I AI I this group consist of repeating lay~rs or stacks of one tetrahedral J---i. ----.. 1961): 4.Figure 4. (would be filled in brucite layer) © Hydroxyls in lower plane Outline of those faces of .. (b) Isometric view of the octahedral sheet (after Grim.. and 8 / L-:-. as shown in Fig.::S=i=·=·=======::::. consists of a stack L.vacant octahedra parallel to lower plane of hydroxyls Bonds from aluminums to .... (d) Top_view of the octahedral sheet (after Warshaw and Roy.::. A kaolinite crystal. I I ·I I :E .:::============·::. 4. .5 is a scanning el<~ctron micrograph (SEM) of kaolinite.72 nm thick arid extends indefinitely in the /1-•-S-i_____. of several layers of the basic 0... crystal.. A typical kaolin cryst~l can be 70 to 100 layers thick. The sheets are AI held together i~ such a way that the oxygen atoms at the tips of / \ 0:72 n_ m. ·' .3). tQl Hydroxyls in upper plane • Aluminums 0 Vacant octah~dral positions . -~:====~===~. of which kaolinite is the most important. magnesiums. the silica sheet and one layer of oxygens of the octahedral sheet · L. This AI basic layer is about 0. 1953).72-nm layer. then.. 1959).hydroxyls (6 from each aluminum) · (d) FIGURE 4..3 (a) 0 (b) and () = Hydroxyls or oxygens e Clay Minerals 125 (c) Aluminums. it prevents hydration and allows the layers to stack up to make a rather large FIGURE 4.3 Schematic diagram ·.. 4.alumina octahedra· parallel to lower plane of hydroxyls Outline of those faces of •. (c) Schematic representation of the octahedral or alumina (or magnesia) sheet (after Lambe._-\ <?ther two directions. Successive layers of ' c: T J . of the structure of kaolinite (after Lambe. 1959).--.3. etc..\ \ (silica) sheet and one octahedral (alumina or gibbsite) sheet.4.__. Since the hydrogen bond is very strong.2 (a) Single aluminum (or magnesium) octahedron (after Grim.4.1 The 1:1 Clay Minerals The kaolinite-serpentine 'group confain's at least 13 diff~rent minerals.the basic layer are held tog~ther by hydrogen bonds between the : hydroxyls of the octahedral sheet and the oxygens of the tetrahe1 dral sheet.

126 Chapter4 Clay Minerals. They differ from kaolinite i~ that when they forffi. paint. a condition common in areas with volcanic parent materials and high'rainfall (Mitchell imd so'ga. :. Soil and Rock Structures.· For. Kaolinite results from the w~athering (hydrolysis and acid leaching) of feldspa~ and mica (biotite) . and the.6). example. 2005). 1959). and pharmaceutical industries. Kaolinite is the primary constituent of china clay. The lengthofthe light bar' is 5 J. alumina is abundant and silica is scarce. It also is supposed to have health and curative benefits. and Fe cations. that the tubes unroll and so ~1 I J . distortingthe crystal lattice so that the mineral has a tubular shape (Fig.4 .·The water can easily be driven out by h~ating or even air drying. pH and concentration of electrolytes are relatively low. · Another 1:1 mineral that is occasionally iniportant·in practice is halloysite.5 Scanning electron : micrograph of a well-crystallized · kaolinite from Georgia. In these areas. Holtz). they somehow become hydrated between layers. D. 4.' FIGURE 4. and in fact the name kaolin comes from a hill in Jiangsi Province of China called "Kao-ling" which means "high peak" or "high hill. Halloysites are formed by the leaching of feldspar by sulfuric acid.Lm (photograph by R.. eOSilicons FIGURE 4.·Atomic structure of kaolinite (after Grim. in granitic rocks. According to Mitchell and Soga' (2005)." Kaolinite is also used • • in the paper. Ca. tively high precipitation but good drainage that enables the leaching of Mg. as a pharmaceutical it is used in Kaapectateand Rolaids. and Rock Classification 0 Oxygens @ Hydroxyls · • Aluminums . . kaolinites tend to develop in areas having rela.

In all cases these minerals are ~om posed of two tetrah. kaolinit~. and its most important arid very common member is montmorillonite (named after the village in France. biotite and muscovite. look like ordinary proce1s is halloysite will not rehydmte and form into rolls if · · water is added later.or'oven-dried samples can give markedly different results than tests on samples at theirnatural water content. of the structure of montmorillonite (after Lambe. 4.2 The 2:1 Clay Minerals The 2:1 minerals are a large group.: 4.3 ' Clay Minerals 127 FIGURE 4. · .7).3.7 Schematic diagram . Scanning electron micrograph of halloysite from Colorado. I I I .This characteristic occasionally has import~nt consequences in civil engineering practice. ~ nH 20 layers and· exchangeable cations ~.edralor silica sheets arid one octahedral or alumina (gibbsite) sheet in between (Fig.. probably the best-known members of this group are talc and the two micas.6 . more than 40 have been identified. In addition to the clay minerals.. Classification and compa. There are three 2:1 subgroup~ that include fairly to very common clay minerals with important ·engineering· characteristics. . it is ve~ important fo~ ..valid results that laboratory t~sts be carried out at the field water contents. One 2:1 subgroup is the smectites. I I ! FIGURE 4. . o: Holtz).1he· - . 4. The length of the \light bar is 5 ~m (photograph by R.If the soil will not be dried in the field. t irreversibl~.ction test~ (see Chapter 5) on air. 1953).

Montmorillon. 4. The bonding (by van der Waals' forces) between the tops of the silica sheets is weak (compared. and there is a net negative charge deficiency in the octahedral sheet.8. where the mineral was first discovered).8 Atomic structure of montmorillonite (after Grim. . iron. the tips of the tetrahedra share oxygens and hydroxyls with the octahedral sheet to form a single layer. to the hydrogen bonds in kaolinite). 4. for example.128 Chapter 4 Clay Minerals. yet they have a very strong attraction for water.9). 1959). occasionally aluminum FIGURE 4. Water and exchangeable ions can readily enter and separate the basic layers. 4.96 nm. thickness of each 2:Uayer is about 0.7:Thus. In montmorillonite. magnesium 0 and e Silicon. as shown in Fig. and the swelling pressures developed can easily damage light structures and highway. pavements. as shown schematically in Fig. Soil and Rock Structures.montmorillonite crystals can be very small (Fig. and Rock Classification Q Oxygens @ Hydroxyls • Aluminum. The . Soils containing montmorillonite are very susceptible to swelling as their water content changes (increases). and as in kaolinite the layers extend indefinitelyin the other two directions.

Bentonite is produced by the chemical alteration of volcanic ash.1(d)]? The diameter of this "hole" is almost exactly that of a potassium atom.other fairly common 2:1 mineral similar to montmorillonite except that it has ··· · only two interlayers of water.9 Scanning electron micrograph of Na-montmorillonite from Wyoming.·. Figure 4. .11 is a SEM of illite~ Conditions for forming illites are similar to those for smectites. which removes the interiayer water. ·' . is another . it is used in geotechnical practice as a drilling fluid or "mud" to stabilize boreholes and slurry trenches. 4. and it has many important industrial and pharmaceutical applications. alumina sheet. ' ' ' 4.4.. It also has a 2:1 structure like that of montmorillonite. Bentonite (montmorillonite) is also the primary constituent in kitty litter.other micas. there is some isomorphous substitution of aluminum for silicon in the silica sheet. Basic igneous rocks such as gabbro and basalt and volcanic ash can produce smectitesin arid or semi-arid areas where evaporation exceeds precipitation and there is poor leaching. to seal boreholes. In addition. smectites tend to form where silica is abundant.. it rather strongly bonds the layers together (Fig. contain significant amounts of montmorillonite. According to Mitchell and Soga (2005).. they are particularly common in the glacio-lacustrine clay deposits in the central North American continent and in the clays found •: · ·· · · under' coal beds in that same area. . ' :. Chlorite consists of repeating layers of a silica sheet.3. The length of the light bar is 5 J. important constituent of clayey soils. Remember the hexagonal hole in the silica sheet [Fig.12). "expa~ded" vermiculite inakes an excellent insulation materiaL . D.3 Ot~er Clay Minerals· "'>•F' . except that potassium must be abundantly present.group containing .• Chlorite is another common mineral found in clay soils. discovered and named by Professor R. the pH and electrolyte cmitenfare high. and where there are more Mg++ and ca++ than Na+ and K+ ions. It is even used in chocolate bars! • · Illite. when compacted clay liners are used in modern landfill construction. and other smectite minerals. another silica. E.· ' · . but its interlayers are bonded together with a potassium ion. several separate minerals. . .. thus they are chemically much more active' thari the . For example. natural clays are often modified with bentonite to reduce their hydraulic conductivity (Chapter 7). an. Parent materials often include igneous and metamorphic rocks rich in mica.I·. although technically it is a.Lm (photograph by R. Clay Minerals 129 FIGURE 4. so that when the K+ atom just fills the hexagonal hole. ·· . Verinicitlite is an. Grim of the University of Illinois. 4:10). Bentonite is a common name for clays and soft rocks that. Because of its swelling characteristics. Illites are a very common constituent of clay soils._' . and to reduce the flow rates through porous soils. · · . and then either a gibbsite (A1++:-) or brucite (Mg++) sheet (Fig. Holtz).It could be called . . Illites have a crystal structure similar to that of the mica minerals but with less pot~ssium and less isomorphous substitution. 43 .. After it is dried at high temperature.

illite frorl'! Fithian.11 . which means it has no regular crystalline structure.10 I ! '. .130 Chapter. '' Scanning electron micrograph of.. FIGURE 4. and Rock Classification Si - AI. thus they may be susceptible to swelling because water · can enter between the sheets.:::.un' (photograph by · · R.:: K ---'<-:::':: Si AI -Si I K -"-:::-:: Si . Chlorites are often present in metamorphic · rocks and iri soils formed from such rocks. clay minerals are numerous.4 Clay Minerals. however.. Because allophane is a phyllosilicate. it is amorphous to X~niys. mont. Generally.or rodlike appearance (Fig: 4.l.! '. - Si ____. a~2:1:1 mineral.J: AI Si ~ Schematic diagram · of illite (after Lambe.. Hol7z).. chloriteis significantly less active than montmoril.> .· '. minerals have considerable isomorphous substitution and are . lon~te a~d illite. interlayer water.chlorite.. However. A few of them are interesting to engineers. chlorite. they inClude. The length of the light .. D. As mentioned above.. it is often classified as a day mirieral. Some of the.13): Mixed-layer minerals are relatively common..·presence of sufficient Mg++ to form the brucite interlayer. · · · · FIGURE 4. and exchangeable cations.. Attapulgite has a chain rather than a sheet structure. and they have virtually every conceivable combination of substituted ions..·missing an occasional brucite or gibbsite layer.'' . .' 1953). bar is 5 f. . Soil and Rock Structures. consequently it has a needle.. ' · . . According to Mitchell and Saga (2005). · Illinois. forms liy the alteration of smectite in the .. . inorillonite mixed with chlorite or illite. for example. I.

. thus other means must be employed~ From your engineering materials courses. crystalline. their-identificati~n by the usual optical mineralogical tech-. and in fact these patterns were used to :identify the minerals in the first place...Lm : . .· Some allopliari:es have rod. however. Different minerals with· different.5 J.13 Scanning electron :micrograph of aitapulgite from ·Florida. and it i~· relatively simple to compare the diffraction pattern of your unknown with those of know~ ~inerals.' FIGURE 4. Problems ar!se. and soils with mixed-layer minerals. with soils that are mixtures of clay minerals. . that may make them difficult to compact or stabilize (Sergei Terzaghi.·· · · · ' . you may remember that materials ~ith regular or repeating patterns 'cifcrystal structure will diffract X-rays. (photograph by R..4.. of chlorite (after 'Mitchell and . .. Saga..that one can tell is which minerals are present and roughly how much of each. The patterns for the common minerals an! published. 2005}.. '. IDENTIFICATION OF CLAY MINERALS AND ACTIViTY Since the clay minerals are so very small.4 . niques used in geology is not possible. · .. 2005): f-~ 4. structures will have different X-ray diffraction patterns. The length of the space betweeri'the bars of light is 0. soils that contain 'organics and other nonclay mineral constituents.·. needle~shaped particles.or. " . · • . Holtz}. personal communication.12:' Schematic diagram .4 ·Identification of Clay Minerals and Activity 131 " . D. . · Under specialized conditions ofweathe~i~~ (es~~cially of soils of volCanic origin).. Gibbsite or brucite FIGURE 4. Usually a detailed quantitative analysis is impossible""'about all . l:r "' ' ' . it Il1~Y be a locally important constituent of day soils.: . ..

at least from an engineering point of view. FIGURE 4. ·Clay Minerals. A specimen of the unknown soil along with an inert control substance is heated in an electric furnace at a constant rate to several hundred degrees. Scandinavian marine clays are illitic and they also plot in this region. Although it is possible to recognize certain clay minerals in micr~graphs obtained from both transmission and scanning electron micro. and data in Mitchell and Soga. a sandy clay-and it still plots near the U-line. Kaolinites. Even if the soil is classified as a CL-for example.. the process is neither easy nor quantitative. as the more sophisticated X-ray diffraction and DTA-TGA analyses.132 Chapter A: . Because water losses and phase changes occur at certain unique temperatures for specific clay minerals. can also tell you just about as much. Often both DTA and TGA are conducted in tandem. The glacial lake clays from around the Great Lakes region in the United States and Canada are mostly illitic and they plot right above the A-line. Chapter 3) for detailed additionalinformation on the identification of clay minerals.to identify clay minerals is differential thermal analysis (DTA). then compare its location with those of known minerals. Even though they are technically clays. they behave in an engineering sense like ML-MH materials. then the clay portion of the soil is predominantly montmoril-. which are relatively inactive minerals. In a similar process called thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) the loss in mass of the specimen that occurs during heating is measured. If your sample's Atterberg limits plot high above the A-line near the U-line. plot right below the A-line. and the temperature difference between the specimen and the inert substance is measured. See Mitchell and Soga (2005. 4.scopy. the record of these changes may be compared with those of known minerals. suggested by Professor Casagrande.14.· Location of common clay minerals on Casagrande's plasticity chart' (developed from Casagrande. lonite. and Rock Classification Another technique sometimes used . 2005). The procedure is shown in Fig. You simply locate the Atterberg limits of your soil specimen on Casagrande's plasticity chart.14. . chances are it contains a lot of active clay minerals such as montmorillonite. Soil and Rock Structures. 1948. A simple approach.

' · . . ·.m on a side. ' ' ·•.p.. especially for inactive and highly active days. ·1cm · · . 4..1) where the clay fraction is usually takeh as the pe~cent~ge by weight of the soilless than 2 p.-.1. However. ·.1'-·· TABLE 4. The physical sigu'ificance of ~pecificsurface can be demonstrated using a cube 1.2·· 0.1· Activities of Various Minerals .2) •. . ..25are active clays.5~ 0. . Ca-montmorillonite 4-7 1. 5 '~ J 6(1.·.<A'<:: 1.---:. specific surface = ... The ratio of the surface area of a material to either its mass or volume is called the specific surface.m3 = 6/p. ..4.\.• ··. . = 6/mm 3 . as shown in Table'4.2 0· · After Skempton (1953) and Mitchell and Soga (2005). Mineral.. .6/mm · · ·· · ·. '• ••• · . Activity has also been 'used for certain classification and engineering property correlations... .5-1.' ''-' ' "' ' ' ''>:'. X 1 ·X 1 em: . the speCific surface would be ) J ' .. . the Atterberg lirrtits alone are usually sufficient for these purposes. .·: . and those with A > 1.-.. 1 :: i ' ·.5 SPECIFIC SURFACE . ..3-0. : · ....2 '0. . Specific Surface 133 Skempton (1953) defined the activity of a clay as . . Mica (muscovite)· Calcite 'Quartz · 0. ·. • .· sp~cific 'surf~ce = surf~ce' area/unit v~lume (4.m = 6000/ni~..75.5 ~0.25) are classified as· "normaP'. Clays that hirve an aCtivity around 1 (0..and the activity provides no'significant new information.5 ~·---:-::----. .-::. . 6(1 ~m2 ) .75 are · ' · · inactive clays. . Activity· Na-monimorillonite · .·· •·.. J..5-L2 0.-------~·· _Kaolinite Halloysite (dehydrated) Halloysite (hydrated) Attapulgite Allophane . . . of ' . •.: If the cube is l p.--.m2) . PI = clay frl). the specific surface would be '!' 6(1 mm2 ) · • -. · : · p.. In terms· of volume· t \..m.. The~e is a fair to good correlation between the activity and the' type clay mineral. .5 .--.. soils with :A < 0. y '.1 0.= 6/cni ~ 0..If the cube is 1 mm on a side. 3 ... 1~m .__f .c~ion ·' · (4. .

h~s a thick~ess edge dimen'sion or' roughly 1 ~m. The variation of water content gives rise to plasticity. :· I For the reasons described below. and all else being equal. the smallest clay mineral. A given amount of soil made up of m~my small particles. you might expect them also to have very active surfaces. Grain size distribution only rarely governs the behavior of fine-grained soils. Kaolinite. Look again at the'activity values in Table 4. the surface activity of a sand or silt grain is extremely low. from this concept. ' 4. you just divide the value in terms of volume by the mass density Ps. variations in the sizes of the crystals. surfaces of four common clay minerals are. and this is the physical-chemical basis for the interaction between water. For example. for example.1. . the larger the specific surface. To obtain the specific surface in terms of mass. The interaction or'these force fields leads to various associations or arrangements of soil particles that we call the structure of clay soils. .would have on 'average a larger specific surface than that same amount made up of large particles. in energy terms. the largest clay mineral crystal. ' . you know that the smaller the particle. Clay minerals. fine-grained soils." at least within a~ order of magnitude. is much more active than kaolinite. · · Now let us add just enough water to thinly coat the surface area of each cube in the above examples. specific ~urface. Why is water important in fine-grained soils? From the previous discussion. On the other hand.than small particles. 1986).6 INTERACTION BETWEEN WATER AND CLAY MINERALS As mentioned earlier. Or. and activity of clay' minerals all relate rather well.. . . For example. Of course. However.and thus smaller specific surfaces.: :. we would expect larger wate~ contents for fine-grained soils than for coarse-grained soils. depending on weathering and other factors. Because so many physical processes involving clay and other layer silicate minerals are closely related to their surface area.134 Chapter 4 Clay Minerals. is only a few nanometres. there would be ten times as much to remove from the surfaces of the smaller cubes than those of the hirg~r ones. shown in Table 4. The dimensions and specific. are strongly influenced by the presence of water. Since the crystals have roughly the same ~verage "diameter. You may recall from your materials courses that specific surface is a primary factor in concrete and asphalt mix design. Soil and Rock Structures. An important exception is the case of loose deposits of saturated sand subjected to dynamic loads such as earthquakes or blasts. or j . soil scientists and other Hungarians have developed test procedures to measure the specific surface (Carteret al. in geotechnical engineering. if we. it would take ten times as much energy to . you can see why montmorillonite. especially clay soils. _·. it is not surprising that their specific surfaces are so different. and the Atterberg limits are an indication of this influence. · . have large specific surfaces. · remoVe the water from the smaller cubes than from' the linger ones. · By analogy.. while that of montmorillonite. whether cubes or soil. water usually has little effect on the behavior of granular soils. the size. there are rather wide. we generally do not need to know a numerical value of the specific surface of a soil-it is the concept that is impor~ tant. Since surface activity is related to the particle size. and Table 4. the specific surface of a soil is inversely 'proportibnal 'to its grain 'size. and clay minerals. In fact. note that they also roughly relate to mineral size and specific surface::Similarly. Note that it will take te'n times as much water to wet the surfaces of all the cubes when they are 1 mm on a side than when the same volume is. ·' . dissolved ions. were trying to remove water. because in both cases it is necessary to provide sufficient cement paste or asphalt to coat the aggregate surfaces.2 gives only average values. being relatively small particles. :. the · shear strength of a sand is approximately the same whether it is dry 'or saturated. unbalanced force fields exist at the surfaces of the clay minerals.' '. all other things such as void ratio and soil structure being equal. units would then be m2/g or m2/kg. which ultimately controls their engineering behavior. and Rock Classification These three examples illustrate that large particles.2. occupied by a single cube of 1 cm3• Also. have· smaller surface areas per unit of volume.

van . ... cations also contribute to the attraction of water to the clay surface. · · .. It seems that.nature are almost always hydrated. within the adsorbed water. pH. 3 30 30 50-2000 Specific sui-face (kni2/kg) 0. . and anion absorption on 1953). .1 . These two components-the . Thus the water molecule is electostatically attracted to the surface of the clay crystal. ' .Olphen : (1977). Yang and . and Cation Exchange Capacity of the Clay Mineral Montmorillonite Illite Chlorite Kaolinite Typical Thickness (nm) · Typical Diameter (nm) '. the diffuse double liiyer. Mitchell and Saga i FIGURE 4.16 shows 'schematically sodium montmorillonite and kaolinite crystals with layers of adso~bed water. · .065-0. it seems that clay particles in . -· . :The attraction of water to the chiy surface is very strong near the surface a~d diminishes with distance. 4~17' also . the negatively charged clay surface attracts cations present in the water. shown schematically iii Fig. . it has two separate centers of charge. 2005). layers of water molecules' surround each crystal of clay.. that are. among others. 1975. Third. of a water molecule (after Lambe. water is held to the clay crystal by hydrogen bonding (hydrogen of the water is attracted to the oxygen atoms or hydrox)rl molecules on the surface of the clay). . it is not surprising that montmorillonite has much greater activity. Measurements show that the density and some thermodynamic and electrical properties of the water next to the clay surface are different from.inCludes anions'. Second.6. 4. After Yong and Warkentin (1975) and Mitchell and Sog~ (200S)~. They also discuss the. but because of the size differences.. dielectric constant of the pore fluid.1 Hydration of Clay Minerals and the Diffuse Double Layer As noted by Yang and Warkentin (i975).and.6.· _centration of the electrolyte. · · · . double layer. But this diffusion is counterbalanced by '' ilie ekct~ical attraction of tli~ positively charged cations to the negatively charged clay crystal surfaces.and the diffuse layer of ca~ions-.-. and larger volume change due to loading than kaolinite.-together form · .influence of such factors as the con: · . . ionic size. hydrogen bonding is probablytlie'most important. of course. .7-0.15). . Mitchell and Saga. Note that the thickness of the adsorbed water is approximately the same. that is..' depending on the ion.6 Interaction Between Water and Clay Minerals TABLE 4.2 Typical Dimensions. Becimse the cations in the adsorbed water layers are more concentrated near the surfaces of clay crystals. 4. higher plasticity. temperature.those of "free water" (Yang and Warkentin.. 0. greater'swelling.the water molecules right at the surface are very tightly held ·and strongly oriented. This water. cation valence. How is water adsorbed on the surface of a clay particle? First. 80-150 '10-40 10-40 2-15 "Defined in Sec. more shrinkage. repelled ' from the negative forcefield of the clay crystal: . is called adsorbed water. ' .. Specific S~rfaces. you may recall f~om chemistry or materials courses that water is a dipolar molecule (Fig. they thermally diffuse away from the surfaces in an attempt to equalize cation concentrations .2. . one positive and one negative. The diffuse.84 0. · _· · · .· 4. Since all cations are hydrated to some extent. Even though water is electrically neutral.08 135 C~m~~n Clay Minerals C~tion Exchange Capacity" (meq/100 g) . .• The development and the mathematical equations describing · the 'diffus~ double layer a~e given: by.15 Schematic diagram · (2005). . \Varkentin (1975). clay particle surface. Whatdoes a clay particle look like with adsorbed water on it? Figure 4. Of these three factors. . 4. .

. men.G) G) G) r:L\ I.) G) . Thediffu~e double layer isan important concept for understanding the behav•ior of clay-water-electrolyte systems. Since the crystal wants ' 4.±. it helps to explain clay properties such as plasticity... · · · · . ·. ' 1 . .±.. and Soga. o (. Exchange ·-· .17 . : . Exchangeable Cations Capacity {CEC) ' . al . 1958a).. Diffuse double layer in a clay-water system showing schematically.2. 2905). ( ' ' . . - Q) g.next to the clay crystal surface (Mitchell. and Rock Classification ~~ Adsorbedwater Montmorillonite crystal (100 x 1 nmr· . . . .:.16 Relative sizes of adsorbed water layers on sodium. r:L\ . . . 1<±) G) lG)<±> G) I I .·. G)-G) G) l G) <±)<±)G) l<±><±> G) G) 1<±) I I I I eE 0 ·<±> fDG) G) G) I II~. G) ' • 1er::j:###BOT_TEXT### '+'e ~ I.6. . and imperfections in the crystal lattice.. and.±.) ~l<±><±> cJ '- 0 ..· .the distribution of ions . "Broken" edges contribute greatly to unsatisfied valence charges at the edges of the crystal. G) I+ G) G) . c:· G) G) G) I ·Distance FIGURE 4. swelling. • and the interaction of clay particles.tioned earlier.· The negative charge at the surface of the clay crystal results from both isomorphous substitution. l·t the diffuse double layer. Clay Minerals.136 Chapter 4.1 "t:l \:V \. Soil and Rock Structures. montmorillonite and sodium kaolinite (after Lambe. FIGURE 4. and Cation . · . G) G) le-ee·ee ' l G) G) <±)_ . · . especially near the mineral surfaces.

_ · Sulfate. the Weight Of an element divided by itS atomiC Weight. and Jt equals 6. · capacity (IEC). 1 . Cation exchange or replacement is further complicated bythe presence oforganic matter. fits into the hexagonal holes in the silica sheet. who prop~sed that equal volumes of all gases contain the same number of molecules at the same pressure and temperature (Fox-and Hi11.electron charges. The number Of equivalentS. then6 X l0 sodium ions can 21 ' be replaced. the predominant exchangeable cations in marine clays are sodium and magnesium. Different clays have different charge deficiencies and thus different tendencies. : : .·· ·• ' ·-·. _. phosphate. A' CEC of 10 meq/100 g means that each 100 g of clay solids is able to exchang~ Hi X 16:_3 ' X 6 x 1023 -~ 6 x 1021 1 21 . a' third ~ource of cation exchange capacity is replacement. an Italian mathematician.im ions can be replaced pe~ 100 g of clay · (Le~mirds. 1962. ' The amount of exchangeable cations can be determined analytically or exp'erimentally (Yang and Warkentin.As might be expected from their relative sizes and specific surfaces. in equation form:.' i. 2005). 96'500 coulombs = 1 faraday (Leonards. The cation exchange capacity (CEC) of the clay is usually expressed in units of milliequivalents (meq) per 100 g of dry clay. to attract the exchangeable cations. • • ' ·.02X 1023 electrori charges= . Mitchell and Soga.llch. the greater the replacement power. ·' ' . of the orig·inal cation.1023 charges (you may r~call that the number6. As might be expected. even though it is monovalent.'2007). then. depending on the · amount of negative charge pres~nt.< Mg++ < ca++ < cu++ < AI+++ < Fe+++ ' ~· 1 ' ' Named for Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1856).· -. van Olphen. . •.·· ··· · ' Calcium and magnesium are the predominant exchangeable cations in most soils except those of marine origin.' 4.. .· _. h (valence) · . the larger the ion.02 . Higher valence cations easily replace cations of lower valence. . and nitrate are common.)( . for example.. anions in ~oils.2. A further complication is the fact that potassium. the cation.02 X 1023 is Avocados 1 I number ). The specific order depends on the type of clay. the size of the hydrated ion becomes important. potassium and sodium exist but are less common. montmorillonitehas a much greater charge deficiency and. · · . The ease of replacement or exchange of cations depends on several factors. 1997.' such' as Ca++. then 3 X 10 c. or with two of one-half the valence. and Mitchell and Saga. So. _. 1975. > ·' ' . . Sometimes this quantity.If the exchangeable ion is rnonovalent(such as N a+). chloride.Typical values of CEC for the common Clay mineralsan:i given in Table 4. . . 1977. N~te that 6. which is also monovalent. Aluminum and hydrogen are common in acidic soils.. Fang. and the concentration of the various ions in the water. . iri general the ions are: > • ' u+ < Na+ < H+ < K+ < NHt .6 ' Interaction Between Water and Clay Minerals 137 to be electrically neutral. • • . ' . Illite and chlorite are intermediate in this respect. 1962). . of course.: _· atom~c wetg t . times its valence-or. primarily the valence of.2005). . In order of increasing replacement power from left to right._The depositional environment as well as subsequent weathering andleaching will govern what ions are present ina particular soil deposit. Thus it will be very strongly held on the claysurface. cations in the water may be strongly attracted to the clay. because these are the most common cations in seawater.'''(weight of element)• · · one equivalent •= •. . : ->:. is referred to as the base exchange capacity (BE C) or the ion exchange 1 • . For ions of the same valence. 1 . The cations cim be listed it1. If it is divalent. They are called exchangeable because one cation can easily be exchanged with one of the same valence. which ion is being replaced. a much greater attraction for exchangeable cations than kaolinite. In addition to isomorphous substitution and broken bonds· 6~ ·edges. . iS. m-3 equivalents. and it will have a greater replacement power than sodium. A millieq~ivale~t' (meq) is. what is an equivalent? An equivalent is the' number of ions or electronic charges in one mole of solution. . thus.approximate order of their replacement ability._.

The interparticle force or potential fields decrease with 'increasing distance from the c~ystal surface. • .7 ' INTERACTION OF CLAY PARTICLES :_. and other factors.' interparticle spacing. electrostatic. 4.18. Particles c~n flocculate or be repelled (disperse. Similarly. . Anion adsorption FIGURE 4. :. Th~y ~an flocculate i~ several possi. ·'! · Distance : · . because calcium has a greater replacing power than sodium. depending on local conditions and variations in concentration. van der Waals forces.. . . . . it makes possible the use of chemicals to stabilize or strengthen soils. you should consult Yong and Warkentin (1975). and Rock Classification · In some instances the specific order may differ slightly. temperature. and thus the presence of different ions. . and other types of chemical and organic bonds.138 Chapter. and Mitchell and Soga (2005) and the references therein.. • pH • . ' ble configurations. and rubidium. For additional information. The {ndividual clay particles interact through their adsorbed water hiyers. 2005): . barium. reduced by the addition of lime (Chapter 6). Valence of the ion or decreasing one or more of the following: • Dielectric constarit of the pore fluid >· ' · : • Size of the hydrat~d i~n •'. Evans. 1 ·· '·' • Concentration of the electrolyte •.4 '. Soil and Rock Structures.18 Chemical. 4. contribute to the multitude of soil structures found in natural soil deposits. 199~. thorium.. 1958a. ' . as sh~wn in Fig.' Clay Minerals.· · · '' fluid. etc. edge~ to~ face is the m'ost common. and the nature or' the bonding' forces. The tendency toward flocculation will depend on incr~asing one or more or' the following (Lambe. organic materials. different concentrations.. . Van Olphen (1977). . . . etc.'.. Replacement series may also. dielectric constant of the pore ·' ·· . potential versus distance from the clay crystal surface.There are several practical consequences of ion exchange.·· ~. the individual particles can be attracted due to the tendency for hydrogen bonding. For one thing. ·· . include different elements such as cesium.Mitchell an~Soga.. but edge~to~edge or face-to-face is also possible. Clay particles can repulse each other electrostatically. The association of day minerals and their adsorbed water~layers provides the physiCal basis for soil '''structure. sepanit~ ). This section has presented only a brief overview of the very complex subject of the interaction · between water and clay minerals. Lime (CaOH) stabilizes a sodium clay soil by replacing the sodium ions in the clay. The actual shape of the potential curve will depend on the valence 'and concentration of the dissolved ion. but the process depends on the ioii' concentration. . . The swelling of sodium montmorillonitic clays can be significantly.

4. Since it is extremely difficult.or. Because in granular soils the surface activity of the individual grains is very small. geotechnical engine'ers must consider the soil structure at least qualitatively. In geotechnical engineering. These are very complicated factors. mineral processing.1 Fabrics of Fine-Grained Soils 'Although it was generally known that fine~grained soils sometimes behaved differently after remold•ing (such as reworking a soil by spreading. certain inferences can be made about their interparticle forces. and only a very few provide even crude numerical measures of fabric. Of co~rs. and the subsequent geologic and engineering stress history of the deposit. and his inodelsof sedi.20(b) (Casagrande. dispersion is possible in high.20(a).eral indirect methods. and thus the structure of these soils consists of both these forces and the soil fabric.the engineering behavior of that soil. building on Terzaghi's concepts. of sands and gravels can be visually observed.8 SOIL STRUCTURE AND FABRIC OF FINE-GRAINED SOILS The structure of a fin~-grained soil str~ngly affects. See Mitchell and Soga (2005) for detailed description of fabric study using the polarizing microscope.8. A complete description of the structure of a fine-grained cohesive soil requires knowledge of both the 'interparticle forces and the fabric of the pa~ticles. the geologic environment at deposition. electron microscopy. increasing the temperature results in flocculation. sands. and compaction). the soil structure compresses at points of high stress' concentration. x:radiography. water content slurries and sludges that are produced as waste products from coal-fired power generation. clay particles in suspension flocculate and settle to the bottom along with the larger silt grains. the interparticle forces are also very small: Thus both the fabriC and structure of gravels.. c 4.19: Casagrande (1932c). if not impossible. and other industries. while sometimes the opposite seems to occur.the tTI:ethods desci-ibedin Sec.however.e. from the fabric 'of these' soils. 4. All the clay structures found in nature and described in the next section result from some combination of the nature of the clay mineral. ' . refers only to the geometric arrangement of the particles. ' > . then.ction.4. 4.· and this probably occurs only rarely in nature. 1932c). None of these procedures is particularly simple. On the contrary. and' sev. Sometimes thin sections are prepared from specimens of granuiar materials stabilized with epoxies or resins and then viewed under an optical microscope~ Finegrained soil fabrics require significant magnification. When cohesive soils are encountered in engineering practice. ' . and to some extent silts are the same.' With additional deposition. them: Soil fabric.8 Soil Structure' and Fabric of Fine-Grained Soils 139 The effect of temperature is somewhat ambiguous. How do we obser~e and study soil faorics? Because of their r~latively large grain sizes. However. the sediments form a honeycomb like open structure with very high water content and void ratio. Only in very dilute solutio~s (at very high water conten~s) is qispersion of clay particles possible. to directly measure the interparticle force fields surrounding clay particles. most studies of cohesive soil 'structures involve· only fabric. interparticle forces are relatively large in fine-grained cohesive soils. postulated that during sedimentation. '. e~en governs. the fabrics . pore ~ize 4istfibution. adding water or drying. The bonds between the flocculated clay 'particles are . 4. and manyof. As shown in Fig. to some extent. as shown in Fig.· mentation and the structure of fine~ grained soils are shown in Fig. . in some cases. some would say. · Just about all naturally occurring clay soils are fkicculated. but we study them because they fundamentally affect the behavior' and the engineering' properties of soil. X-ray diffra.4 for identifyingchiy minerals are also used to study clay soil fabrics. 4. the influence of soil structure on soil behavior was not considered importatit"until the mid 1920s.Terzaghi (1925a and b) des~ribed the process of sedimentation and formation of fine-grained soils. we define the structure of a soil to include the geometric arrangement or fabric of the paiticles or mineral grains as well as the interpaiticle forces that may act between .

. when specimen~ of these clay~ are tested in compression.. . .visible-light microscope. . .to form clusters. and {b) after compression and densification of the sediment: . •! ( . . Representation of fine-grained soil.s for the fabric offine-grained sediments: (a) process of sedimentation.. which are large enough to be seen ··with a .21 and 4. ' FIGURE 4.. .19 Terzaghi's (1925b) inodel..22. and deformations are almost elastic (see Sec. • . ' ·-· . From studies of real clay soils with the scanning-electron microscope (SEM).·: .. the individual clay particles seem to always be aggregated or flocculated. the strain at failure is only 1% or less. - \ r •• •.20 . 4. ' . . ' . In the 19508. however. a · number of different fabric models were proposed. because of increased interest in the physical-chemical-behavior. especially those formed in seawater. . called domains. Single-grain or single-particle units occur only .3)..rarely in riature and then only in very dilute clay~ water systems under special environmental conditions.':'.../. is not very realistic.:r· . of clay soils. and Rock Classification ' . peds. Peds .11. . 0t Silt grain . Clusters group together to form peds and even groups of. Domains in turn group together. .. .. (b) structure of the floccul~ted sediment.. Soil and Rock Structures.. .• t "'! (a) . fabrics by only a few clay particles. . FIGURE 4... . ' -.. together in submicroscopic fabric units . Casagrande's (1932c) concept of the structure of undisturbed marine clay: {a) during sedimentation. quite brittle. Two of the best known were by Lambe (1953) and Tan (1957). "· . - ' .0 :. arid they are shown in Figs. c. Clay Minerals.140 Chapter A .- '· I .

They propose three types of features: · .24(a) and (b)) or interaction between small groups of clay platelets [Fig. Particle assemblages. FIGURE 4. 4. forms of particle interaction at the level of individual clay. 4.A schematic sketch of this system proposed by Yong and Sheeran (i973) is shown in Fig.23. as shown in Fig. 3.1.1953). 4.<' 4. can be seen without a microscope. Models of undisturbed clays deposited in (a) salt water and (b) fresh water (after' Lambe. · · · Collins and'McGown (1974) suggest a somewhat more elaborate system for describing macrofabric features in natural soils. 4. Schematic diagram of a clay as proposed by Tan (1957).24(c)] or "clothed'1 silt and sand particles [Fig. and they-together with other large visible features such as joints and fissures_-constitute the macrofabric system of the soil. 4.22 . Elementary particle arrangements consisting of single . silt.24(d)). of elementary particle arrangements or : smaller particle assemblages.8 (b) SoiiStructure!and Fabric of Fine-Grained Soils 141 FIGURE 4.25. or sand particles [Fig.21 . 1973). which are units of particle organization having definable physical boundaries and a specific mechanical function: Particle assemblages consist of one ~ oi inore forms. a microscopic view of a marine clay is also included (Pusch. Other . Pore spaces within and between elementary particle arrangements and particle assemblages. · Collins and McGown (1974) show microphotographs of sev~ eral natural soils that illustrate their proposed system.

proposed by Yong and Sheeran (1973) and Pusch (1973): 1. domain.nd 6. ·. cluster. ' .. ped. Clay Minerals. Enlargement ~ . 5. a.Schematic diagram of the soil microfabric and macrofabric system .23 . 3. macropore.. 4. silt grain. micropore. Soil and RockStructures..Chapter 4 -. / ~ ' ' ' FIGURE 4. . micropores "--.·. 1~ : ' '· · . 2. ': _:I· ' j .' / / / I ---- / 3 ----d \... and Rock Classification 142 3 .

the changes in stress caused both by geological forces and by human activities. or fresh water.2 Importance of Microfabric and Macrofabric.26.oil is imprinted in some manner on its structure and fabric. ·· ' · Although microfabric is probably more ·important from a fundamental than an engineering viewpoint.27(b) is magnified four times larger than Fig.27(b) contains some clay platelets-probably kaolinite. understanding it improves one's ge11eral understanding of soil behavior: For example. Figure 4. (b) individual silt or sand particle interaction.27(b) and in Fig.. Description Criteria Both the microfabric and macrofabric of a clay deposit reflect the deposit's entire geologic and stress history. chemical and physical weathering. and stress history-that is. (d) . Figure 4.28. Again. brackish. Flocculated structures or aggregations of particles (domains and clusters) can result during sedimentation in virtually all depositional environments. Note how complex the structure appears.: . The large silt grain in the lower left center of Fig.27 and 4.27 shows microphotographs of a compacted clayey silt from France. 4.21(b ).24 Schematic representations of elementary particle arrangements: (a) individual clay platelet interaction. 4. suggesting that the engineering behavior of this soil is probably also quite complex. (c) clay platelet group interaction.8. 4. it is difficult io ascertain whether a~tual mineral contact occurs in clays. Fabric characteristics such as the .24 and 4.25 can be seen in the SEM microphotographs of Figs. 4. (e) partly discernible particle interaction (after Collins and McGown.28. 4.26. Soil Structure and Fabric of Fine-Grained Soils 143 (a) (e) (d) FIGURE 4."clothed" silt or sand particle interaction. This includes its depositional and environmental history. 4. Coatings of much smaller clay particles are also visible. Virtually everything that ever happened to that s. as they are about 5 11m in the major dimension. day microfabric research has suggested that the greatest single factor influencing the final structure of a clay soil is the electrochemical environment existing at the time of its sedimentation.27(a). Because of their bound water layers. See Mitchell and Soga (2005) for additional microphotographs of real soil fabrics. It is interesting that many of the fabric models shown in Figs. 4. A SEM microphotograph of silty clay ped from Norway is shown in Fig. However. 1974). grain-to-grain contact of silt particles can readily be seen. 4. 4. a 4.23. fabric complexity rather than simplicity is apparent.8. Also note how similar this real marine clay looks to the model postulated by Casagrande (1932c) shown in Fig. 4. systems for classifying soil structure and fabric have been d~veloped by pedologists and soil scientists. whether marine.· . A good example is the system proposed by Brewer (1976). especially in Fig. 4.

'.~"A.:... (e) irregular aggregations forming a honeycomb arrangement. . (h) inter-Weaving bunches of clay. r I )t'~ ._!£:~~-~. (d) irregular aggregations linked by connector assemblages. --~~t:.._.-. 1974)....:.~ ·s·.. 111... -=.~ ·bunc~-..."''!/:::-.~.:.:-__./- ~.l!·~ c §<~'t't ..t..':/ \.1p.?_? ~~:. and Rock Classification 144 Silt or ·e1sand ·._ 1 .'.'r:i_:) .~K (~:~~.7}> /. ...\..::_<'b<!- _. . ~~'"'-1 . I.~~1_..:---.j~-:fb ' .c:j.. •• t<' -r-.::.·. .J-i.: ... ...> (h) -. . " ·-: • .. sand aggregations (e) --: ·• • . G) -· ~- l (k) • ~ .. (f) regular aggregations interacting with silt or sand grains... 'u ·"/ -:J.~l.--"'\-\~~ /.. ~ .: y~.-1."'/'/ -~-- (i) .:!7=?-~~-<. ular particle matrix (after Collins and McGown.::?)"?/.· . -'~V{~:-: -~~~ .. ')1. :._(. (k) gran~.~!_./._.-_:.-·_.(i{b'traj\~-----o'.:::~~- /.~'~...~~-- ../ ~ .~ a. :._ /~~ (c) (b) Connectors Regular \ i ' . •·· . FIGURE. Soil and Rock Structures.Cs. Clay Minerals. ..25 . I v~. imd(c) cOiinectors... 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-. (i) interweaving bunches of clay with silt inclusions._ v. .' (d) / ....~~~!/=~--.&-~-?.---c. _tt·b .::. :==-/"''-.r~>:..-\-.4. . a~'~f./""..>'1~:~/... .· Schem~tic'represlmi:ations'of particle assemblages: (a). . --. Silt :..:l ' ../ ( /)\ f2p-' (g) (I) lnterw~1ivin9 .~~. i~. _ 'fi!)._~~' ~.'!.. aggregations IJ . ~~==-~~. c'1!.!1. '1't "'" . G> clay particle matrix.ff?yrCfJ~ : ~(/ .J Stl! or Irregular .. . ' · · '' · :::' .p._..~ '.Chapter 4.····-~- • ~·Co""~.:..lay \matrix .:. 97 ~hv-.. (g) regular aggregation interacting with particle matrix..'.-=//.. ··::·: · ~""-. ' ..tl~~tkfi'<f../1(.~.-"'JI..<...-.? · · hes '.rtr'-"'~ . .' :• . (b)....:=.}'11:~?"' =-:::-._ }'(.:. -.

and (b) magnification of. .4.26 Drammensilty clay: large ped ofsilt and clay with weak links to other peds (from Barden and McGown. Jossigny clayey . 1996.16.n).. .silt. 1973.0 kN/m 3: (a) magnification of 500 times. FIGURE 4.9% water conte~t and .2000 times (Delage et aL. photograph "· . McGow. Delage). ·. FIGURE 4. photograph courtesy of A. quasi-statically compacted at 14.courtesy of P. · ').8 Soil Structure and Fabric of Fine-Grained Soils 145 .· (a) ' l ~.27. · .

erroneous predictions of settlement rates will be made. of course. that faulty designs based on this information may result in a failure. Features such as joints.28 SEM of silt grainto-grain contact in Swedish till (from McGown. for describing the macrofabric and structure of intact soils. must always be· supported. These criteria are summarized in Table 4. As a simple example. instability or failure may occur. Criteria have been developed by ASTM. or drainage. 10 ILm shape and distribution of pores in the structure are also apparently influenced to a large degree by the clay mineralogy as well as the amount and angularity of silt grains present. ·In summary. especially 'those comprised of fine-grained soils. The engineering behavior :'of these deposits is strongly influenced by both the micro. Macrofabric also has· an important influence on the engineering behavior of soil deposits. USBR.yarves.arid macrofabric:At presei1t. 1973). or tests (in situ and laboratory) may not involve the feature and thus the test results will be erroneous. for example. root holes.'though no established quantitative cOnnection exists between soil fabric and its engineering properties.146 Chapter 4. fissures. Rowe's (1972) Rankine Lecture illustrates the importance of soil macrofabric to geotechnical practice. it is still important to appreciate the complexity of the fabric of fine-grained soils an·d itsrelation to the engineering behavior of the deposit. the fabric of fine-grained soil deposits· is highly complex.: . Accurate settlement predictions are very important in the design of foundations. among others. and if intermediate drainage layers are missed during the site investigation. and the California Department of Water Resources. If this defect happens to be unfavorably oriented with respect to the applied engineering stress. As we shall see in Chapters 8 and 9. the fissures or defects in the surface soils may result in a collapse of the trench walls-a very dangerous situation for any workers in the trench. intermediate silt and sand seams andhlyers. · · Another example is the influence of a sand or silt layer or seam on the drainage characteristics of a thick clay layer. This is why shallow excavations for pipe trenches. . and other "defects" often control the response of the entire soil mass to engineering loads. the rate of settlement of the clay layer strongly depends on the distance between drainage layers. The worst case is. settlements.>Clay Minerals. The macrofabric feature may be missed in the investigation. · Consequently. These features are also a challenge for the geologic and geotechnical investigation that prec~des any. the strength of a soil mass is significantly reduced along a crack or fissure. and Rock Classification FIGURE 4. If not. Soil and Rock Structures. design an"d construction. . the geotechnical engineer must carefully investigate the macrofabric of the deposit.3. in engineering problems involving stability.

In this case.3 Granular Soil Fabrics 147 Criteria for Describing the. sometimes striated Cohesive soil that can be broken down into small angular lumps that resist further b~eakdown Inclusion of small pockets of diff~rentsoils. Single' grained fabrics may be ~'loose" (high void. In tun1s out that when granular materials are deposited either by wind or in water. . Under' some conditions of deposition a granular material can achieve a very open or "honeycomb" fabric [Fig. (b) dense. and California DWR (1962) S-4. < 0. note thickness Alternating layers of varying material or color with layers l~ss than 6 mm thick. sand and gravels. they can have rather complex fabrics that in some cases significantly influence their engineering behavior: Go back and review the appropriate sections of Chapter 3 for a description of soil deposition by water (rivers.05 mm) and the landforms that result from these geologic processes. actually have a fabric? At first. with a very high void ratio .29(a).'grain sizes generally .29 (b) (c) Single-grained soil structures: (a) loose. for example.01 to 0. etc.4. Dept. and (c) honeycomb.9 . of the Interior (1990) 5005. a sand or. note thickness' and whether seams are 'continuous · Contains color blotches '· '· · · · Porous or vesicular Note presence of roots or root holes Mottled' Honeycombed· Root holes From ASTM (2010) D 2488. and some sand-silt mixtures. or if they do.29(b).Structure of Intact Fine-grained Soils Description Criteria Homogeneous Stratified Laminated Banded · Fissured Slickensided Blocky Lensed o~ seamed Same color and appearance throughout Alternating layers of varying material or color with layers at least 6 mm thi~k.) and wind (loess deposits and sand dimes.9 TABLE 4. 4. (a) FIGURE 4. ratio or.02 mm settle out of a soil-fluld susp~ri.29(c)]. 4. as shown in Fig. ' GRANULAR SOIL FABRICS Do granular materials.sion independently of other particles. such as small lenses of sand scattered through a mass ·of clay. because their weight causes them to settle and come to equilibrium in the bottom of the fluid as soon as the velocity can no longer support them in suspension. Grains of soil larger than 0. gravel pile. low density). . note thickness Layers of same material but with different colors· Breaks along definite planes of fracture with little resistance to fracturing Fracture planes appear polished or glossy. as shown in Fig. you might think that they don't. This is the fabric of. U. or "dense" · · (low void ratio or high density). their ~abric is single grained. that their fabrics are rather simple in comparison with deposits of fine-grained soils. 4. 4. .S. beaches.

and thus the engineering properties.95 1. settles with jarring).0 1. Stratified · · Lenses or seams · ·Thin layer or strata. . that is. The greatest possible void ratio or loosest possible condition of a soil is called the maximum void rGtio ( emax)· Similarly. Good .. emtn 'llmax llmin (loose) (dense) (loose) (dense) 0. of granular soils. of water in very loose granular fabrics also can signifiCantly influence tlieir engineering behavior. 'Uniform Heterogeneous Mixture of different sizes.-.005 O. 0.. The maximum and minimum void ratios are usually determined in the laboratory using test procedures discussed in Chapter 5 .67 - ··- 1.30' 0...4 . described in Chapter 7. • (d) Uniform.materials: (a) Equal spheres (b) Standard Ottawa sand (c) Clean. (fine or medium) .2 to 2.2 to 2.09 _. dense (no movement with vibration) From California DWR (1962).0 o~oos 0. the geotechnicalengineer must carefully investigate the macrofabric or structure of granular soil deposits. examples are bulking. a capillary phenomenon discussed in Chapter 6..59 0. Fig.90 0. note thickness. . the minimum void ratio (emin) is the densest possible condition that a given soil can attain.80 1. or mineral composition Layers of different soils. for two sands to have the same void ratio TABLE 4. strike.02 5 to 10.. 1. for example. and quicksand and liquefaction.85 0. inorganicsilt 2. Descriptive criteria are summarized in Table 4.· Loose (high voids.0 · 2. .. The ranges of possible void ratios and porosities for typical granular soils are shown in Table 4.visual-manual inspection and/or the acid test Cementation ··. uniform sand . Soil and Rock Structures.5. shapes.. .005. The 'presence .0.· Uniform.14 47 . Consequently. Natu. 4.148 Chapter 4 · . especiillly when vibrated or loaded dynamically. Void ratio or density alone is not sufficient to accurately characterize the fabric.0 0.0 0.40 52 29 '0.. 15 to 300 After Hough (1969). and Rock Classification · and low density. · Degree of "compactness" . 49 55 46 23 17 29 12 emax ' Soil'fYpe Por~sity (%) . the grain size distribution.92 0.20 .29. 0..~ ( .ral or In-Place ~ondition: .05 0. just as with the structure of fine-grained soil deposits. hardness. granular soils can have a rather wide range of void ratios.40 0.84 - - - 0.4 Criteria for Describing the Structure of Coarse-Grained S~il~ in their. the grain arches can support static loads. and the packing or arrangement of the grains (fabriC). (b) Clean.2 ' 0. . ' . fine to co!lrse sand (c) Micaceous simd · (d) Silty sand and gravel Dmax 0.1 0. · The fabrics of natural deposits of granular soils are often much more complex than those shown in .0 2.. A honeycomb fabric is metastable. 1)'picai Values of Void Ratio and Porosity ofGranuiar Soils ~ \ ··void Ratio: · Particle Size and Gradation • :~ 1. · Well~graded materials: (a) Silty sand .35 0. Clay Minerals. note thickness ·Detected by . but the structure is very sensitive to collapse. ·4to6 - . It is possible.50 0. Depending on the shape of the grains.05 o:02 100 0.40 48 44 50 26 33 29 1. and dip of beds/layers .1 1.Oi2 .

personal communication) and particle orientations (c) versus.30 were real sands.have the same grain-size distribution and the same void ratio.particles at the same void ratio (after Leonards et al.4.but'the orientation of their particles and their fabrics are obviously very different: If the materials illustrated in Fig.30( c) and (d) show the effect of particie shape and orientation. Deposits of granular materials that have been preloaded by nature or human activities will have' very different stress-strain properties and then!fore very 'different compressibility · and settlement response (Lambrechts and Leonards. Both "sands" in Figs. 1978.30 shows a couple of two-dimensional examples of what we mean. but their particle arrangements or fabrics are obviously very different.: would undoubtedly be very different. compressibility. A.:. j • " < (a) (c) (d) FIGURE 4.. Figures 4. 1976. .9 Granular Soil Fabrics 149 but significantly different fabrics (and different relative densities. Finally.·. . Leonards. Again. (d) of identical . 1991). their engineering properties-such as hydraulic conductivity. 4.4.. (b) (G. Figure 4.30 . see Chapter 5) and thus significantly different engineering behavior.Potential ranges in packing of identical particles at the same relative density (a) versus .md shear stningth c. Holtz. 1986). both "sands".30( a) and (b) are identical~ they hilYe the same grain size distribution and the same void ratio. stress history is another factor that must be considered when dealing with sands and gravels in engineering practice.

Soil scientists have developed a comprehensive system of soil classification called soil taxonomy that is reasonably objective. the B~horizon is often clayey and has a blocky texture (because of periodic wetting and drying). usually determined by means ofa geologic investigation and soil borings. • . so that if you see the'se names on soil maps or in soils report. Examples include the foundations of small structures. The system was designed to be independent of the classifier and presumably useful for both agricultural and engineering purposes. both f~esh' and de~omp6sed. you . a'soil profile oi weathering profile is formed. although it. . In fmindation engineering. SOIL HORIZONS.3. see the papers in TRB (1977). • The 0 Both the 0 and A horizons have very poor engineering propeities because of the o. then the B horizon may be a good source of material for this purpose. etc. • '.The soil profile typically develops several distinct zones or horizons with specific characteristics: - \ - . . due to the lack of rainfall to support vegetation. '~ ' 4 - . should kriow that such a system exists. mineral salts have been leached out by rainwater. • The c horizon is also called the parent material. where some cl~y rriine_rals and soluble. SOIL PROFILES. to decrease the hydraulic conductivity of a dike or of the liner for a waste containment system. particularly a j . . . although top~graphy arid the presence . In temperate regions. a freshr~ck surface or freshly trans~ ported rock and soil materials are exposed to 'the atmosphere and thus are subjected to weathering. · The C material is only slightly weathered. • The B horizon is the zone of accumulation be~ause materials leached out of the A~horizon accumulate in this horizon.. glacial till. precipitation. Section 8. . if any. ·· . This horizon is also a zone of leaching. for example. They generailyare loose and therefore highly compressible. . because it is generally assumed that the materials in the A and B horizons are weathered from this horizon.is probably toodetailed for most geotechnical engineering applications: However. .11 showssome typical soil profiles. As · . Climate.10.3)has taken place.150 Chapter 4 ·.ganic materials present. However. . especially in temperate regions. however. if at all.3. If clay is needed. In desert regions. after a ge'ologic process(Chapter. topography. • The A horizon: sometimes called topsdil. - - ' : ( ~-- • ' • •• ~ horiZon contains o~ganic matter. therefore it is generally dark brown or black in color. semi-quantitative. cliriuite (temperature. there is no 0 horizon and no lluinu~ in the A horizon. AND SOIL TAXONOMY .Sometimes engineering properties are also shown on the same plot. . ' : '.Clay Minerals. and time. / . · · The B horizon cari be a problem for engineers in some areas because the clay minen1ls present may be montmorillonitic and therefore swelling (Chapter 6).2. subsurface exploration techniques.• • • . Knowledge of the characteristics of these various soil layers is very often important in civil engineering practice. Another view of the soil profile is a vertical cross-section through the soil deposit. areas of intense weathering. . The most important' factors in soil profile development are the · parent niaterial. / • '· : ' • ' . or other. rapid oxidation of organic matter means that' tropical soils are generally not very good agricultural soils.' ·. the soilprofileis usually illustrated iri a drawing or plot that shows the various layers and types of soils at the location or site of interest. because much of the civil infrastructure is relativ~ly shallow and its development occurs in or on one of these layers. because of the organic matter. The cmnpletelyunive~theredand unaltered b~drockis called the R-liorizon. loess. and water and sewer lines. and they have a low density and shear strength. and universally applicable. Soil and Rock Structures. it may accumulate weathering products from the B horizon: Parent material may be bedrock or freshly deposited alluvium. in .• • ' •. such as the tropics. Even though a relatively large amount of organic matter is generated in hot.of v~getation also contribute. discussed in Sec. humid tropical regions. · • . In temperate climates. and Rock Classification 4. . ·. weath~ring causes changesin the character of thetopmost soiLand rock layers. arid so on). especially in the B arid C horizons. is rich in humus and organic pi ant r~sidues. and vegetation. Depending on the tinie. roads and airfields. · · . . you won't panic! For detailed descriptions of the system.. Many times. the 0 and A horizons are used for agricultural purposes.

11. ' There are standard tests for these characteristics.4. an oil exploration or pro. we briefly described residual and tropical soils and provided references for additional information on the engill(~ering ciuirai:teristics of thesesoils. if your .4 emphasized the soil types most ~ommonly encountered in coastal landforms. duction platform. and decayed grasses and plants that thrive in wet. peats can range in texture from fibrous to amorphous." meaning swamp or marsh (Pihlainen. and. we described a immber of different soils and soil deposits... underground construction in . piles. SMSSSS (1990). then the Canadian System'of Soil Classification by the Soil Classification • . Muskeg is a terin applied to relatively flat and mostly treeless areas consisting of mostly decaying . Our discussion in Sec. so even lightweight structures and low embankments may experience large and undesirable settlements. weak. Sphagnum moss is the main constituent of muskeg. .6). The term muskeg may be applied to an "organic terrain'' or peat bog. For example.2 Marine Soils Because an importimt part' of'geotechnic~l piadi~e is ~~ar'or offshore' in· ~arineeriviro~ment.to buried steel pipes. tliat you look for these materials at your site. associated with a specific limdform or geologic process. and often some type of "floating" foundation is necessary. anchors. to say the least. because these deposits tend to have very poor. deposition. w~ need to be able to classify marine soils as well as to have some idea of their engineering characteristics.3. : ·.151 · Fernau (1977). you are working in Canada. and Muskeg You may recall from Chapter 2 that organic soils are silts or clays with sufficient organic content to influence their.. content. water-holding capacity. 3. 4. their botanical composition. . symbol Pt). ASTM (2010) standard D 4427 classifies peats depending on their fiber. 1963). they are highly compressible. Identification and characterization of deposits of peat and organic soils is important.11. and so on. Peats. and sometimes it refers to the organic materials in the bog. ·. If you ever have aproject in these areas.. or a moorage 9r ship anchorage facility in deep water? a . If . engineering properties. In our discussion of eolian landforms(Sec. 1 but what do you do if. and lacustrine. but it is thought to be derived from an Ojibwa word "mashkig. SPECIAL SOIL DEPOSITS 'In Chapter 3.3. Depending on how much decomposition has occurred since. coastal. · yet they are of interest to geotechnical engineers since they present challenging design and construction problems.2). These deposits are often very acidic and thus corrosive.that' may have organic soiis or peat associated with them. We mentioned several landforms i~ Chapter 3-a~ong them fluvial. Collapsing and swelling soils are discussed in Chapter 6. 4. Muskeg covers about 10% of southeast Alaska and about 15% of Canada: Construction on muskeg. : The origin of the term muskeg is somewhat obscure. ash content after burning a specimen to constant weight at 440°C. which means basically it is synonymous with peat. you will at least have some idea where to go for additional information. especially in the summer months..11 . 4. your project is to build a dock and quay.we described ·· some of the engineering problems associated with foundations on loess. . ' ' ' ' .' when' we discussed weathering (Sec. consisting primarily of organic matter are called peats (USCS. engineering properties (USCS symbol OL or OH): Soils.' and •thus ·the· stability of embankments and foundations constructed on them may be marginal. which can continue for a very long time. Finally. if appropriate. acid soil in areas of abundant rain and cool summers. 3. 3.are often soft •and. '. PCA (1992) and Mitchell and Soga (2005) are also recommended. They . is problematic. for example. project is located in these areas. glacial.3. Furthermore.1 Organic Soils. There are a few soil deposits that are not really associated with a specific landform or process. organic soils can be dangerous because of trapped methane in the soil.11 Special SoiLDeposits . Thus it is important. Working Group (1998) is very useful. and the like.

and you·need to be aware of any applicable environmental regulatiorisas well as the geotechnical conditions at these areas. However. In rural_ areas. theories of elasticity and plasticity. and bioclastic granular materials: Details are given in Noorany (1989):'. these materials ar. if encountered. Older facilities with loosely dumped municipal wastes can experience large total and differential settlements under new construction. geotechnical design and construction at sites with these materials is neither simple nor inexpen' sive.variable in their material properties. wrecked cars. Biogeneous sediments come from marine organisms and include_ calcareous arid siliceous oozes . even ·• though the line between. as well as offshore of Southeast Asia. Mineral processing operations produce wastes in the form of tailings imd slurries (slimes) that. mollusks. and tidal flats. Traditionally. see Noorany and Gizienski (1970). because these sands are biogenic in origin. three main: classes 'of sediments: lithogenous.gov/ for additional information. there are old landfills. .Chapter 4 · · : :Clay Minerals. while hydrogenous sediments are mostly precipitates that include oolitic sands.efound in . depending on how old the ·landfill is and how it was operated. swamps. any event. and Rock Classification 152 · Noorany (1989) has devised a classification system for marine sediments that includes both their . Thus. · · 4.epa. There are. expensive delays can_result and construction costs can increase enormously. Special treatment of loosely dumped spoil materials from strip mines is required for foundations at these sites. _. they are only weakly cemented.11. almost a soft rock.' : ' ' '. . and if construction has al~eady started. and inorganic sludges as well as sediments dredged from harbors and rivers: If these materials are contaminated with organics or heavy metals. Many otherwise fine • construction sites have been spoiled by the discovery of contaminants in the subsurface soils.~pi"inciple of j .) · Both surface and underground mining operations typically leave rather unusual deposits and conditions that may cause foundation subsidence or slope instability in the area. In . dumps.depositional· characteristics. . 1987.they appear·t~ be fairly strong.i. Soil and Rock Structures. They are ·often encountered in urban areas. a:Ud Australia. however. they require special handling and treatment. and Noorany (1989).' j ' ". on river ·' • · ·· · and stream banks. and aban. and the like that have been dumped in ravines. Brazil. pile capacities are often much lower. . rodents and other pests. although they may use· the same engineering mechanics. . '. During sit~ exploration. One deposit that presents problems for offshore pl<!-tform construction is that of calcareous sand materials. . engineering differ from rock mechanics and rock engineering.hard soils and soft rocks is quite fuzzy. Other wastes sometimes of concern to civil engineers include industrial bypro ducts such as slags.S. Some sort of improvement is normally required at these sites for virtually all except the lightest structures. nonskeletal· carbonates. : •' '. and bio'genous. be sure that all environmental regulations are strictly followed. ' . are very difficult to stabilize: At all such sites..3 Waste Materials and Contaminated Sites .· used appliances. Formed from the calcareous skeletal remains· of coral.large areas offshore of North Afrbi in the Mediterranean:Sea. etc. and exposure to potentially ·hazardous materials.· used tires. hydrogenous. Even in rural areas. come from the· land.12 TRANSITIONAL' MATERIALS: HARD SOILS VERSUS SOFT ROCKS ' \. . Landfills and dumps•are highly. Lithogenous sediments. and Poulos.·For. . 4. and they easily crush when large-diameter piles.composition' and. soil mechanics and soil . . are driv~::n into them. and algae. seepage through porous media. Environmental Protection Agency: http://www. etc. 1988a). bottom and fly ashes. - ' · Waste materials and contaminated sites pose special problems for civil engineering construction. for example. doned mines or other industrial sites. Poulos (1988b ). It is important that any potential construction site be thoroughly investigated as to its previous uses and possible contamination. Other factors that rriake construction •· work diffiCult include foul odors. (See the U. flammable gases. a good description of the_ engineering properties of marine soils.than predicted by common onshore methods (Murff.· you· may ·encounter· illegally discarded' garbage.Geotechnical engineers commonly think of soils and rock as two distinctly different materials. ' ' 1 ~ • • .

arid a number of conferences and symposia have dealt with this problem. becoming harder with depth. Anagnostopolous et al. 3.. so large ammints ofmomiy can be involved.6. . jointing. depending on the size of the project. depth and amount of excavation. The papers arid speCial reports in Kane and Amadei (1991 ).. .• . Kane and Amaoei (1991) and the papers therein 'deal specifically with the soil-rock interfacehow it is detected. · · · Examples of the transition between soil and rock can be found particularly in· residual and tropical soil profiles (see Sec. with most materials somewhere between soft soil and hard rock.3. '' . arid their engineering properties arid behavior are: often quite ambiguous. . or Topsoil Residual· soil : {saprolite).and contract details. Particularly valuable in this regard are Kulhawy et al.' sitio:~al illtermediate geo-inateriaiS eire lOad~d in sh~'ai. ' .:.. Partially weathered rock 'i . An example is shown in Fig. and handled during construction. Treating these materials as 'traditional soft soils or hard rocks is totally inappropriate.. (1993). because what is shown on the plans ana given in the specifications may be very differ• ent than what is actually found at the project site. 4.) .31 Schematic of a residual soil and weathered rock · profile {adapted from Kulhawy et al. and nature of the interface. (1991) arid Smith et al. specified. Sometimes these transitional materials are called intermedtategeo~materials.' their fitilure is n6it~er brittle (occurring at small strains) nor ductile (occurring at large strains). because the profile gradually transitions between softer soils at the top. · Tlie soil-rock interface is an area of major and often costly disputes between design engineers ' and contractors. The world is not composed of only recent deposits of soft clays or old intact hard rock . the influe'nce of joints and fissures in trimsitional materials may or may not dominate their behavior. ·4.'Do excavations in these materials require drilling ·· · and blasting.' ·. andother theoretical concepts. perhaps with more and more highly fractured and weathered rock that may be rather weak and soft. or can' they be excavated by machinery? With regard to stability and s'eepageproblems. I'.. It is better to think of the geotechnical: world as consisting of the 'entire range of possible geologic materials.. ..· Unweathered rock FIGURE 4. For example. In these profiles it can sometimes be difficult to determine when the soil ends and rock begins.' as well as about the problem of rock versus soil excavation.There are a wide range of geo-materials in that transitional area ' between soil' ana rock.12 Transitional Materials: Hard Soils Versus Soft Rocks 153 · effective stress. The geotechnical profession is well aware of the gap between soils and rock engineering. 3. 1991). .31. (1991). and finally becoming less and less weathered and harder with depth.2). . {See also Fig. There are frequent disputes about the' depth to rock ' '' shown on the plans and about' the strength.. and Santi and Shakoor (1997) are especially recommended. when tran. : ' ' ' .:whether drilling and blasting are required or machine excavation can be used: The cost diffen:irice'between soil and 'rock excavation maybe a factor of five to ten or more. . .

we describe some of the engineering properties of rock masses. .''.CLASSIFICATION OF ROCK MASSES : · Similar to soil deposits.2 Discontinuities in Rock Joints are by far the most common discontinuity in rock masses.. and Rock Classification 4.intact rock is very strong. .the . 'duce several interesting landfonns. . etc:--:-see Sec. and they are discussed in Chapter t2~ " · . ' . and the nature' of any infilling is essential for any rock engineering design. . schistosity. surface characteristics. tests· are now ASTM standard tests. as discussed Sec. .3) anct/or their engineering properties (compressive strength and . ' and approximate range of uniaxiill compressive strengthof intact rock: ' '·' ' '.2.·• You may recall from our discussion ofrock structure in Sec.) Even if the . ·_. mineralogy. (Discontinuities include joints. . Discontinuities · · · ·. .behavior. overall · behavior of the foundation or tunnel is controlled by the discontinuities. details as to how rock joints. field identification. can have major influence on stability and construct a'Joundation on rock o~ . ' .6 presents · ' · ·the International Society for' Rock MechaniCs (ISRM) grade. and tested for strength and frictional characteristics. . depending ori their physical and geometric characteri~tics.'' ' ' . 1999.) In any everi(the rock 'mass inCludes the blocks of intact material as well as structural features and discontinuities.9.4 that folding. . and performance of that.. and Sabatini et al. • Type (e.. and so on. 'and faults. (Rock structures also pro. Most' of the 'common rock mechanics · · · ·.13 · .13. . the stability performance. . . They must be located and their the geologi~ and geotechnical investigations that precede design ' ' characteristics determined as part an'd construction. . MACROSTRUCTURE.ex~avate a tunnel in rock. The procedure gives details on five items: · · · · · L Rock material • Type • Compressive strength • Degree of weathering 2. of intact rock is a well. . AND. texture. If these discontinuities are missed in the site investigation or not properly considered indesign. In this section. The International Society for Rock Mechanics (1981) developed a very a comprehensive procedure for quantitatively describing a rock mass (see also Wyllie.g:. we of. solution cavities..zones. or faulting of rock inasses results in structural features such as joints...' teristics of discontinuities in rock. Soil and Rock Structures. ' . bedding planes. .The determination of the strength. length. fault: bedding. 3. folds. . and finally ho~ engineers consider properties and discontinuities in ' ' ' ' . shear . . -· Clay Minerals. some of the charac. : .3.' ' a. . . This is becimse rock masses almost always contain discontinuities'imd other "defects" that. '. joints) • Orientation (dip angle and direction). r in 4. Goodman (1989) and Wyllie (1999) •· give·.2.-·~ · .. and other engimiering properties.' ' ' ' ' ' . are observed. influenced by the characteristics of. 3. 4. Intact rocks can be classified according to their geologic characteristics (type. the macrostructure of a rock inass has an importimt influence on its e~gineering ·. . 3.·. · discontinuities in the rock. spacing. measured. strength classification. developed piutof rock mechimics arid'geotechnical engineering. modulus Us11ally only the compressive strength is used to classify intact rock. :.failuresmayoccur.··· . PROPERTIES. crystallography. . Whenever . cleavage planes.13.the classification ofrock masses. arid Table' 4.. shifting.1 Properties of RockMasses . . modulus. and a knowledge of th(!ir orienta~ tion.154 Chapter 4 . and they constitute planes or zones of weakness tha'i may significantly reduce the strength and deformability of the rock mass. 2002). foliati~!l· cl(!avage. . faults. f~imdation or tuniteL is strongly.

1. but the table will show you how the system works.36 000 >10 R5 Very strong .. shale : blows with point of .0 150-725 ' " R1 ~ Rock can only be · . .etc.). 4. .4. I. claystone. can be fractured ' with a single blow of.:. • Roughness (e. moderate. phyllite.) • Persistence (areal extent or size within a plane area) • Number of joint sets • Block size. siltstone knife. Marinos and Hoek (2001 ). potash. ::. shallow indentations. and shape (small to large) 5. . hydraulic conductivity.. rhyiolite.1. 4-10 R4 Strong rock 50-100 7000-15 000 2-4 300-600 R3 ·Medium stro~g rock 25-50 3500-7000 1. etc.0.:. Requires many blows of . etc. granodirite. slickensided. Table 4. particle sizes. smooth. granite. marble. wide. geologic hammer .' :.) 3. shale. marl. After International Society for Rock Mechanics (1979 and 1981 ).) • Joint spacing (close.13 TABLE 4. schist Requires more than one hammer blow to cause fracture· Cannot be ~craped or .:150 Fresh basalt. ·chalk. peridotite. etc... tabular. · · peeled with a po~ket ' schist.) • Aperture width (whether open or closed. sandstone.g. chert.. The ISRM procedure does this for all of the above items. etc. siltstone.25. made by blow with point of geologic hammer cru'mbles u~der firm: Highly weathered or altered rock. massive.. quartzite Amphibolite.:_2 150-300 Weak rock 5. · geoi<:lgical hammer Indented by thumbnail·· Stiff fault gouge '" ' rock Examples >1500 '.5. and Classification of Rock Masses Strength of Intact Rock Approximate Range ·of Uniaxial· Compressive Strength· · ISRM Grade Description or Classification R6 ·Point Load Index Field Estimate of Strength · MPa psi MPa Extremely strong rock >250. diabase.0 35. and Canadian Geotechnical Society (2006).6 Properties. tuff Limestone. :' codcrete. .. gabbro.36 000 . Macrostructure.. basalt. rock 100-250 15 000-. columnar. .' ' As an example. . chipped by a geologic hammer 600-1500.7 gives the terms used to describe the spacing of joints in a rock mass. blocky. R2 155 a •Point load test results on rock with an uniaxial compressive strength less than about 25 MPa (3600 psi) are highly ambiguous. water content. . Nature of the infilling (type/width) • Mineralogy. Can be peeled by a pocket . geological hammer to cause fracture .g.. undulating. Wyllie (1999). gneiss. '' RO Extremely weak rock 0. Rock mass description (e. crushed. rocksalt·. . . Groundwater (seepage) conditions (quantities from joints and the rock mass) ' ' ' ' ' .0-:25 725-3500 psi yerywe~k. sandstone. fracturing of rock walls. ·. gneiss. stepped. ' ' knife with difficulty.

4.).tions (tunnels. The rock quality designation or RQD attempts to quantify the degree of fracturing and. percentage. and ~ne of those-the Japanese Society of Engineering Geology system-:.6 0.06-D.6-2 0. Soil and Rock Structures. an example of which is shown in Fig.) or greaterin length. and Rock Classification TABLE 4.2 0.1 FIGURE 4. i ! ! I !'l :. given the variety of geologic conditions likely to be encountered in practice.>6 .g.156 Chapter 4 . . 0.::· 2-6 . foundations. mining. The ASTM (2010) standard guide D 5878for rock mass classification lists eightsuch systems. Rhod~ Island showi~g degree of weathering and ' . etc.2-D.7 Spacing of Discontinuities in Rock Masses Description Extremely wide .02-D. The cores are placed in core boxes.. and dividing that sum by the length of the core run.32 {a) Rock core box from Cumberland. highway tumiels and slopes. Perhaps the development of so many classification systems is not surprising. 4. other alteration of the original rock mass.02 . It is based on the rock cores recovered from core barrels taken during the exploration program. ·Clay Minerals. .. excavations.06 <0. water tunnels). railway tunnels.32~ Then the intact fragment lengths are measured and the RQD is obtained by summing up the total length of the core pieces that are 10 cm(4 in. The rock cores are obtained by diamond drilling (preferably with a "triple tube': core barrel to get the best-quality rock cores).13. The RQD was developed by Professor Don Deere of the University of Illinois in the early 1960s (Deere. {b) close-up of rock core box. ··After International Society for Rock Mechanics (1981). and the specific engineering applica. Wyllie (1999). 1963). . · fracture from {foot by Kevin Broccolo). Verywide Wide · · Moderate ·· Close Very dose Extremely close .· . the different excavation and exploration procedures in common use. It is usually expressed as a .has seven subsystems depending oiL the specific applicatiorl (e.3 Rock· Mass Classification Systems A number of systems have been developed for classifying rock masses.

1200 mm 0 o L =60 mm < 100 mm ~ Length oi soun.o_:ta_l_le_n-"'g_th_o_f_ro_c_k_r. . · Core recovery Calculation · ROD Calculation L = 250 mm L =. 53% (b) FIGURE 4.. L=Omm .:. care should be taken to distinguish between natural discontinuities and those caused by the drilling process. and Classification of Rock Masses 157 Figure 4.. Macrostructure. * 1OO~o • .4. .250 mm L= 0 Highly weathered ·does not meet soundness requirement L = 200mm . 100 mm ROD=~ . I I I No recovery: (a) ROD. As shown in Figs. CR _T.L .d pieces . Figure 4. = · · Total core run length CR = (250+200+250+ 190+60+80+ 120) mm ~ L':'190mm L = . .. (b) core length determination (after Samtani and Nowatski. and thus it may be difficult to decide what core length actually is.. sometimes rock defects are at an angle with the direction of drilling..13 Properties.33( a) illustrates the process.· Total core run length ROD = (250 + 190 200) mm.190 mm ·.33: (a) Illustration of how RQD is determined. · ·. Deere and Deere (1988) give some additional background arid engineering uses of the RQD.v_e_re_d C ore Recovery.. . . The standard test method for determining theRQD ofrock cores is'AsTM (2010) D 6032.:.• ~ 0 .e_co. 2006)..33. · · :.'j '! .. 4.Centerline : pieces < 100 mm and highly weathered L = 250 mm ·. ' .33(b) shows how to make correct length measurements for the RQD.· .• :· ·..32(b) and 4.:: ' 1c~ · . 1200 mm + '.

158 Chapter4-. ·:A core boxcont~ining anmof 4. For details. This ratio and thus its square will be less than or equal to unity. (100 mm) are 0.. i. and Rock Classification ' . 'I1 47 .tBJ FIGURE Ex.1 o.. )...33 It (4 in..4 . 10.and FZ (fraCture zone).11 .· · . Hunt (2005) grouped rock cl~ssification systems into those that are reiatively simple." :. 2. . ASTM sponsored a symposium focused on the different rock mass classification systems in use at that time (Kirkaldie. Ex. ir Goint).. Solution: Data from the fieldis show~ in Fig.. From Fig.. Other .Note the symbols used: In (bedding joint). .. 1998.7ff(1433 mm)ofrock core. 4.s· 1 2. 4. .1'10.. X 100 = ...1'~.. or a total of 2...Clay. There is a reasonably well-defined relationship between the velocity index and RQD.X 100 =51% 4.4/4..4· .. .( .6 + 0.·. MB (mech!micalbreak).7 X 100 = 51%. . fi. ·:. In this section we summarize four such systems. The "simple" classification systems depend primarily on rock quality designation and velocity indexoeThe velocity index iscomputed by dividing thein situ velocity (reduced by rockdefects) by the laboratory-measured seismic velocity on an intact piece of the rock.: I .: .. and its strong points as well as its weaknesses were described. .9 o. as sh6wriiii Fig. the lengths of core along the centerline great~r tha~ 4 in..) Required Compute the RQD.2'10.e·· -i . Sum of length of pieces 2:: 0. : . " 1 0.4' .S. and those with more complex algorithms.:···... ' ... properties.': ·. Example ...=. ~.·.7 • . ~. and RF (random fracture).MBJT JT? BJJT FRACTUREZONE (After U. the RQD is 2.(: - .. dent on one or two properties.....5 + 0..l. · .. . : . -~-?'S~--=z---=t:±A~Missing..-_.4. k----- I.· : .s·· . · · . o. ''·.1988). 4.•..1.. The rationale for each system was explained by its developers. . ... .7 ft.. and squaring this ratio. Dept.4 + 0. Recognize that these types of general classifications cannot be used for any detailed evaluation of rock engineering ·.1: .5 + 0. '.4 ft. With a total core run of 4. ·1 0.. .. : u3· .'" .symbols that may be used are:IJ (incipient joint)...1 . . Ex:4'.· : . Ex. Table 4.. depen. of Interior....8 shows typical classifications based on RQD and velocity index.. '-· ) . Given: . IF (incipient fracture). .. Prior to developing the ASTM (2009) Standard Guide D 5878... Minerals. Soil and Rock Structures.1 BJ JT JT .) RQ D = · 1" . .· (total length of core run) · .r :. . . see ASTM (2009) standard guideD 5878 and the papers in Kirkaldie (1988).

• ' • • ' > ' : • ' • : ' ! ' . and nature of any fillings' (e. ·and density. .25 . brokeii rockorclay) in fnictures/ : . and a stress reduction factor. T. RQD.. condition and orientation . ' ~ ·. : only planes of discontinuity separating them. arid rock bolting. .system also includes adjustments that consider the effect of the-orientations of strike and dip in tunneling arid adjustments . seismic stability of roof rock.9. The RMR rating can then be correlated to ground Jngineering practices.based on a matrix of rock structure versus surface conditions.8 Rock Mass Classifications Bas~d'6n RQD ~nd V~locityinde~ ' RQD. . _·l_.%·· 90-100 75-90 50-75' ..40 . .'--. slopes. as the degree of interlocking among rock pieces.. . joint alteration (filling).40-0. such as niquirements'for excavation support and tunnel support..c . ripability. . As shown in Table 4. . but it has also been used for underground chamber support requirements.4. Basic elements of the URCS are given in ASTM (2010) D 5878.:. The Rock Mass Rating system (RMR)-sometimes called the Geomechanics Classificationwas developed by Professor Z.and Classification of Rock. and these "pieces" may include relatively intact rock with .these.g.60-0. · An excellent example of the use of the GSI for a heterogeneous rockm~ss (flysch)is given by Marin<. 1988). devel<. ..The"Q" comes from the rock' mass quality (Q) arid is based ·on six input parameters: RQD. • .------· -.on four. (GSI) provides more reliable estimates of the. however. parameters. . Structure is defined.80 0. . Surface conditions have to do with the rough~ess.·-. The RMR classification . discontinuities. strength and deformability of rock masses for tminds.20-0. tionshipbetween geologic structure and slope or excavation orientation. spacing. a rock mass is characterized according to the intersection of. The o~system was developed from case histories of tunnels in Scandinavia where the rock is mostly granitiC. The RMR is based on six parameters: uniaxial compressive strength of the rock.. foundations. but has also been successfully applied to mining. • . ' ·: ' ·•.·'..·. Bieniawski in the early 1970s (Bieniawski.number of joint sets.60 0. degree of weathering. as well as to foundations and the blasting characteristics of earthen materials. The GSI system.00 0. fundamental properties: oegree of . :. joint roughAess.>ped by Hoek and Brown (1997) and extended by Marinos and Hoek ·. and groundwater conditions. . 159 · ~ TABLE 4. were less successful iri applying these classifiCation systems to massive rock at great depths and also tovery weak rock masses. ' for mining applications. It was originally developed for tunneling. These . Velocity Index 0. .13 Properties. ·The Q-system or NGi System was developed by N. Barton at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute for selection of reinforcement and support systems for. . ·and it relies . The Unified R~ck Classification System (URCS) was pattern~d after the Unified S~ii Classification System (Williamson and K~lm.· .· · · . authors. . For each category a point total or rating is assigned. and · · . amount of water. (2000). imd this is used to categorize the rock. Good. .' After Hunt (2005).>s and Hoek(2000) and Hoek (2007). They suggest that the Geological Strength Index. · weathering. is .. the URCS has apparently been · successfully applied to excavations and slopes.---·· --·~ . .(' . 198S)..80-1. tunnels in rock.. uniaxial compressive strength.· .·. Marinos and Hoek (2004) note that RMR and Q are q~iteOKwheri behavior is controlled by sliding and ro!ation on discon~inuity surfaces with relatiydy 'tittle faihire of the intact rock. two criteria. -. Macrostructure. as well as rock strength . " . 25-50 o. Although it ignores the rela. ripability imd excavatability of softer rocks.. Masses r. of discmitinuities. : Description of Rock Quality Excellent· .

: ..'. structure and.'1---:--. Persistence of bedding planes . surface condi. Do not try to be too precise.0 0 0... mass with mixture of angular .i multi-faceted angular blocks formed by 4 or more joint sets ... . o· 01:Jl 0 g OP:: (/'J .~~ .. 1'\ . .. 0 '-' :.f--.:::..a..· categories. .content will be reduced if water is present.ztl...' ' 0 :VERY BLOCKY. estimate the average · value of GSI.~ ~ P... .. I:J) ~ . ·Of bJockiness due tO close spacing of weak schistosity or shear planes 160 o"'·e -oG ... r• ro N/A BLOCKY..:::. <t> 8 N/A '(! } } ( A 11 I } I } I .... Note that the table does not apply to structurally controlled failures..' : : tions of the discontinuities..d ...... The ~ shear strength of surfaces in rocks that are prone 0 to deterioration as a result of changes in moisz Cl ii. < ' ' Geological Strength Index Classification System GEOLOGICAL STRENGTH INDEX FOR JOINTED ROCKS (Hoek and Marinos.: .. . I:J) "0 ~ ~ s ~ "' ro "O<l:: .-.. - :§an"' ..VJ~··· ~ ~]... folded with angular blocks formed .1 . When working with rocks in the fair to very poor ~ 0... p.::: .. ] ::. "' .. From the lithology.. l " ! ~ 0 ~ i ~"'.intact rock specimens or massive in situ rock with few widely spaced discontinuities· : · DISINTEGRATED -'poorly interlocked... BLOCKY/DISTURBED/SEAMY... I 1 .. .ioooj "0 -5 ~ ~ ..Vi8 :.. "''~' effective stress analysts: · ::> ..: . Where weak planar ~... Quoting a range from 33 to 37 is more realistic than stating that GSI = 35...' ' ' '{ v JC } ~ } f } ( t--. and rounded rock pieces ..~ t3 3 .. by many intersecting discontinuity' ' · sets.d 0 gf. p:. ro ~ '§. ro £ ·"0 <t> s 2 g:. .. Wate~ pressure is dealt with by ·~ . a shift to the righi may be made for ' : ~ .· ~· these will dominate the rock mass behaviour.se 'tf. .§ ~ <nl!J c:: 8 .... oO. · · ~ ' of cubical blocks formed by three u~ intersecting discontinuity sets ~ tl..... . or schistosity ' ' '.--'.interlocked... LAMINATED/SHEARED -Lack.E !3 § </).: ~ 8 wet c?nditions..' J TABLE 4. ....> ~ ~0. ~~ 'STRUCfURE rill I I e.... c=:::> · ')i ~>._.0 "' ro ~ ..:: ~ ·~ ca"0 ·~ !:2. structural planes are present in an unfavourable orientation with respect to the excavation face....::: g: VJ'-' 0 ...well interlocked un: ' · : e:l · disturbed rock mass consisting··. ' : •CJ · partially disturbed mass with 2..d :::l >.::: 0..§ o ] .._ '"' ro "0 . heavily broken rock· ..S. e. 1. .f----'--:f--< - •' J 'i From Marinos and Hoek (2000).. INTACT OR MASSIVE. .: .9 ' ' • ' j " '~..... ~ 8 ::. :.] :'52 0.>..•. ' ~. ture .E ' p:.

What would be the effect on' T(increase.4 Describe the following types of bonding agents fourid .with clay minerals.(After c.e. remain the same) if the mixture had been deposited in salt water having a high pH? Determine the effect on T by looking at the individual effects on . (c)) JJ:m. and seiJ them commercially.11 At a site near San Francisco Bay.10 A client has ~property that she thinks contain~ chiy minerals of sufficient quality and quantity that it may be possible to mine the clays. the..9 Given the particles in Fig.7 A specially processed clay llas particles that are 500 nm thick and 10 000 nm X 10 000 nm wide. the illite and kaolinite.30. process them.8 Let T be. Assume for the latter cas~ that Ps ."•' (b) Brucite · .4. would you wear to a tog~ party? Why? 4. She requests that you visit the property. ' ._ed with kaolinite that depositedin fresh water at pH~ 7. they look like thin bricks stacked perfe~tly parallel).5mm in diameter. . obtain samples. is it realistic to show that all the particles are in conta'ct with each other for · · this given plane? Any given plane? Why? 4.. decrease. assuming · that the soil is at 100% sattinition? · · · · · ' · '·co·'\:· · · (b) Another sample ofthe clay is mixed such that the cation valence is +2. c. With what you know so far from the first four chapters.5.6 Which sheet. 4. .. . (1) outline the field and laboratory procedures that you would use to find the clay type. ~n.'Problems 161 PROBLEMS ~fa~uti'e' (a) 10mm.. (b) ping pong balls.65 Mg/m3• 4. and it is desirable · now to strengthen the dredged material. '.What are the new void ratio and . (a)Sm~~tite . 4. Bay Mud has been dredged and redeposited as a slurry.5 are reasonable. crystalline or. 4.dge spacing remains 400 nm and that s = lOO%. (a) Hydrogen bond ·(b) Covalent bond (c) van der Waals forces (d) James bond (e) Ward Bonds (f) War Bonds . and estimate the approximate quantity of day available. Ladd. the cation valence in the double layer is +1. Also list any important distinguishing characteristics.2 . and (2) outline the procedures you would use to find the extent of the clay materials on the property. (c) ball bearings 1. · · . (b). Explain your answer. Calculate the specific surface of (a) tennis· balls.i .! (j) Chlorite 4. 4.) · · · · 4. determine the type of clay or clays present. The specific gravity of solids is 2..3 Describe briefly... . · (a) Initially. (c) Gibbsite· . How many particles per cm3 will there be at this spacing? . ·4. Calculate the specific surface in terms of both are~s ~nd m2/kg. What chemical(s) additives could be used to improve the strength and other engineering characteristics of this slurry? • '· .= . Verify that the maximum arid minimum void ratios for perfect spheres given in Table 4.80.2. resulting in a face-to-face spacing of 1500 nm.: l thicknes~ of a deposit of illite mi. . and (d) 1 nm'o~ a side.What are the void ratio and water content. . the layer 4. silica or aluilli~a. •: (d) Attaimlgite (e) Bentonite (f) Allophane ' ' (g) Halloysite (h) Illite (i) Mica ._. '. The particles lie perfectly parallel with an edge: to-edge spacing of 400 nm (i. atomic structure of the following ten minerals. and (d) fly ash with approximately spherica1 particles 60 11m in diameter. water content under these conditions? Assume the edge-to-e.1 Calcuhite the specific surface l ·~ '~ ·.

-l : t ~' : ' ·. What chemicals could be added to the slurry to enable it to gain in strength in a shorter time · ' than would be possible without. personal communication.. RI. ·"' so 125 125 shill. a length of 60 in.' '. : .Describe the fabric of a relict structure soil.14 Can a soil have a low void ratio and a high density at the same time? Explain. ''. Kirk.' ' ' l ·. and (b) the ROp. 4.·:· 1·'J \ ·. The idea is to develop areas above the water surface for future construction.16 In one core run of 1500 mm selected from cores obtained during drilling for'a bridge foundation in hard limestone.100.· :': . ·. was recovered and the RQD is 100%.' '... Finally. . .'' : ' Determine (a) the percent core recovery. and Rock Classification 4. and the computed RQD is 82%. For the second run (middle). The length of the first (top) run is 56 in.32.15 Three sections of rock core are shown in Fig. the chemicals? ' · · · ·· · · 4.12 In many areas of the world. 150 . . · 4. 4. the third run (bottom) is also 5 ft long and the RQD is 95%. In what part of North America would such structures most likely be found? · ' .. j L' ·. " . .·. . 'i' ~>·'·. ': . and is called Corbormite (Capt~ James T. 2007).. Soil and Rock Structures. ' ' 4.'= Sum=· )' ~ '· ·' ' . the following core recovery information was obtained: · · Length of Core Pieces > 100mm Core Recovery (mm) ·2so··· · so so 150 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\ . Verify that the calculated RQD values for the top and bottom runs are correct..Chapter 4 162 Clay Minerals. ] II 125 75 ·100 150 . ' <' \ .75 100 125 JOO ..·. what is the rock quality? Why? r.· 100 100 . ' . . B~sed on this RQD. The rock comes from nearCumberland. . . . soft clays are dredged from a coastal area near the sea and placed inside con~ tainment dikes with wiers for water to escape... .13 .

. these structures. and failures of even moderately high embankments were common. However. try to'stabiliz(/oi improve the erigineeiing properties of the.ndations io the geotechnical conditions at the site. Methods for stabilizing poor foundation soils will be briefly described at the end of this chapter. field pavement engineering and graduate-level geotechnical engineering. . earth dams. occasionally been used. stabilization methods are usually mechani~at or cliemicat. ' . In some countries even 163 . . -~ ~ . thousands of years.. we are primarily' concerned with mechanical stabilization or densification. highly compressible. It would seem reasonable in such instances to simply relocate.· considerations other. people carrying small baskets of earth and dumping them in the embankment. or calcium chloride. buteven thennal and electrical stabi.1 INTRODUCTION ·· · · . prior to the 1920s. the structure or. asphalt. There was very little ··attempt to compact or densify the soils and rocks. ' '. Which approach provides ''the most economical solution will depend on the specific circumstances of the project. ' . Of course. .for . They niay be \veak. lime. Compaction and stabilization . Often iri dvil6ri. lization have.to adapt the· structure's fmi. the resulting embankment will have poor stability and probably will experience large and undesirable settlements.soils at the site. Ch~mical stabilization includes the injecting or mixing into the soil of chemical substances such as Portland cement. also called compaction. One possibility is . tion. -: . or considered. . and levees along rivers. In fact. In this' chapter. ..gineeri~g p~actice the s~ils at a given site are less than ideal f~·r the.. earthworks such as levees and diversion dams have been built .that is. If soils or rocks are loosely dumped or otherwise placed at random in a fill. for example in ancien( China of India. and the civil engineeris forced to design for the site at hand. 5 I'}' 5. However. ' C' H A P>T E R ' . Chemical soil stabilization is usually covered in advanced courses in highway and air. People walking over the dumped materials compacted and thus densified the soils. Another. facility.are especially impoitant when soil is used as an engineering material. ' . Examples of earth structures include highway and railroad embankments and fills. intended construe. were constructed by. possibility is to . or have a higher hydraulic conductivity than desirable from an engineering or economic point of view. than geotech~i~al often govern the location of a stnieture. the structure itself is made of soil. embankments were usually constructed by end-dumping soils from wagons or trucks.

by frost a~tion. the standard laboratory compaction test that he developed is commonly called the Proctor test.6) and (5. 5. In the field.2 COMPACTION AND DENSIFICATION Compaction is the densification of soils and rocks by the application of mechanical energy.7) Relative compaction. i. It may also involve a modification of the water content as well as the gradation of the soil. 1933). In his honor. sometimes called the optimum moisture content (OMC) Maximum dry density Field dry density Symbol (%) D.SOILS 'I . . common compaction 'equipment inch. . . . . . by compaction: ' ~ · •· . . 1967). · •• •' · · . 9.Eq. ' .. Bearing capacity of pavement subgrades can be increased.. .5 and 5. . •· Soil strength can be increased and slope stability improved. "sheepsfoot" rollers.' .Eq. ''' ' Undesir~ble volume changes-cau~ed. 5. ·~welling.80665 m/s2 Depth of soil improvement for dynamic compaction Relative density. .3. Fine-grained soils may be compacted in the laboratory by falling weights and hammers and by special "kneading" compactors and may even be statically compressed iri a laboratory press or loading machine.. . · Our understanding of the fundamentals of compaction offine-grained soils is relatively new. rubber~tired'rollers. Even large free-falling weights have been used to dynamically compact loose granular deposits and fills: These techniques are described later in this chapter (Sees. ' THEORY OF COMPACTION FOR FINE-GRAINED . . hand-operated vibrating plates and motorized vibratory rollers of various sizes are very good at compacting sand and gravel soils. H L M (%) (%) (%) Pdmax M/L3 Pdfield M/L3 Mg/m3 Mg/m3 Id RC Wopt or· OMC 5. and shrinkage of fine~ grained soils~ may be controlled. but research has shown that they are not very good at it (Meehan.164 Chapter 5 Compaction and Stabilization of Soils elephants have been used to compact soils.ides hand-operated tampers. . In the field. Detrimental settlements can be reduced or prevented. Specifici:tlly. • • • • • 5. Granular soils are most efficiently compacted by vibration. Considerable compaction can also be obtained by pioper routing of the hauling equipment over the embankment during construction.6). (5. Rubber-tired equipment can . Proctor in the early 1930s was building dams for the old Bureau of Waterworks and Supply for the City of Los Angeles. for exampl~. Dimension Unit Definition g L/Tz D L .4) Drop height for dynamic compaction Index density or index unit weight. R. ·' . Hydraulic conductivity can be decreased.m/sz M Acceleration due to gravity. .. . The overall objective of compaction is 'the improvement of the enginee'ring properties ~f the soil mass. . The following symbols are introduced in this chapter. and he developed the principles of compaction in a· series of articles in Engineering News-Record (Proctor. and other type~ of motorized compaction equipment (Sec. (5. .9) Optimum water content... (5.9). also be used to densify sands.Eqs. R.

0333 ft 3 . (457 mm) '• 12 in. Designation T 99 and T 180. modified ·Proctor test. .CompactionJor Fine-Grained Soils 165 ' . ·• c -B ·::: A B \·. Compactive effort is a measure of the mechanical energy applied to a soil mass. Methods A. . ·..).. The ASTM specifications for each' test •'are given in I Table 5.5 mni) sieve' "5. '· 12 400 ft-lbf/ft 3 12 400 ft-lbf/ft 3 . Army Corps of Engineers to better represent the compaction required for airfields to support heavy aircraft.5.75 mm) sieve' (4.5 lbf (24. number of drops per layer.AASHTO has four methods (A-D) for different mold sizes arid niaximum'pariicle size of the.5 lbf (24. respectively.4 sieve 9:5mmsieve 19mmsiev'e •I d After ASTM (2010).5 N) . (2) water . In the laboratory. During impact compaction. (305 mm) 12 in.soil sample. 'I '(944 Cm3) (944 Passing No.'" L 5 3 3 3 25 25 25 25 56 .. or kneading compaction is usually employed.. . a steel rammer is dropped several times on a soil specimen in a mold. developed' during Wod. .-(3) compactive effort. you should know that there are.' : : No. Passing No. Dry density and water content you already know from Chapter 2.) In British engineering units. the standard and modified tests differ only in terms of the rammer weight.0333 ft 3 (944 cm3) 5. number of layers of soil. and (4) soiltype_(gradation. II' .LThe modified test was... 1 12 400 ft-lbf/ft 3 (600 kN-inlm3)' • (600 kN-rn!ni3) ' (600 kN-rnlm3) Material : ' . 4 in.. (102 mm) Mold volume· '0.).. .:They are determined in the laboratory . (102 mm) . :525% by mass retained •'on. as shown below in Example 5. height of drop._ 0. Compactive 11 · effort . 56 000 ft-lbf/ft (2700 kN-rnJci3)' (2700 kN-rn!m3) '(2700 kN-rnlm3) :s25% by mass '' 'r~iained on . (102 mm) 6 in. and C depend only the gradation of the soils to be ~onipacted.4' · · Passing 3/8 in. No.4 N) 10 lbf (44.. . content w.5'mm sieve .4 N) 5. for standard and modified effort.. and number of layers of soil placed in the mold. on Specifications for. or N-m/m3 (Note: 1 N-m =·1 joule. See 1 'AASHTO (2010) for details.1. (152 mm) ·'· Layers Blows per layer 0.4 ·Passing 3/8 in. Instead of three methods (A-C). '.andinthefieldasrequired:· ...0333 ft 3 ' 0. 10 lbf (44. As indicated in Table 5. standard laboratory compaction tests in common use: the standard Proctor test and the.5 N) 18 in. ' Rammer weight 5. . Proctor noted that compaction is a function of four variables: (1). . ..5 N) 10 lbf (44. impact (or dynamic). It has units of energy per unit volume. . .1. I '4 in. . .. . . (305 mm) Mold diameter 4 in. vibratory.. so compactive effort iS'eiisily calculated.5 lbf (24.:. B.r II by the U..~. 3 56 000 ft-lbf/ft 3 56 000 ft-lbf/ft 3 . 9.... (457 mm) 18in. height of drop.0333 ft 3 -•> .075 ft 3 (2124 cm3) cnh Passing 3/4 in..II 0.. I sieve :") (19 mm) sieve ' '. (102 mm) - 6 in.. Passing 3/4 in. etc... (457 mm) 18 in. D 698 and D 1557. The mass of the rammer. that are very similar to the two ASTM compaction tests. .. two. retained on 1 '' 19 mm sieve . compactive effort is ft-lbf/ft 3 . the most common laboratory type.d 'Ya.• ' " ·' :525% by mass . .retained im . . ·-·' .5 (9.75 mm) sieve. · · · ' · · :i. . (9.075 ft 3 (2124 cm3) .dry density Pd. . (305 mm) 4 in. . :525% by weight i _:s30% by weight .·· c . · !s30% by weight .preseilce of clay:minerals. . . (4. (152 mm) .' 4 sieve . AAS'i-ITO (2010) also has two standard compaction tests. · (19 'mm) sieve mm) use·'.1 Modified Effort (ASTM Test Method D 1557) Standard Effort (ASTMTestMethod D 698) Test Method A . and the volume of the mold are specified.> ·' : "··· 5 56 ·.4 N) : Height of drop 12 in. First.Inth'e field. compactive effort is the number of passes or "coverages': of the roller of a certain type and weight on a· given volume of soil. . 0. ''retained ori' . th~ Tho Proctor Laboratory Compaction Tests TABLE 5. retained on . static. (944'cm3)': '. .3 Theory·of.

ii ..g'units.. ·. the total or :wet density and the actual water content of each compacted specimen are measured. The soil is placed in three layers.' .· ·· Exampl. a . . Sometimes this is called the .the r~m~er 'is 24 N (rammer mass is 2495 kg X 9. of course. ' ~ '.· ft-lbf/ft 3. as ASTM calls it. . (24 N)(305 mm)(3layers)(25 blows/layer).-:- 5.. I . b. Typically. specifications given in Table 5..1 ·.\ ' • '. .. !'.. compactive effort or. . as ASTM calls it. .1 ). •••"' ·. Standard Proctor test specifications (seeTable 5.1 Process of Compaction . and the height ofdrop. . of the rammer is 305 mm.'·. • :. '· · · . 600 kN-m/m3. 12. . for example.'' .0333 ft3 '= 112. . Do this for'the 102 mm diameter mold:·' ·· ·' · .·.. . = 24 N).375 ft-lbf/ft 3 .k~ow that the weight of. : . : ·: j '.1.1. .3. and each layer is tamped 25 times. '·' ·:: :Calculate the compacti~e effo~fin both SI and British Engineerin..kN-m/m3 · · 944cm3 · · '• -· · or.1· ·· . .' •• 1 \. . · . . · Compaction and Stabilization of Soils ASTM Standard Practice D 4718 discusses how to calculate the densities and water contents of soils containing oversize particles when you know the data for the soil fraction with oversize particles ·removed. . :- • -: . .. Required: .e 5... the calculation of coinpactive effort is not so simple. From Table 5. . ferent water contents."rock correction" factor. . ' 1 ' > : .1 for appropriate dimensions and AppendiX A for relevant unit conversion factors. Several specimens from the same soil sample are prepared at dif-.5lbf (lft)(3)(25) = · 0. The practice is valid for soils with up to 40% retained on the No. . · . ":·~ . equivalent to 600 kJ/m3• ' . The volume of the 102 mm diameter mold is 944 cm3• Therefore the compactive effort ~s ' .. ..- a .. : • ··· " · : '·' :' ) ~ '!' l · · Solution: See Table 5. the tamp~r applies a given pressure for fraction of a S(!COnd. For other types of compaction. . The kn(!ading action is supposedto simulate the compaction produced by a ~'sheepsfoot" rolier. . The process of compaction of fine-grained soils can best be understood by looking at the common lab:' 'oratory compaction or Proctor test. and it may also apply to soils with up to 30% retained on the 19-mm sieve (ASTM.400 5. .81 m/s~. = 59l. . This is.166 Chapter 5. British engineering u~its: . In k~eading COmpaction.. . · .: SI units: . • '' ' : : : : 1 '. Given: : 1 ...and·other·types of field compaction equipment.. .. In static compaction.f .2010).r. The dry density for each sample can then be calculated from phase relationships we developed in Chapter 2. Theneach specimen is compacted accordingto the Proctor'compaction test .: 'we . I .the soil is simply pressed into a mold urider a con~ stant static stress in a laboratory testing machine.4 sieve.

. . the dry density curve starts to fall off. 5. At this point.2.a compactiOf1:.ompactive effort is obtained. as shown in Fig.6) t :p Pd = 1 167 . and usually atleast'four or five indiv~dual compaction tests are required to completely determine the compaction curve. . in Fig.1 . OMC).. The' water content corresponding to the maximum dry density is lmciwn as the optimum water content (also known as the optimum moisture content. and five layers tamped 25.2 5.. and since Pw << Ps. 5.this tesiJ. a greater height of fal1(457 mm or 18 in. A shows the results of a staQdard Proctor test conducted on a sample o'fglaciai till from Indiani.: . ~d modifi~d w(%) Procto'r com'paction curv~~· .• Standard for Crosby B till. then ll curve called . but at the same time the optimmn water content decreases. 'as the water content increases. The peak point of the compaction curve is an important point. .!tilizesa heavier hammer (4. 'Water content... . Curve B in Fig. we eventuallyreach a water conte~t'where'ih.':.. Recali from Table 5.. ' ' (2. This process tends to "lubricate'? the particles imd makes it easier 'for them to b'e moved about and reoriented into a denser configuration.a 102 mm (4 in. . However.3 Theory of Compaction for Fine-Grained Soils ::._·Mt v p--:- .'Note that increasing'the compactive effort increases the maximum dry density.. as expected. of each specimen are determined and plotted versus' th~ir respective water. curve ' ' . This is an import~nt observation'that we will use later in this chapter. ~ '(j) c: Q) (B) Modified Proctor "C ~· '0· .This curve is unique for a givensoil type.) or 152 mm (6 in.)'diameter Proctor mold.: larger and larger water films develop around the soil particles. (2.1. method of compactimi. ' '' ' .e density does not increase any further.· Why do we'get compaction curves such as those shown in Fig:5J? Starting afa low water content.). -( -' .~ ' ' ' \ y. FIGURE 5.Not~ that the maximum dry density is only a maximum for a specific compactive effort and method of cmnpai:tion: This does not necessarily reflect the maximum dry ' . ·. density that can be obtained in the laboratory or in the field.times into either. curve for the particular Proctor c.5 kg or 10 lb ). . Q. E~ch-data point on the curve represents' a single compaction test. For example.1 thai.. .. 5:1 is the compacticm curve obtained by the modifiedPro~tor co~paction test on that same glacial till s~il. and (constant) compactive effort.14) '' +w When the dry densities. water starts to replace soil particles in the mold. contents.

. · · ·. The water content-density relationship indicating the increased density. Degree ofSaturation 3 .' . _______. Also shown on Fig. · . PwS pa=-. (Densities are also given in British engineering units.1 is the line of optimums (LOO). ' · · · · · . w (%) · ·'· .ompacted :•. .c. . 5... 5.. · Also shown in Fig. And this is true even for higher compactive efforts-for example.4 Mg/m3 (80 to 150 lbf/ft3). Soil is a silty day. (2.S is about 75%. 5. PI = 14. c: Q) 0. This is the line or curve drawn through the peak points of the compaction curves determined at different compactive efforts. 1960).1 are curves representing different degrees of saturation of the soil. Note. Compaction and Stabilization of Soils Density Pwet• as _ __ . . 5<:l: . standard Proctor compaction (after. compacteddry ~ plus mass of ' water added "'-§. we can derive the equatim1 for the'se theoretical curves..1.• . ·c. 5. .3.168 Chapter 5.2 ··:.... LL Sallberg. · ..15). ".'Even if you keep adding water to the sample.. but on the same soil. with an outside maximum range of about 5% to 40%. · .1.1) The exact position of the degree of saturation curves depends only on the value of the density of the soil solids Ps· Note that at optimum water content for the soil in Fig. .' (5.. that the compaction curve.! I . .· · . .Johnson and. t'. even ~thigh water contents. .2 Typical Values. never actually reaches the curve for "100% saturation" (traditionally called the zero air voids curve). From Eqs.i- ·'..FIGURE 5. ' · · :. it will never quite become completely saturated. .}' 5.. too.-w + Pws Ps .6 to 2. = 37. curve Bin Fig. · 1. . Water content. .. Typical values of maximum dry density are around 1. ··~resulting from the addition of water and that due to the applied compaction effort .0 Mg/m3 (100 to 125 lbf/ft ) with the maximum range from about 1.12) and (2. because you are likely to encounter them in United States practice. .3 to 2.) Typical optimum water contents are ' between 10% and 20%.) Density when . The LOO line will be almost parallel to the 100% S curve.

3 .!.. 'Ci > . Another way to determine the water-content density relations is the chart shown in Fig.' '' '' '' '. (2. relationships for 0%. For example..54 E Ql ~ Ql 0.above to equivalent unit weight equations.67 0. Eq. and Eq.20)].e ' Moisture content. both terms may be used interchangeably.14) becomes 'Yd = yl(l + w).' 0 :::J ' ' ' . compaction properties are given in terms of unit weights rather than densities.82 '' '' '' '' " Q. S= 100% ~~· 0. w (%) .. In fact.: · ·· :.333 c: rJi 'Ci >· 0. geotechnical practice. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' . you can convert the density equations given .· 13 Cll 0 masses:. Using the principles given in Sec.3 Theory of Compactio'n for Fine-Grained Soils 169 Ofteri ill.43 'C 0. 0 - ' ' ·c: '' '' '' '' '' 90 80 ~ ' ' . (2.:' 5. now the Federal Highway Administration).10% and 20% . 2:3.-· 'l: \ S= 90%.0 - 'iii :::> i::'.in discussions of field compaction and testing.2. On this figure. ·FIGURE 5. / ~ 'C a.3. 5. especially . The ··ordinates are in terms of both density and unit weight. (2. ~ . Solution of the soil solids water-voids relationships of soil (Bureau of Public Roads. 110 1: "Cl 'Qi $: Ql ·c: c: 'C c:- 0 1.9: :.6) becomes y = W 11V1 [Eq.

go hack and look at Exampl~ 2. interpolate for the percent air voids between 0% and 10% and find the percent air voids equal to . 2.2 Given: Equations (2. (5. (2. Assume you obtain the values at point 0. :'. . Or . air voids (S =.1). the porosity. use the basic relationshipsfor p 'andy dev~loped in Se~.60.. You can use Fig.+ e (2. No. the maximum dry density tends to decrease as plasticity increases:' .. 2. /1 '/t Example 5.2) becomes 'YwGs 'Y d = Wsat Gs Equations (5..3) can be easily re~rranged to give useful relationship's for ~. 2.1).2) and (5.4. Eq.::. Also assume that the specific gravity Gs is 2. · "> 5. For clayey soils.w + .:_'Yw-- .2 to solve for similar compaction problems. find the void ratio equal to .r. Sob1tion: For Eq.70.28a) To convert Eq.70 for this soil.~. 5.12) and (5. G. Pw S w+Ps I'd g g: _ _. No.55. and 80%) are plotted for specific gravities Gs of 2.' Required: Convert these equations to their equivalents using unit wei~hts. 5.170 Chapter 5.(·g )s = 'Yd = .yw I'd = .0.2. Also contained on this figure are lines of wet unit weight and porosity. To use this figure.12). dry density and optimum water content as usual.. Using the nomograph in the upper right of the figure. Also.~. (5.59. n. .100%.8).8%.65._.. 'yw S Pd = Pw +S .3.md~ . g Gs If S = 100%.10. Then use the dashed lines to find that the .2. on the 0% air voids curve (or the 100% saturation curve) is ~37%.3 (5.·Yw S .: Typical compaction curves for different types of soil are illustrated in Fig.. and 2. or a water content of 17% and a dry density of 106 pcf.3) +l Wsat as a function of Effect of Soil Typeand..:.1) has a higher dry density than a more·uniform sand (SP. 90%. plot your compaction curve and determine the maximum. Notice how a well-graded sand with silt (SW-SM soil.. (5..2) w+~ .wet density is 124 pc£ Now for this point.3.Meth~d of Compaction. Compaction and Stabilization of Soils . Other useful equivalent equations are developed in Example 5.Gs 'Yw . for point 0.

. is that the soil particles break down or'degradedue to theimpactof the Proctor hammer '' ' : during compaction: This 'phenomenon causes 'an. Bureau of Reclamation. 40. .0 "" 1. c: Q) Zero air voids.10' . of the Intefior: 1990). Go back at look again at TableS. :. The presence'ofa significant amount of oversize material in earth and earth~rock fills causes problems both in tests for design and in compaction control in the field (discussed in Sec.increase in maximum· dry density 'as the material ··becomes finer grained. Sand. · Lean silty clay CL Loessial silt ML Fat clay CH.67 . The problem is that the test value may not be representative of field conditions. that uses a large compaction mold with a volume of about 0.3. . as this will give incorrect results (Torrey and Donaghe. .. 5.5..2 and 4.3.4 9 36 15 26 2 . Clayey sand SC · . ..04 m 3 (U. . . '64 85 22 6 LL PI .. .7. The curves will have different shapes and positions on the Pd versus w plot.53 • Theory ofCompaction for Fine-Grained Soils 171 2.. i6. 22 28 .7 Cl ' 1. 1994). 5.1 M' ~ 2.. ':}.· ' · Compaction behavior of fine-grained soils as described in Sec.. 3.6 5 Water content.·r PoOriY graded salld SP.o' ~ Q. ' ' ' FIGURE 5.2 2. w (%) ' ' Soil No.. .12). Gap-graded soils also present problems for compaction · · tests and theirinterpretation: · · :: ' . Dept. 5. _ Silt ..1. . method USBR 5515.'~ontent-d~y density relationships for eight soils compacted according to the standard Proctor method (after Johnso~ ~md Sallberg. ':NP NP . What do you do if the percentage of coarse or '.1960).1 is typical for both field and laboratory compaction. . iri which the saine soil is compacted under different conditions.2). 9 33 . 15·. but ·in general the response will be similar to that shown in Fig.. · ·· Another problem with compaction tests on especially 'coarser-grained residual soils (see Sees. that is. 100% S '0 2:. .U.S. Parenthetically this is the reason why both ASTMD 698 and D 1557 specify that compacted soil cannot · l ·· · be reused for subsequent compaction 'testing.:.4 Water. You should never replace the coarser fraction :·!·'with' an' equivalent mass of finer-grained soil.9 'iii 1. <·16 ·. ' . The standard and modified· Proctor laboratory tests were developed as a · standard of comparison for field compaction.8 '. . to see if the rolling or compaction was sufficient..· Description and USCS Symbol .S.l and note the limitations in terms of particle sizes for the use of theProctor compaction tests (last row of the table).'oversize" material is greater 30%? One possibility is to use the compaction test procedure developed by the . . i ···NP . Sandy lean clay CL . Well~graded sand with silt SW~SM · Well-graded silt SM · · :: .

- ~ 110~--~~~-+----~----~--~~----r----1-----j .§ .. more oriented. near or . · !.8 . 5 Cl ~ ·u. 6 coverages. of the Interior. U. if the compactive effort is increased. the soil type.' . even dry of optimum. Research on compacted clays has shown that when they are compacted dryof optimum. ~ {-1. Again.. 1959). Procedure 5510) as well as larger laboratory kneading compactors. the fabric at point D will be somewhat mor~ oriented than at point B. Dept.. as the water content increases.. however.and Chan.sheepsfoot roller.'5. 1950. 2000 psi. for example. Usually the __water content of compacted soils is referenced to the optimum water content for a given type of compaction.I 5. as mentioned. 25 FIGURE 5. c CD 1.· :' .6 "C· ~ _Cl 1. 5. and as cited byLambe and Whitman. 1970. soils are called dry of optimum.b~cau~e"the standard laboratory compaction is a dynamic-impact type. (2) ·modified Proctor. a sample at point E is more oriented ' than at point A.172 Chapter 5 Compaction and Stabilization of Soils 120. 5. .---~--~--------~--~------~--~ 1. . the soil tends to become ..c :::. . Wet of optimum.'-STRUCTURE OF COMPACTED FINE~GRAINED SOILS : •'!c' The structure that results from the compaction of fine-grained soils depends on the method or type of compaction. the fabric at point . (5) field compaction. at optimum. (1) Laboratory static compaction. :. the type of compaction has a significant effect on the soil structure and thus on the resulting engineering properties of the soil. whereas field compaction is essentially a kneading-type compaction. 1969. the soil structure is essentially independent of the type of compaction (Seed ·. 1990. In Fig. referring to Fig. 6 passes. the soil fabric ...4 •.6. At the same compactive effort. This difference led to the development of the Harvard miniature compactor (Wilson. or wetofoptimum.6.7 .. · (4)1aboratory static compaction. 200 psi. .. Now. (After Turnbull.S. (6) field compaction. · . Wet of optimum..) The approximation to field ~ompaction is not exact.9 1. the compactive effort applied. and on the molding water content.or dispersed. Dry of optimum fine-grained soils are always flocculated.1949. whereas wet of optimum the fabric becomes more oriented. Field compaction control procedures are described in Sec.5 · Comparison of fi~id and laboratory com pactio~. · Note: Static compaction from top and bottom of soil sample. (3) standard Proctor. becomes increasingly oriented.. rubber-tired load.) (See also USAE WES. Depending on their position on the compaction curve.C is more oriented than at point A. :The real structure and fabric of compacted clays is about as complex as the fabric of natural clays described in Chapter 4..5 90~--~~~--~~--~--~--~--~--~ 10 15 20 Water content(%).

.. _·. :· . .described in Sec. and these arebriefly..· . . effect is less significant than dry of optimum.ordinarily donotneed additional compaction. _ . n{ese parti~les have no inherent cohesion. Theyare easily moved froma looser into adenser configuration or packing through vibration. . and water coli tent. . .Chapter 6. . equipment and its frequency and amplitude of vibratiop.• . : .· .10. . .. We discuss the effects of compaction on shrinkage and swelling characteristics of soils in . dense mated: . field procedures include the number of passes of the vibratory equipment. thickness of the lift or layer being compacted.6 • Effect of compaction ·.diffe~ent procedures.' ·· · · 5. ·· · · . · . .5 ' COMPACTION OF GRANULAR SOILS '._ .: ®: i tI .3.. . compressibility of compacted clays is discu~sed in Chapter 8. . 5.5. For compacted fills.: . . 4. as we have seen. .. .. . . . the structure depends ()n the molding water content. .. on soil structure {after Lambe. available for. compactive effort . 5. Hydraulic conductivity of compacted clays is described in in Chapter 7. and (3) procedures used in the field: Soil characteristics include the initial density.. . and the towing speed. _ . the shear : . . · · . . · The engineering properties of compacted fine~ grained soils.5. . Equipment characteristics include the mass and size.5 :Compaction of Granular Soils 173 . strength properties of fine-grained soils are discussed in Chapter 12. because. of the vibratory.• . . ~hile the·. grain size distribution and particle shape. . The thickness of the layer · · 1 . 1958a) . . . dry soils are easier to densify than wet soils. it should be obvious that densification applies only to loose granular materials. Sometimes the frequency and amplitude of vibration are varied to improve· densification. alth~ugh the.als...vihrator. This is true both in the laboratory and in the field.5.. m<derials. Because a clayey soil compacted dry of optimum has a wate~ deficiency.6. frequency of 'the..2.. 5. of granular. . . . deperid greatly on the structure and fabric of the soil. Several . Compaction ofrock fills is discussed in Sec. I \Low .than uniform materials. they are large enough so that gravityforces between particles are greater than surface forces (Chapter 4). 1 compactive '"effort . and type of compaction.'.Water content. Field compaction equipmentisdiscussed in Sec. ·Finally. are. From our discussion of granular soil fabrics in Sec. . its structure is more sensitive to change than if it were compacted wet of optimum. Well-graded materials are generally easier to compact . similarly. FIGURE 5. o_r deposit a!soiriflu7nces densification. densification of deep deposits. The variables that influence vibratory densifi~ation' are the characteristics of the (1) soil and (2) equipment.> · · · F We mentioned earlier in this chapter that granular soils are mostefficiently compacted or densified by vibration.

) • . Pdmax . ·. . The penetration resistance values are roughly ~~- . The corresponding densest possible condition of that soil is· the minimum void ratio (einin) and maximum dry density (Pamax)· . Consequently. free~draining granular soils containing a maximum of 15% passing the 75 11m or the No. .-:-.7) d The maximum-minimum index density tests are applicable to' clean.4) emin . mum and minimum index densities and index unit weights as . 1973).I'd max . loose. .10that granular soils can have a rath~r wide range of void ratios and densities. > •• . (5. Since these materials are very sensitive. Laboratory test results are often highly variable and operator-dependent. fcir 15-35%. the maximum and minimum dry density of a soil obtained from ASTM standards D 4253 and D4254. the soil is classified as very loose. Therefore. = max ~inax - . The density index I a is the ratio. . different kinds of penetrometers are used in engineering practice that test the soil while it is still in the ground (or in situ). . to everi the slightest vibration. .1 Relative or Index Density Recall from Sec. ' · · ' ' .X 100(%). . the maximum and minimum index unit weights are also defined.. is very difficult..the absolute maximum or minimum density values. and >85%. •': . one is never sure the sample has the same density as the natural soil deposit. • : j > -~ '. . Often in practice it is useful to know just how loose or how dense a sand specimen or granular soil deposit is relative to the maximum arid miriimum possible conditions. This leads to the concept of index density (or index unit weight).(Selig and Ladd.Pdmm· or !1' I 1. 35-::-65%. It is us11ally expressed as apercentage. ' . is: forD..5) • The parameters Pd max and Pd min are. Index or relative density can also be stat~d in' ~en~s of maxi' . especially at depths greater than a few metres.of a natural soil deposit very strongly affects its engineering behavior.(Ya~a~):x 100 ···· ''· l'd::_l'amin · /'dma~. respectively. The corresponding void ratios are emin• the /minimum index void ratio and emax• the maximum index void ratio. medium dense. Index · density is defined as ' · · e D.6) ' = Ya. Even the ASTM (2010) tests. very dense. 4. thus they are called maximum and minimum index densities. under the assumption that it has not been significantly disturbed. : Pa.Y~min . · · · (5. D 4253 for maximum density and D 4254 for minimum density. Determination of the maximum and minimum values is not so easy. grain size distribution. and the fabric of the soils.. For completeness. is used to compare the void ratio e of a given soil with the maximum' and minimum void ratios./'dmm (5. expressed as a percentage.·. .I'd min ' - ' • I'd .<: 15%. · . The actual range depends on the grain shape. dense. (5. 'v'=<tlpd~:d·~·llpd':>~ 100 ~·. of the difference between the value of any given dry density (or unit weight) and the minimum dry density (or unit weight) to the difference between its maximum and minimum dry densities (or unit weights)>In equation form: .' ' . An approximate density classi~ fication based on D. :Compaction and Stabilization of Soils 174 5.e ·.-:.: '·. · .. also co~monly referred to as relative density. The relative density .5. X 100 (%. 200 sieve.\ . . Sampling of loose granular materials.). 65-85%. .. '.Chapter 5 : . ' · llpj~i~ _: llpa:nax '. it is important to conduct laboratory tests on speCimens of the sand at the same relative density as in the field. We also defined maximum void ratio (emax) or minimum density (Pamin) as the loosest possible condition of a dry granular soil. The pj max corresponds to the minimum void ratio ( emin). and Pd min to the maximum void ratio ( emax). do not necessarily give . The index density D.Pdmin X·100 (%) 'Ia = .

The variables include energy (drop height and weight of pounder). Bob Lukas of STS Consultants about 1970 used a wrecking ball to compact loose building rubble in Chicago. In earthquake-prone areas if the groundwater table is high. (2001). in metres. the ease with which water flow through the soils. and vibro-replacement. 1980. and it is often more economical to densify the subsoils to decrease settlements and mitigate liquefaction potential. but for heavier weights and great drop heights.:5. . settlements usually control the design.5. and massive tripod cranes for lifting them to drop heights up to40 m.8) where D = depth of improvement in m~tres~ . (1980) recommended n = 0. All these techniques are obviously applicable only to new construction. Dynamic compaction was apparently first used in Germany in the mid-1930s during construction of the Autobahns (Laos. For deposits at shallow depths where direct access is possible. dynamic compaction has been used on a more modest scale by con.35 to 0. He soon found that a flat-bottom weight (either a stack of steel plates.7. The craters can be filled with sand and additionally tamped. 1980 and 1995). of the soil undergoing compaction is given by Lukas (1995) as .5 Compaction of Granular Soils 175 correlated with relative density. inundation with water (for collapsible deposits. . crane clutches. 5. 5.. densified by ordinary construction cranes. special cables.The method basically consists of repeatedly dropping a very heavy weight (10 to 40 tons mass) some height (10 to 40 m) over the site. Deep foundations can always be used. 1957). the number of drops at a single point (3 to 10). In this section.common techniques: dynamic compaction. 1975). Because densification by heavy surface vibratory rollers is usually insufficient. other techniques have been developed to measure the in-place density of compacted soils. a condition similar to quicksand (discussed in Chapter 7). Chapter 6).2 Densification of Granular Deposits When structures are to be founded on deep deposits of loose granular materials. For a detailed discussion ofthese and other soil improvement · methods. Figure 5. Improvement is claimed to depths down to 40 m. Dynamic Compaction. About the same time. these deposits are susceptible to liquefaction (Chapter 7).7 shows a pounder just impacting the 'surface of a loose sand layer. It has also been used in the USSR to compact loessial soils up to 5 m deep (Abelev. followed by consolidation (discussed in Chapter 8) and rapid densification. 1936). but they are relatively expensive. The impact produces shock waves that cause densification of unsaturated granular soils. other techniques must be employed that carry the vibratory energy to greater depths. will . These techniques include. and the degree of saturation. W ·= mass of tamper in megagni~s. vibrocompaction and vibro-replacement techniques. and the pattern of the drops at the surface (5 to 15m center-to-center).6 'depending on the soil type. : The value of n varies from about 0. and stronger booms are required to avoid damaging the crane. In saturated granular soils. we discuss only the most . or a steel box filled with concrete) was more effective. In the United States. or the area between them can be smoothed out by the pounder itself. vi bracompaction. and blasting is used only at very remote sites needing densification. Leonards et al. · n = an empiricafcoefficient that is less than LO~. In North America. These techniques are discussed in detail in Sec.D = n(W>< H)vz (5. Eventually this site will look like a set of organized moon craters. among others. and compaction piles. · . densification by blasting. Modest depths can be . Menard also developed v~ry heavy pounders (up to 200 metric tons mass) . dynamic compaction was further refined and promoted in France and elsewhere by Louis Menard (Menard and Braise. dynamic compaction. ·· H ~ drop height in metres. tractors using ordinary equipment (Leonards et al.5. as we shall see in the next section. see Hausmann (1990) and Holtz et al. Lukas. The depth of influenceD. the shock waves can produce partialliquefaction of the sand.

Leonards et al..Chapter 5: 176 Compaction and Stabilization of Soils ''. _. • I. tion is most often done by specialty foundatiop contractors.. .thin clay layer will absorb much of the dynamic' energy arid prevent densification of the loose sands belo\V it. shown that there is a limit to how much 'improvement is possible. ..: • . Research has. mine spoils. •. . i. .·:'energy applied per unit of surface area.• Techniques Louis Menard. .' •I. '(1980Yalso found that the amm. Not all soil deposits are conduCive to dynamic compaction. · · '·: ..' I . .. ' ~. loosely dumped fills. and even garbage dumps have been succe~ullydensified with dynamic compaction. The heavier the weight and/or the'greaterthe drop height. even with heavier weights and greater drop heights.7. ·Dynamic compaction at a site in Bangladesh . .drop height. even a. Clean granular deposits. . Lukas (1995) noted that the mass of the tamper.. and the number Of drops at each grid poiiit location all influenced the ~pplied energy and therefore the effectiveness ·of the densification. (courtesy of S. . Lukas (1995) gives detailed information on the design of dynamic compaction: Actual construe·· · ·· ·· .. . . · · Longjllmeau. Varaksin.. grid spacing.1 'FIGURE 5. Densification of stratified sites also has not beeri yery successfuL For example. especially if a significant percentage of fines is present or if the soils have some plasticity.int of improvement due to compaction in the '·z~ne of maximum improvement correlates best\vith the product of the energy per drop times the total ·:. the greater the depth of compaction. Treatment of silt deposits has been less successful and the method is notrecomniended for clay or peat deposits. and several-researchers have tried to develop relationships between applied energy and surface area ·'-''treated. France):. .. '~.The 100-ton crane isdropping a 16-metric-ton weight 30 m .

or only under columns and footings? This pattern and the desired degree of improvement will ~depend on the project niquireinents and the experience and judgment of the geotechnical'engineer.Vibro-compaction refers to the densification of granular deposits with some •·.geotechnical engineer establishes the . in~luding numerical ' perfo~marice pn!dictions. of course. probably the oYclest vibro-compaction system. Probes are usually ~ : supported by a crane. Vibro-floatation was the only vibro-compaction system available. It is less successful in silty · deposits.uses water jets to excavate the hole ahead of the probe:Vntil the 1970s. ) · · . Vibro-replacement is often used at sites where vibration alone will not work. sand and gravel (sand-gravel columns). and that is the approximate widthof the:piate~n'ct wing-type probes. Design of vibro-replacement is very similar to vibro-compaction design described above: perform · a geotechnical site investigation and laboratory testing program. gravel columns. depending on the nature of the fill. . From a settle. Vibro-Compaction. Cylirldfical probes have typical diameters of 300 to 450 mm. · · .. Density will. because the added coarser materials reinforce the subsoil and increase strength and decrease compressibility and settlements. but typical depths . .· Design begins with a thorough geotechnical site investigation and laboratory testing program to . Often a cone of settlement 9c. and it is gradually withdrawn as the added sand and the area around the probe densifies. Depending on the site conditions and economics. MRC). and this typically involves the common in situ tests (discussed later in this book). the probe is repeatedly raised arid lowered into the probe hole.. very soft sensitive clays.:.Vibro-replacement is a little more complicated than vibro~compaction because some of the less desirable subsoil is actual replaced-or displaced-with high-quality granular '·. · are 10 to 20 m.ment analysis. It is also applicable to sites with predominantly cohesive soils. the . pattern is either square or trhingular. or beams or . Belguim (Franki Y-probe ).· Vibro-floatation. entire area. predict settlements and liquefaction . stone columns can get very expensive. mine ~p6ils. To 'provide some additional compressive strength. · . and dumped fills. or otherwise inserted into the ground.: materials or even concrete. Applicable soil deposits for vibro-compactions include sands and gravels with less than about 20% fines.:plates of various shapes. so the contractor adds·cleari sand to fill the area around the probe. Vibro-compaction is most often done by contractors who specialize in this type of work. type of a vibrating probe that is vibrated. ·: They can be tubes or pipes.5 m. Some systems have the :vibrating engine in the bottom of the probe. and develops the vibro-compaction scheme.curs 'at the ground surface around the probe due to densification.compaction requirements. organic soils and peats).. Stone columns are also good for mine spoils and dumped fills but inappropriate for garbage dumps. Vibrorod). replacement can be with sand only (sand columns). some with holes in 'the web. Since th~n. ' ' determine the gradation of the soils and their variability including macrofabric (Chapter 4).g. because they can require so much stone that the soft materials are displaced rather than replaced. . . The :· • : ·final step is to develop QC/QA plans. For example. be increased as the vibro-center spacing is decreased. and concrete columns (vibro-concrete columns). Probe. while ~the}s llave the vibrator attached to the top of the unit. a_nd the United States (Terra probe). both closed and open ended.5 : Compaction of Granular Soils 177 . was developed in Germany in · the 1930s for the construction of the Berliri subway. . rods with wings or blades attached. often called stone columns. Most systems use a constant-frequency vibrator. do you densify the :. and several different types hilVe been developed by contractors and engineers. but a few have variable vibrators that · allow the engineer to match the frequency io the resonance of the sand deposit. a number of systems have been developed in Japan (Fudo Compozer sand piles. As sand is added. Sw~deri · (Vibrowing). typicaily 12-20Hz. if the subsoils are very soft (e. peats. jetted. and it is not appropriate for clays. It has a vibrator at the bottom of the probe and • . · Vibro-Replacement. Germany (MUller resonant compaction. among others. '· 5. Typical spaCing of the vibro-centers is from about 1 m up to 3. The depth of improvement will depend on the need and the capability of the equipment. sometimes Portland cement is added to the stone to make vibro-concrete columns. · ·· . However.' and garbage. It seems especially appropriate for deposits of loose stratified sands and silts to mitigate liquefaction potential.

the pro. the definitions and methodologies related to rock fills ha~e evolved considerably over the past 4o years.2). ·. This si:Halled .5 m.the hole and vibrated with equipment inserted into the hole until the column is .: .D75 mm) material (Breitenbach. etc. Rock Fills . columns are installed in a triangular or rectangular pattern at a typical center-to-center -. .·:in Fig. '' ''' . Design of the. In the early 1960s. On typical stone column projects. including numerical performance predictions.1. and vibratory rollers are used for the 'most effective compaction results. equipment was placing the rock in 1 to 1. · 1993arid2010). Today. contractor. The treated columns are typically 0. referred to as tailings.6 FIELD COMPACTION EQUIPMENTAND PROCEDURES 5. . and that contain less than 15% minus No. . Th. In this case..· 3/4 in:(19 mm) sieve.8(a) ~nd an elevating scraper in Fig. ·. completed.1' '-.) is often done by a specialty contractor as part of a design-build project or as a subcontractor. structure that is least prone to future settlements: · . ' • ' . The probes are typically 300 to 450 rnni:iri diameter and are basically of two typestop feed or bottom feed. depth. With top feed.. ject geotechnical engineering should be closely involved.5 to 3..' a ~."sluicing" method probably had. 5. 5. rock fills are defined as those granular fills . as the desired degree of improvement will depend on the project requirements.2 min diameter.. rock fill is placed in even thinner lifts of 0. well-graded rock fills will tend to provide the densest. Successful :installation of stone columns usmllly' requires. thathave at least 30% by'dry w'eight of clean rock (i.vibro-replacement scheme (pattern. A self-l~ading scraper isshown . Sometimes "do~ers'~ ar~ ._ ' spacing of 1. 5. Sometimes water jetting is used similar to vibro~floatation . steel drum or rubber-tired rollers. in depth. 1963).3 to 0. Like other compacted fills. The chamber is closed.. exch. . a hopper hoisted by a crane. to help load the . . design the vibro-replacement scheme.6.·. spacing. This stabilization of rock fills results in saferand more economical embankment designs. thestone. .. The goat'is a free-draining rock fill with a rock-to-rock contact structure that will be effectively compacted by vibratory compaction devices (Sec. Early embankments made of rock fill were often placed in large single lifts 10 to 50 m (35 to 165ft) . This testing led to more objective rock fill grad~tion classifications and also'provided performance data on the use of smaller lift thicknesses for' compacted r?ck fills.. 5. if appropriate. At a site where the hole can be drill~d and will remain open for some time.3 . small charges of stone are repeatedly dumped into .1· Compaction of Fine-Grained Soils Soil to be used in a ~ompacted fill is excavated from a borrow area. between 15% and 35% of soil volume is ·replaced. to aid in advancing the probe (wet method).Chapter 5 . and selfpropelled scraper~ or ''pans" are used to excavate the..into the hole from the top and then vibrated to densify the loose materials and expand the column laterally into surrounding soft or loose soils. sify them. Power shovels. 200 (O.8(b). Lengths of columns are commonly 6-12 m.6 to 1. 1 .its origins in the California gold~mining era of thelssos (she~ard:et at.arid sand is fed. As with rock classification sy~te~s (Sec. replacement ratio..14). whiCh were not mechanically compacted but then were flooded with water in an attempt to den. 'Compaction and Stabilization of Soils 178 :.5 in (3 to 5 ft) thick iifts that were compacted by nonvibrating .e.~ecessary... . dragline~.6. 4. Today. . 5. establish the . As before.e other m~thod that became commori'withthe a'dvent'of compaction . but they can be installed up to 20m.. the Corps of Engi~eers performed tests on rock fills compacted using vibratory compactors at the 136 in (445ft) high Cougar Dam near Eugene~ Oregon.9 m (1 to 3ft). . With the bottom~feed method. ~ . the services of an· experienced specialty foundation contractor. and therefore most stable. potential. and establish the QA/QC criteria for the.improvement requirements.iding fines and organics) retained on the . borrow material. and air pressure is used to feed the stone out the bottom through a valve into the hole (dry method). or they can be derived from mine waste rock. stone and sand are fed into a chamber at the top of the probe via · . Rock fill materials are usually 0 btained by ripping or blasting rock deposits.5.

5. Sometimes a "dozer" or two helps push the "pan" to load up.8 Two types of scrapers: (a) conventional or self-loading scraper.6 Field Compaction Equipment ·and Procedures FIGURE 5. 179 . where the' elevating machine loads by itself and eliminates the need for a pusher (photographs courtesy of Caterpillar Inc. (b) elevating scraper.).

whereas the scraper mixes the soil by cutting across a sloping surface. are often used to transport and spread the soil in layers called lifts on the fill area. Once borrow material has been transported to the fill area. The borrow area may be on site or several kilometers away. Scrapers may cut through layers of different materials. Trucks may be used as well. Where possible.where different layers may be exposed. the contractor directs the earth-moving equipment over previously uncompacted soil. Unless the borrow materials are already within the desired / FIGURE 5. allowing soil types to be mixed. Lift thickness may range from 150 to 500 mm (6 to 18 in.180 Chapter 5 Compaction and Stabilization of Soils scraper. bulldozers. side dump. which can operate on and off the road.9(a)]. spread the material to the desired lift thickness.* front loaders. for example. (b) motor grader spreading and preparing fill subgrade (photographs courtesy of Caterpillar. . on or off the highway.) or so. Scrapers. Inc. 5. and they may end dump. The power shovel mixes the soil by digging along a vertical surface.9 Examples of equipment used for hauling and spreading fill materials: (a) fill material being hauled by end dump truck. thereby reducing the amount of compactive effort required later.)~ *Genus bovinas masculinus sonambulorum. or bottom dump the fill material [Fig. and motor graders.5. The hauling contractor usually tries to spread the fill material when dumping in order to reduce the spreading time. called blades [Fig. depending on the size and type of compaction equipment and on the maximum grain size of the fill.9(b)].

the soil may need to be wetted. Equipment is available to apply pressure.. dried. although occasionally contractors use farm implements such as disc harrows for. Usually motor graders and dozers are used to spread the soil to facilitate drying or mixing. (b) rubber-'·' tired roller (photographs courtesy · of Caterpillar Inc. .10 shows two types of rollers.10 Ty"pes of rollers: (a) smooth-wheel roller.). ' (b) FIGURE 5. impac('vibration. . ' . c The kind of compacting equipment .6 · Field Compaction Equipment and Procedures 181 water content Tange. Figure 5.· · . this purpose. or othe'rwise reworked.~ < • '. and kneading. · ··.5. .or rollers used on a job will depend on the type of soil to be compacted. .. ~' · · ' .

The sheepsfoot roller is best suited for compacting fine-grained soils. roller [Fig. and impacted.11. 5. with ground contact pressures up to 400 kPa (55 psi). The sheepsfoot roller starts compacting the soil below the bottom of the feet (projectingabout 150 to 250 mm from the drum) and works its way up the lift with each successive pass of the roller. Like the smooth-wheel roller. \J .•. and tire pressures may be up to about 700 kPa (100 psi). The pneumatic or rubber-tired roller [Fig. Chapter 5. 5. gravels.3 to 1.11 FIGURE 'Self-propelled· sheepsfoot roller.13). depending on the drum size and whether the drum is filled with water. These rollers compact similarly to the sheepsfoot in that the roller eventually "walks out" of a well-compacted lift.182 _.. . Because of the8% to 12% coverage. or drum. The compactors ~eigh 13 800 to 18 200 kg and are 1.coverage (80% of . The mesh roller is ideally suited for compacting rocky soils.. With high towing speed. 5. Still-another type is the mesh. · · . The area of each protrusion ranges from 30 to 80 cm2 (5 to 12 in. all designe~ to b~ towed by a tractor. or grid pattern. and compacting of a rather wide variety of soils. The most common use for large. The drums come in several diameters and weights. as its name implies. compacting . 5. and sands. has many round or rectangular shaped protrusions or "feet" attached to a steel drum. Eventually the roller "walks out" of the fill as the upper part of the lift is compacted . These rollers are usually towed in tandem by crawler tractors or are self-propelled.oped in Australia by Broons. Another development also suitable for wide variety of material is the "square" or impact roller devel.A heavily loaded wagon with several rows of four to six closely spaced tires is self-propelled or towed over the soil to be compacted. Other rollers with protrusions have also been developed to obtain high contact pressures for better crushing. The sheepsfoot roller.~c. ~nd may be used on all soil types except rocky soils. ranging from 1400 to 7000 kPa (200 to 1000 psi).2 ).. .12) have approximately 40% coverage and generate ·high contact pressures ranging from about 1500 to 8500 kPa (200 to 1200 psi). (photograph courtesy of Caterpill?r l. smooth-wheel rollers is for proofrolling subgrades and. . asphalt pavements.. the material is vibrated.10(b )] has about 80%. depending on the size of the roller and whether the drum is filled for added weight. : Compaction and Stabilization of Soils · • A smooth-wheel. crushed. Tamping foot rollers (Fig. as shown in Fig. kneading. . Tamping foot rollers are best for compacting finegrained soils.). the total area is covered by tires).95 m wide. The special hinged feet of the tamping foot roller apply a kneading action to the soil. very high contact pressures are possible. a 5. as well as for earth dam construction. These rollers can be either towed or self-propelled.10(a)] supplies 100%. roller with about 50% coverage and pressures from about 1500 to 6500 kPa (200 to 900 psi) (Fig. the rubber-tired roller may be used for both granular and fine-grained earthfills. coverage under the wheel. · . 5. Probably the first roller developed and perhaps the most common type of compactor used today for fine-grained soils is the sheepsfoot roller.

they have a compacting plate of about 60 to 100 cm2• Self-propelled but hand-guided plate vibrators weigh from 50 to 3000 kg (100 to 6000 lb) and have a typical plate areas of 0.13 5.).•. and their practical applications (Table 5.6.12 Self-propelled tamping foot compactor (photograph courtesy of · Caterpillar. ! " • Several compaction equipment manufacturers have attached vertical vibrators to smooth-wheel and tamping foot rollers to make them more suitable for densifying granular soils.different types of vibratory soil compactors. Figure 5.2 Mesh or grid roller (photo courtesy of BOMAG Americas.2). Inc.6 ·. Broms and Forssblad (1969) have listed the. compaction is accomplished by rammers ("jumping jacks") and vibrating plates of various sizes and weights.5.' 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Compaction of GranUlar Materials l .). Inc. In areas where the larger rollers cannot operate.4 m2 to 1 m2• · .14 shows a vibrating drum on a smooth-wheel roller compacting a gravelly material. FIGURE 5. . their mass and frequency of operation. . Field Compaction Equipment and Procedures 183 FIGURE 5. Rammers are motorized but hand guided and weigh between 50 and 150 kg. Effective 'compaction depth for even the larger plates is less than 1 m. .

Fills below floors. and embankment compaction on highways. .14 Vibratory roller (photograph courtesy of Dynapac. tandemtype 250. Trench fills. mounted on tractors. Fills (soil or rock) used as foundations for residential and industrial buildings.2 Types and Applications of Vibratory Soil Compactors 'fYpe of Machine. 200-300 '(400-600) Up to 20000 · (2o tons) 30-70 10-15 Vibrating rollers: Self-propelled. ··. retaining and basement walls. 4_000-25 000 (4-25tons) 20-40 Tractor. sidewalks parking areas. hand~ guided· · (100--600) Multiple-type. streets. Fills behind bridge abutments and retaining walls. etc. etc. Fills (soil or rock) used as foundations for residential and industrial buildings. garage driveways. airfields.etc. streets.'- • i . etc. Trench fills. 'o . '~ ' ' Base.:. subbase. Mass. Trench fills. Fills behind bridge abutments. subbase. Fills behind bridge abutments. etc. TABLE 5.). '' Base. ~ After Broms and Forssblad (1969). Base and subbase compaction for highways. handguided (one or two drums) Self-propelled. Fills below floors. Compaction and Stabilization of Soils FIGURE 5. 30-80 Self-propelled. Crane-mounted" Applications >:e10 Street repair. Base.20-50 .and rock-fill dams. Rock-fill dams.7-10 tons) .184 Chapter 5 . etc. and asphalt compaction for streets. 1500-15 000 (1. garage driveways. parking areas. retaining and basement ' walls.. Inc. subbase. airfields. Base. kg (Weight. rubber tires .··.drawn . subbase. etc. and embankment compaction for highways. parking areas.:::1500 (500-3000) 40-80 700-10000 · (0.:. streets. etc. lb) Frequency (Hz) Vibrating tampers (rammers): Hand-guided 50-150 · (100. side~ · walks. Deep compaction of natural deposits of sand. Street repair. ' . 12-80 Base and subbase compaction for streets.• "Only limited use. and asphalt compaction for highways.300) Vibrating plate compactors: 50-3000 Self-propelled. sidewalks.5:-15 tci~s) . Earth. parking areas. Fills below floors.

The frequency at which a maximum density is achieved is called the' optimum frequency. and it changes as the density increases during the process of compaction. when oscillation is added to a static component. 1977). the density is significantly increased. the upper 300 mm of medium dense sand may never become denser than the initial density. For example.5.This phenomenon is also illustrated below.) layers of silty sand. However. 125 2. · Soil conditions are also important.15 Compactio'n results on 30 em (12 in. and. with and without vibration. 22 1. For example. ~ 'iii c: ~ 1. 5. It is desirable for a compactor to have the capability to vary its operating frequency and to have the range required to obtain maximum density.::: '0 1. Characteristics of the compactor • Mass • Size • Operating frequency and frequency range • Amplitude of vibration 2. Construction p~ocedures: • Number of passes of the roller • Lift thickness • Modification of the vibrator frequency during compaction • Towing speed The compactor characteristics influence the stress level.6 · Field Compaction Equipment and Procedures 185 As discussed in Sec. . 6 ·Ql ~ ' ~ . as cited by Selig and Yoo. several . The initial density in particular strongly influences the final density. 5.. Characteristics of the soil • Initial density • Grain size distribution • Grain shape · ·.68 FIGURE 5. It is a function of the compactor-soil system.:::: . density increase. 1962.84 'iii 115 C:· Ql '0 0 . Note how a peak in the density-frequency curve develops for most of the soils. The influence of operating frequency for various soil types is ·shown in Fig.15. on a percentage basis. whereas dense sands will become looser in the upper 300 mm. • Water conte~t ·• 3. and depth of influence of the dynamic force..16.76 0~ 110 105 10 12 16 18 14 Water content(%) 20 .. They include: 1. even clays.variables control the vibratory compaction and densification of granular soils. as shown in Fig. a wide frequency range is not all that important.· 5. 5. the peaks are gentle.00 1.92 &>' &>' 120 @. using a 7700 kg (17 000 lb)towed vibratory roller (after Parsons · : et al.

construction procedures essentially govern the results. ·..16 and 5. :. Sand\ystil = 1"' 1 1· .40 Well-graded sand I Cohesive sandy gravel ---j~--\ : 1401--1 12. 1. adding the dynamic component results in increased density.'§hown in Fig. After the compactor is chosen... Not so obvious is that.40 m thick layer fines a . The influence of the number of passes of a roller and the towing speed is shown in Fig. Symbol· •· Rollerwt: 7500 lb 3400 kg v '7 7500 3400 <> <> 5800 2630 7710 X 3600 1633 17 000 X 8600 lb I I 'I 3900 kg I 2.. . ~-"" Ii.24 I ~-~.·· · The effect of lift thickness may be illustrated by the work of D' Appolonia et aL (1969)'.Cl . Also.-xt--x I_.i~-~ _--. up to a point.i--:--' I L D ~o --o I Gravel-sand-clay I sand I Il Gravelly GravellyI sand. -~· i SandJclay.16 Variation with frequency of compaction by smooth-drum vibratory rollers (after several sources as cited by Selig and Yoo. ·I Fat clay ~--"\..18. I I I .•:(>< ~~~~---+1 ----~+1 ----=x~~---~ ·\ I I / I Clayey soil x I 110 II I -~ r . . a higher density is obtained if the vibrator is towed more slowly! The results in both Figs. 2000 Vibration freque'ncy (cpm) - Vibration frequency (Hz) FIGURE 5. - . I' . 5.17 indicate that vibratory compaction can work even in materials with some clay (Selig and Yoo. for soils compaCted on the dry side of optimum. for a given number of passes. 1977)._ 1-::::--Siag 130 "'E ~. I \ . ..L 100~tl Uniform sand ' . \ .. 5.. ~ ..186 Chapter 5 · Compaction and Stabilization of Soils · Symbol A fl. 9.. 1000 I. . .5 Hz was used to compact 2.16 for a 7700 kg roller compacting a fat (high LL) clay and a well-graded sand. '1977)..60 I: I 1.Fat clar i .I . Notice how the density increases as the number of passes or coverages increases. 1 ::0 I ~ 120 c: Q) -c_ 2:' .44 .A?670 kg roller operating at a frequency of27. j· 90 •.. .I . 1.. o----<:l o----o 150 Roller wt. 5.

Roller cgverages of northern Indiana dune sand. The initial relative density ~as about SO% to 60%.45 m (18 in. · ·· · ..' '. there is not a great increase in density. Superimpose that drawing over the original one. 5.r __.). Note how the density varied with depth.. 1977). Five coverages of a certain roller anc! operating frequency.• Solution: Using the data shown in Fig.52 (a) Fat clay (moisture= 21%) (b) Well-graded sand (moisture = 7. Actually. thereafter the increase in density tapers off. Required: Determine the maximum lift thickness required to obtain a minimum relative density of 75%.17 :Effect of roller travel speed on amount of com. as compaction of the top layer densifies the lower layer with successive passes.5%) ..) is indicated as the maximum thickness.. ' - . 5. About 0. In the upper 150 mm (6 in. .' Given:.18.. trace the relative density versus depth curve for five passes. whereas the soil reaches its maximum density for a given number of coverages at about 45 em. paction with 7700 kg (17 000 Ib) towed vibratory roller (after Parsons eta( 1962. and slide it up and down until the desired relative density of 75% is obtained (shown in Fig: Ex.3 . Field density tests were made in test pits before and after compaction. as cited by Selig and Yoo. the soil is vibrated loose. however. Example 5. .3).-· -- ---·- . (:'.·.6 Field Compaction Equipment and Procedures 187 1. FIGURE 5.· 5. . When compacting past fiveorso coveniges. the lift thickness could be greater.

: '. 1969). .---.. FIGURE 5. using 5 roller passes FIGURE Ex.Relative density(%) 60 70 80 50 0.c a Ql 0 90 .----.. 0 IE. · . 5. g. '·.<:"""-'---------'--------' . " 'I rt I 0 5 6 L----.1...5 in.. g2 22 ~ 3 !--OJ k$'7'51 I £:. 188 ·! .---.. v . · · ··· ·· 27.___ Minimum allowable relative density = 75% 3 .. c3 1 · ••·· Relative density(%) 60 70 80 90 ~' g2 . .~-.·'' ... :. 40 90 60 70 80 Relative density(%) 50 100 40 50 Dry density (lbf/ft3 ) 95 100 oro 60 70 80 90 .5 Hz for a 240 em (94. .... 4 Density-depth relationship for large lift height ·. _. . .) lift height. Relative density(%) 100 Dry density (lbf/ft3 ) 105 95 110 100 105 11 0 0~------~------~------ ) .3 Approximate method for determining lift thickness required to achieve a minimum compacted relative density of 7S% with five roller passes.• .' .<.18 Density-depth relationship for a 5670 kg (12 500 Ib) roller operating at . using data for a large lift thickness (after D'Appol~nia et al.

sses (Le. 19n). Static weight. This equipment enables engineers to produce more s~able embankments' by increasing fill strength. type. kneading Grid Vibratory • I • Smooth steel drums Static weight. Further. primarily due to the development of vibratory compactors. static roller weights of 8000 kg on level ground. vibration Static weight Static weight. when properly compacted. 5. sound. Such materials need to _ be identified early on. kneading. These "zones" are not absolute. expressed as percentages of clay to sand to rock. are recommended.9 m (1 to 3 ft). kneading ' ' Towed tamping foot Static weight. vibration . Shales and other softer or poorly cemented· sedimentary rocks may be susceptible to weathering and degradation· in service. Improvement is claimed as deep as 5 m. and avoided if possible. operating at 20 to 25 Hz and at a roller speed of about 3 kph (Breitenbach.5. with 4 to 6 passes per lift seetimi as the optimum coverage. The roller has three lobes. FIGURE 5.S. Hilf (1991). and a minimum dynamic force of 80 000 kN. even when they appear to be sound at the time of excavation' and placement.6 5. of the Interior (1987.but should be thicker than the nominal diameter of the maximum rock size. . Compactor and zones of application · 100% Clay Sheepsfoot 100% Sand Type of compaction Rock Static weight. Arrny Corps of Engineers (1999). · ' As discussed· in Sec.. kneading Static weight. . after placement and prior to compaction) are typically 0.6. Inc. 1993).3 to 0. For additional information on the treatment of rock fills. hard.19 summarizes the applicability of sarious types of compaction equipment as a function of soil .4 ·compa~tion. A rule 'of thumb is that the maximum rock size should be two~ thirds of the loose lift 'thickness. and durable rock' is best for rockfills: However. placing and compacting rock fills' have evolved considerably in the past40 years. satisfactory embankments have been constructed of poorer quality rock. 1998). Jansen (1988). and U.6. and the shape is reminiscent of a three-leaf clover.of Rockfill If available. 5. Vibratory smooth steel drum rollers have been found to be niost effective for compacting rock fills.19 Applicability of various types of compaction equipment for a given soil type (modified after Caterpillar. Equipment recently developed in 'Europe by LandPac specifically for compaction of rockfill is a towed 12 Mg compactor with a noncylindrical roller. kneading High-speed tamping foot Static weight. see U. kneading . .2.3 Field Compaction Equipment and Procedures 189 Compaction Equipment Summary ·' Figure 5. the methods for. impact.5. Loose lift thickne.S: Dept. and it is possible for a given piece of equipment to compact ·satisfactorily outside the given zone..

Desired engineering properties_ . . volume changes due to frost action. conducted on samples <?f the proposed borrow nmterials to define ·the engineering properties ·required for. .·': · ·· · ·· · · · Figure 5.. and the results of these tests . to be sure their compaction procedures' were OK. ·· Strength. Good specifications will assure the engineer (and thus the owner) that ~ satisfact~ry emb~nkment will be constructed·. str~. Compaction control . control of the contractor's compaction process is essential to obtain a satisfactory design and the desired performance of the project. If the contr~ctor did their ·own tests. Design problem Examples: earth dams. there is a difference between quality assurance and quality control (QC).such as levees imd earthdams. both are done. compressibility. As you may know. QA only is common for most compaction jobs.20 illustrates the "system" commonly used today for earthwork and other types of compaction projects: D-epending on the design problem. Use laboratory standards to determine the Pdmax and the RC. and quality assurance (QA) of the compaction to ensure that the con~ tractor has in fact satisfactorily performed the compaction work. 2.Appropriate control of the compaction process depends on the compaction specifications.. · ~1 . the. but on some large earthwork projects . swelling and shrinking soils. The two-way arrows ·. ' i ~ ' ' :: I 6.become. highway and railroad embankments. and it is the design engineer's responsibility to prepare specifications for the project. etc. The specifications also includtdield compa~tion control tests. The design engineer should also be responsible for the construction. 5. Laboratory tests on proposed borrow materials Use to determine the desired engineering properties in item 2.· • levee. conduct these -tests to insu~e that the contractor actu~lly adheres to the compaction specifications.------~ 3. . e'xample of QC. hydraulic conductivity.· · · · · · · · . Construction c~ntrol inspectors then. FIGURE 5..190 5.20 indicate that these items are interdependent and that two-way commu·· · · · _ · · ·· · · . Examples: ASTM D 698 and D 1557 or other standard tests and laboratory standards compaction tests.•.· . between some boxes in Fig. L-~---. nication is essential to have a successful project. After the earth structure is_ designed. standard for controlling. the. fills and platforms. inspection.s. QA {~ done by the engineer 'as a representative of the owner to assure that the contractor is doing a good job.7 Chapter 5 · ·Compaction and Stabilization of Soils SPECIFICATIONS AND COMPACTION CONTROL For earthwork and other types of compaction. the engineer also prepares e~rthwa'rk and compaction specific~tions that control the construction processes and procedures. · ~ • > ' ' 1. certain laboratory tests are.~ctural. proj~ct.20 The compaction "system" in civil engineering practice. that would be an . design of the embankment or other earth structure.

to determine which equipment and procedures will be the most efficient in producing the desired prop' erties. ' . (RC) = Pd tield . and (2) ·end-pr~duet specifications. is defined as the. the type and weight of compactor or roller.lf compaction control tests (discussed in Sec. . she will be adequately compensated. ' . construction requini:ments. specifications and the field tests used to control compaction. as well as the lift thicklu:sses are specified by the engineer. both types. ' contractual requiremerits7':'"may also be similar. if you are a contractor.he will get satisfactory performance after a. ' '. or percent compactiOn re1ahve •· · . Dept. Because test programs are expensive.7..1 ' . . are often the same.owner's engiiieer.S. ' •. and.lift thickness. . •.S. expressed as a percentage. som~times called performance spe~ificatio~s. the number of passes of that roller. The contractor can estimate quite well in advance just how much the constructionwill cost. See U. .that. The .7. Method Specitic~tions~ With method specifications. in order . a certain type of roller will produce adequate compaction and fill performance. ' . treatment of tree stumps and roots. ·· · There are two other situations where a method specification is appropriate:One is where a geotechnical engineer has considerable knowledge of the local soils in an area and knows by experience.ratio of the field dry density.. some suggestions for achieving the ·most efficient compaction.. Pd max. ·: ' .• · 5. compactive efforts.• '. and maximum allowable size of material to be compacted are also included in end-product specifications.. because a major part of the uncertainty associated with compaction will be eliminated for the contractor. . and she knows that if extra rolling is required. lift thicknesses.. However. sometimes called performance specifications. ·. Peripheral .. test fills or test sections must be constructed of the proposed borrow materials using different equipment. Relative compaction.7. 5.certain amountand type of compaction. the specifiC value depends on the 'nature of the project.2) performed by the engineer fail to meet a certain standard.. requirements for site'preparation. This means that during design. .• There are basically tw~ typ~s of earthwork specifi~ati6I1s~ (1) method or p~ocedure specifications. boulders. Pd field to the laboratory maximum dry density. RC.. Then ~e give you. . etc. for example. the contractor is required to obtain a certain relative compaction. tradition. Finally we briefly tell you about ···. 01 100 . Obviously the specified lab test is conducted on the same soilas that to be compacted in the field. other organic materials. of the Interior (1998) and U. Army Corps of Engineers (1999) for a discussion of test fills and sections for designing compaction specifications.JYpical values for relative compaction are 90% or 95% of the laboratory maximum. experience. - 5.. such as the standard Proctor or the modified Proctor test. Specifications . compaction in trenches. Specifications and Compaction Control 191 In this section. considerable savings in' earthwork construction unit costs result. With. A maximum allowable size of material to be compacted as well as a maximum thickness of the uncompacted lift niay als~ be specified.. (5. ' . · " · · Method specifications require prior knowledge of the borrow materials so as to be able to predict in advance how many passes of. we discuss the types of compaction. and other . method specifications can be justified only for very large compaction projects such as earth and rockfill dams.9) The maximum dry density is determined by a specified laboratory standard compaction test. or --·· ·. or percent compaction. and runoff control~ hours of work..for example. site drainage. also known as clearing and grubbing. A maximum allowable size of material may also be specifi~d. the . With method specifications the responsibility for the quality of the earthwork rests with the owner or. are commonly used for highway and building foundation embankments. With this type of specification. . and we briefly describe the phenomenon of overcompaction and QA/QC for rockfills. Pdmax X ( to ) . ·• other situation is for compacting backfills in utility trenches. . As menti~ned above.•. then the ~on tractor is paid extra for the additional compaction. etc. End-Product Specifications and Relative Compaction-End-product specifications. location of the fill being compacted.

· index density or the Proctor-is applicable as a standard test. Destructive. it is a good idea to perform both tests. (%) 0I FIGURE 5. and water content correlate well with.7. . Pd field. it is important to keep in mind the desired engineering properties of the fill.9).21.C. control· tests can either. and thus they are convenient construction control parameters. 5. . Relative Compaction versus Relative Density. · How the field dry density and relative compaction are obtained in practice is described in Sec.80 1 100 I Density index 10 or relative density D. If some fines are present. This will usu~lly indicate which test is most appropriate for your mate'rial. '. Dry density. or in granular soils.21 .. The ASTM (2010) index density tests. . Compaction. . 200 sieve).. it shouldn't matter what equipment or procedures are used. not just its dry density and water content. be destructive or nondestructive. the engineering ·properties. A relationship between relative density and relative compaction is shown in Fig. This point : is often lost in earthwork construction control. lifts below the already compacted ground surface. It is also advisable to perform the test at least one or maybe two compacted. The economics of the · project supposedly ensure that the contractor will utilize the most efficient compaction procedures (discussed below). are applicable to soils with less than 15% fines (passing the' 75 f1m or No. The testing procedure is as follows: A test site is selected that is representative or typical of the compacted lift and borrow material. For control of the densification of granular fills. virtually all compaction projects require some type of quality control testing to be performed to determine whether the fill has been properly compacted . Typical specifications call for. Major emphasis is usually placed on achieving the specified dry density and relative compaction.'1971). whereas nondestructive tests indirectly determine · the density and water content of the fill. a field test to be conducted every 1000 to 3000 m3 (1500 to 4000 yd 3) or so. Relative compaction (R. (5.The results of these tests give the field dry density. Then the relative compaction of the fill can be determined by Eq. Because the objective of compaction is to stabilize soils and to improve their engineering behavior.2. and density index I d in Sec. or when the borrow material changes significantly. ' .:' e= oo Dry density Pdmin void ratio em ax . In borderline cases.7. 5. it is sometimes difficult to decide which type of test. especially when sheepsfoot rollers are used. and little consideration is given to the desired engineering properties ofthe compactecP fill. tests involve excavation and removal of some of the fill material. relative compaction corre· ' · · · sponding to zero relative ~ensityis about SOfo. Compaction· Control Tests As noted in Fig. D 4253 and D 4354. Pd Pdmax e· ·emin 0 100 R. 5.of cou'rse. 5.C. A statistical study of published data on 47 different' granular soils indicated that the. 5. You may recall that relative and ind~x density applies only to granular soils.) (%) Relative density and relative compaction concepts {after Lee and Singh. otherwise a Proctor compaction test should be used.2 With this type of specification.192 Chapter 5 ·' • Compaction and Stabilization of Soils . they are not the same. as long as the contractor is able to obtain the minimum specified relative compaction.20.What is the difference between relative compaction and relative density? Despite similar names. We defined the relative or index density D. very appropriate.5. the use of the relative densityor density inde~ is.

or pouring water or oil of known density into the hole (Fig: 5. = 1288 cm3 =538cm3 '· Initial Water-content information: Mass of wet soil + pan = 404. ordinary laboratory balances or scales are used to determine the mass of the excavated material. as described in Chapter 2. field inspectors may have a van or other vehicle that serves as a mobile laboratory.7. Determine the mass M 1 of the excavated material. 5.14).5. Measure the volume V of the excavated material. the balloon method. the total mass of the material excavated from the hole. . On large projects. Excavate a hole in the compacted 'till at. "< - - ' The required measurements are usually made by a field inspector or materials engineer. we can compute the field total density Ptield. the volume is determined directly by the expansion of a balloon in the hole [Fig. (5.. In both cases. 3. Compare Pd field with Pd max and calculate the relative compaction using Eq.9 g Mass of pan · . dry sand of known dry density is allowed to flow through a cone-shaped pouring 'device into the hole.9). Knowing M 1 . Other methods for determining the volume of the excavated hole are discussed later in this section. This value is the field water content Wfield. = 122. The water content of .3) instead of oven drying. . Take a water content sample and determine the water content of the soil in the fill. propane gas heaters. and determine its _water content. with fully equipped field laboratories at or near the job site. 5. The volume of the hole can then easily be determined from the weight of sand in the hole and the dry density of the poured sand (requires calibration). 5. Compute the total density.22). they return to the lab.. sometimes rapid water content methods are used in the field (e.g.4 Given: A field density t~st is performed by the balloon method [Fig. Sec. The size of the hole will depend on the maximum size of material in the fill and the equipment used to nieasure the volume of the hole.0 g .7. and the volume V of the hole. (2. On smaller projects. In the balloon method. Techniques commonly employed to measure the volume of the hole include the sand cone. In the sand cone · method.Although this procedure is the standard. from Eq. weigh the excavated material. field personnel perform the excavation and volume measurements on the compacted fill... we can obtain the field dry density of the fill Pa field. 4. 5. Example 5.the excavated soil 'can ·be determined by· conventional oven drying (ASTM D 2216). Since we also know the field water content Wfield. 2. For these reasons. . .' Another disadvantage for mobile laboratories is that laboratory ovens are usually electrical. After placing the excavated material in sealed containers. the desired s~~pling elevation. . The following data are obtained from the test: · · Mass of soil removed + pan = 1590 g Mass of pan = 125 g Balloon readings: Final . it is slow-it often takes 16 to 24 hr to obtain a constant dry weight of specimen. Specifications and Compaction Control 193 Destructive Compaction Control Tests-:-_The steps required for the common destructive tests are: 1..22(b )].22(b)].9 g Mass of dry soil + pan = 365..

194 Chapter 5 Compaction and Stabilization of Soils Glass jar with 20-30 Ottawa (or similar) sand . · .· (b) (c) FIGURE 5. (c) oil (or water) method.22 Some in-place destructive methods for determining density in the field: (a) sand cone. (b) balloon. Balloon (partially pushed into excavated hole).

Disadvantages of nuclear methods include the relatively high initial cost of the equipment..95 g/cm3 = 1. Nuclear tests can be conducted rapidly and results obtained within minutes. Basically. so nuclear testing is no more dangerous than any other construction monitoring activity.5. Water content (MJMs) X 100 (3 + 5) = 16% For calculation of dry density.86 X lOO = 9 0. more tests can be conducted. Nuclear methods have several advantages over the'traditional destructive techniques. Mass of water Mw (1. ~ ··· Pdtielct = 1. and better statistical quality control of the fill is provided. Using curve B of Fig. Therefore the contractor and engineer know the test results quickly. .538 cm3 = 1465 g 750 cm3 = 1. .9 g 6. The spacing . Solution: . .125 g 1288 :. Mt a. .. two types of sources or emitters are necessary to determine both the density and the ·water content Gamma radiation.9 g 2. Compute the wet density.68 Mg/m 3 b.3% · ·· : Nondestructive Methods-Because of some of the problems with destructive field tests. the radioactive sources are well shielded and protected by very strong cases. a radioactive isotope of cesium.·.7 Specifications and Compaction Control 195 Required: ·· a. Mass of dry soil Ms (2 .16 . (5.95 Mg/m3 . compute the relative compaction.· .. Erratic results can be easily and quickly double-checked. P ":' 1590 . 5. b. the amount of scatter is proportional to the total density of the mate'rial. and only properly trained and licensed operators are permitted to use nuclear density equipment. Strict radiation safety standards must be enforced when nuclear devices are used. Mass of dry soil + pan = 365. use Eq.1. ·Water content determination: 1: M~ss of wet soil + pan = 404. and the potential danger to field personnel of exposure to radioactivity. p = Vt . Co~pute the 'dry de~sity ~nd water content of the soil.9): R. use Eq.0 g 5.95 Mg/m3 _ +w - 1 + 0. . nondestructive density and water-content testing using radioactive isotopes have become quite popular during the past 40 years. Because nuclear tests can be performed so quickly and easily.C. ·For calculation ·of r~lative compaction. is scattered by the soil particles.1 as the laboratory standard. in modem nuclear equipment.68 Pdmax 1. regulatory documentation required to own a piece of equipment containing nuclear material. as provided by radium or.9 g 3.2) = 39. and therefore the natural variability cif compacted soils can be considered to some degree. On the other hand.4) = 243. and corrective action can be taken before too much additional fill has been placed.14): _ Pd - p 1 _ 1. An average value of the density and water content is obtained over a significant volume of fill. Mass of pan = 122.0 g 4.-:. (2.

throughout the drier regions ofwestern North . other evapo. Lytton. will be much greater than the ove_n dry water and (c) air gap (after Troxler Electronic. • . alternative field compaction control devices. North Carolina). IGURE ·· · N' · · ·d· · . a rather common occurrence . of health and safety concerns associated with nuclear densometers. rates in the soil. The measured nuclear water content F 5. · ." . there has been considerable recent development of new. (c) ." cation. The presence of oversize particles may adversely influence the results. ' .USBR test procedure is 7230:: · · Because. or even Portland (a) cement concrete. is constant. ~ ! Another factor that can adversely· influence · results is the presence of certain water-bearing .23(a) ~nd the backscatter technique in Fig. ·. The . However. content . (b) backscatter.23. Typical neutron sources are americium-beryllium isotopes. Materials can be compacted soils or asphalt concrete. both internally (system and factory calibration) and against materials of known density. ·. Filling the gap with dry sand helps reduce but does not eliminate (b) this effect. 5. Structures.. buried pipes. 2010). 5. The corresponding · numbers for. the presence of an uncontrolled air gap on the material surface can significantly affect the measurements. Two primary types of devices have . minerals such as gypsum and. as well as the administrative overhead required to document their ownership.AASHTO (2010) are Designation T238 for density. · d ·· . especially if a density test is performed using the backscatter technique directly over a large cobble or boulder. determination': (a) d-irect transmission. personal communi. America.23(b). and T 239 for watercontent. usually a scintillation counter or a Geiger counter.Laboratorie's. Detectors'·· . and cables closer than 3 m from the test point may also give false readings if not correctly adjusted for.· i. The first is a soil stiffness measurement device that uses geophysical technology to . ·· gage will giVe an mcorrect readmg of relative compaction (R L. The direct transmission method is illustrated schematically in Fig. · Detailed calibration and testprocedures are given in ASTM(2010) D 6938.23.Photon paths . ~he ' ' Inc.. a~d unl:ss properly ~ahbrated.··. uc1ear ens1ty an water.196 Chapter 5 · Compaction and Stabilization of Soils between the source and pickup.been developed. ) . Hydrogen atoms in the pore water scatter neutrons. Detectors Nuclear test instruments must be properly calibrated. '. Three nuclear techniques in common use are shown in Fig. 5:23(c)] is sometimes used when the composition of the near-surface materials Detectors · adversely affects the density measurement. · conten~. The less common air-gap method [Fig. 5. providing a means 'whereby water content can be determined.' Research Triangle Park.

Much like the nuclear and geophysical riiethods. cable's properties due to bending' (for example.. (b) multiple rod probe head in contact with spikes for measurement (frorn Yu and Drnevich. • ' . as shown in Fig.. This method also requires· ~~king fieidmeasun!ments' of ground temperature and performing laboratory compaction tests to obtain calibrati~n constants needed to analyze TDR data. This is..• • • ' • '. which is a measure of how well the soil can polarize an electric field (Benson and Bosscher. It is worth mentioning that"smart"vibrcit(. 2004).24. the soil is . . To imitate a cc!axial cable in compacted soils. the two three outer spikes serve ~s the shield conductor. • .. an electromagnetic technique that measures the soil's apparent dielectric constant. . 5. . principles of ' stress wave .• • I. . either by using . . of the transmission. However. · ·· project specific~tions. dry density of the compacted material can be obfained only when an independent moisture content measurement is also obtained.thedielectric m~dium surrounding it. For some applications. this can be done using a coaxial cable. . .rycompactors have been developedthat may eventually replace manual methods of compaction control: These compactors are based on the. so that when the pulse reaches a: diange in the. 2003). or ':' FIGURE 5. 2006). Soil deflections m:id other stress wave responses from the soil are used to compute the soil stiffness or modulus..detection devices used by the military (Sawangsuriya et al. 'an· electromagnetic one) and monitoring the velocity with which reflections return to the source.24 Field . . Stress waves are generated by a device placed on the surface of the compacted material. . . .7 Specifications and Compaction Control 197 determine the modulus of compacted materials. a three. and they a~tomatically adjust. 1999).mechanics.TDR involves transmission of a pulse (in this case. part of the pulse reflects back to the generator. ' . · . there ·are still limits on the types of soils for which this methodyields valid results (Yu and Drnevich. Correlation equations have been developed to provide 'water content and dry density from this measurement.. • . their vibratory characteristics based on soil ·. This device had its origins in landmine . However. a nuclear gauge or by taking soil samples (Edil and Sawimgsuriya.responseand input project specifications. . if it's being used to detect movement of a rock fa~lt). and. . The other type of nondestructive device ihathasbeen ?dapteci for field compaction control is based on time domainreflectometry (TDR).test procedures using TDR probes: (a} spikes being driven through template into soil surface. To 'use TDR forfield compaction control. see ASTM D 6780.5. Proponents point to gains in construction productivity. 2004). . The center spike is the centr~l cmiductor in the coaxial cable.offour-spike probe is placed in the soil. since this optimizes equipment performance and reduces repeated compaction of soil that meets cir exceeds · · · ·· · ' · ·...

the sleeve method. or the water replacement method. sometimes called the field check point method. .1). you can use the "family of curves-one-point method" (AASHTO Designation T 272). Consequently. Another problem with destructive quality control tests in earth fill containing oversize material is the size of the excavated hole and how to determine its volume. or even less). the laboratory maximum density may not be known exactly.You canalso correct the compaction test results for up to about 50% gravel by using a procedure suggested by the AASHTO (2010) Method T 224. it is not commonly done in practice.. when the field compaction control test is conducted. One solution to the problem of too few tests is nondestructive testing. geot~dmiCalengirieers have developed solutions to these problems.7. 5. One solution is to use test pits between 0. If there is toohigha'percentage of oversize material.03 and 2. Although these are standard procedures. In this approach. to conduct sufficient number of tests for a proper statistical analysis of the compaction test results. . Presence of Oversize Particles"'-You may recall from Sec. the standard procedures limit tlie amount of oversize particles permitted (Table 5. tlie volume of material involved in eachtest is an extremely small percentage of the total volume of fill being controlled (typically one part in 100 000. ' StatistiCal Quidity Control of Compaction-First. ASTM D 4564. as mentioned briefly above in the discussion of the nuclear density test. One 'possibility is to use a test fill to determine field compaction procedures and then use a method 'specification to control compaction. Lack of Knowledge of the Laboratory Standard Density-Ideally. The volume of the excavated material is determined either by the sand replacement method. Even though this is possible. 5. This method gives a fairly rapid determination of the maximum density and optimum water content of the soil excavated during the field density test.7.' These next two problems apply to destructive tests only: \ ' ' • '"Erne required to obtain the field water c'ontent . It is not uncommon. Of course. Alternatively. for a series of laboratory compaction tests to be conducted on representative samples of the borrow materials for the highway. neither is cheap or simple to perform. If the soils at the site are highly variable. • Lack of knowledge of the laboratory standard dry density ' . Consequently.3 that the presence of significant amount of gravel and cobbles in earth fill causes problems with laboratory compaction tests. for quality control of granular fills. a family of compaction curves is developed for the project by combining a series of Proctor curves for the various soils found in the project borrow areas. With these methods. especially in highway construction. • Incorrect determination of the volume of the excavated hole R: Sincethe days of R:Pioctor. this is a poor procedure. . it is possible to conduct the number of tests necessary for statistical quality control of the cmnpaction. the use of the relative density or density index as the compaction standard is appropriate. it is desirable to have the complete compaction curve for each field test. it is difficult and expensive with destructive testing . and these are discussed in the following sections. its result is compared with the results of one or more of these project "standard" soils. ASTM standard D 4914. An extra amount of soil sufficient to a a . ' . When controlling sandy or fine gravelly fills with less than 5% fines and a maximum particle size of 19 mm. Then. but this is time consuming and expensive. which are excavated by hand or machine. · Field compaction'control tests have similar problems. is applicable.198 5.55 m3 (1 and 90 ft3) in volume. ' ' . the laboratory density will be less' than that obtained in the field. Second. D 5030 (ASTM.6.controlling rockfills in Sec. . or to use the procedures suggested for.3 Chapter 5 Compaction·and Stabilization of Soils Problems with Compaction Control Tests ' Problems associated with field density tests includ~: • Statistical quality control of compaction • Presence of oversize particles . 2010).

Some experience is required to develop a "feel" for when the soil is dried out enough for the field check point water content to be less than the OMC. Principle of the check . The rapid method makes it possible to determine aCCl:irately the relative compaction of a fill as well as a very close approximation of the difference between the optimum water"content and the fill water content without oven drying. By drawing a line parallel to the dry side of optimum of curves A. 5. The soil just tested for field density. and C from a given construction job borrow area. Then it would be difficult to distinguish which laboratory curve the soil belonged to. B. is shoWn in Fig.must be placed on a smooth solid mass of at least 100 kg. If the soil was too wet when compacted.· 5. The field "check point" test result is plotted as point X on the graph. D 5080. Experience has shown that it is possible to obtain the values required for control of construction in about 1 to 2 h from the tim_e_ the fiel~ density test is first performed. efficiently determining the relative compaction of fine-grained soils is the rapid method." a reasonable approximation of the maximum dry density may be obtained..) 2. it is now a standard ASTM (2010) test method. Asphalt pavement or compacted soil should not be used.Dept.. Then a one-point Proctor test is conducted on this material.S. a point such as Y would be obtained. Bureau ofReclamation (Hilf. of the Interior (1990) number is 7240. ·During compaction." The only restrictions necessary to determine the field check point are that: 1. Developed in the 1950s by the U.25 point test. a requirement which may be difficult to achieve in the field. and C and reaching a maximum at the "line of optimums. and an estimate of the maximum dry density would be almost impossible. the corresponding U. B.7 . A ·c Q) '0 2:. 1961 and 1991 ). ~ ·c.25 .S. the mold.. as identified by the field engineer. The soil to be compacted must be dry cif optimum (AASHTO recommends about 4% dry)for the compactive effort used. one~point method works. does notmatch any soils for which project compaction curves exist. and knowing when the soil is dry of optimum takes some experience. and compacted approp~iately. then it will need to be dried. How the. Specifications and Compaction Control 199 perform a single laboratory compaction test is removed from the compacted fill during the field density test. If the soil after excavation is not well dry of optimum.Three compaction curves are shown for soils A. and the results provide the field "check · point. so a field "check point" compaction test is run. Another method for quickly and. (This is good practice no matter where you do the compaction test.Pdmax o· Water content(%) · FIGURE 5. thoroughly renuxed.

the procedure is as follows: Specimens of the fill material are compacted according to t~e desired laboratory standard at the fill water content and. say. 80 g water 1• Mix and compact as in · / · standard test 1• Measure density of · ! compacted sample .:. The main advantage of the rapid method is that the contractor has the compaction results in a relatively short time. From the wet density curve. 1959). With a little experience. 120 g water 1• Mix and compact as in / standard test · ' · 1• Measure density of ! : compacted sample ' Plot results t wet density 1+z z= M water added M moist soil ---. / • Add. slightly wet. . water is either added or subtracted from the specimen (see Fig.26). depending on an estimate of how close the fill soil is to optimum. the exact percent relative compaction based on dry density may be obtained. need be determined and then only for record purposes. say. X FIGURE 5. or slightly dry of optimum. several lifts of fill may have been placed and compacted over the "bad"or "failing" test area. 40 g water • Mix and compact as in . the fill water content. say. Time is always of the utmost value on a compaction project. Then the engineer has to require the contractor to tear out a lot of possibly good fill to ensure that the relative compaction of the j .---d:-e_n-:si. standard test · • Measure density of compacted sample • / • Add. · Briefly. . and if it takes a day or even several hours before the compaction test results are available.. 5. it is relatively easy to estimate whether the fill material is about optimum. . lime Required to Determine the Water Content-One major problem with the common destructive density test procedures is that determining the field water content takes time (several hours or overnight according to ASTM D 2216).ty_o_f_m:-o-:is-:t_s_o_il-:in:-f_ill_ _-:--:-:.. Compaction and Stabilization of Soils l' I Divide into three parts '' • Add. Only one water content. d egree of compaction o11111 = .200 Chapter 5 . max1mum dens1ty scaled from above graph.26 · Procedure for rapid method of determining degree of compaction of fill (after Seed.

• . "bad" lift meets contract specifications~ Contractors understandably are very hesitant to do this. Any kind of unevenness in the walls of the hole causes a significant error in the balloon method. soil containers should be covered with heavy paper towels to prevent damage or injuries. to ASTM D 4643. Historically. unless the hole is very large. one could judge when the soil is dry by its color and by weighing it several times to a point when the weight does not vary. calibrated gagds proportional to the water.•. The. . For example.Excavaflid Hole. 5.· 5. Table 5. AASHTO. and repeatedly weighing the specimen until a constant dry mass is obtained. but this test has its limitations and is subject to errors. portable gas stoves. a calcium carbide gas-pressure ineter.. carefully stirring the. dard procedures are listed in Table 5. montmorillonite. As with direct heating. 5310 D4643 5315 Remarks and Limitations The standard against which all other methods are judged Should not be used for soils containing significant amounts · '· of halloysite.·· some limitations ofdirect heating. marine soils· After ASTM. of course! Because determination of the water content takes the most tiine. .· soils. this results in a lower field density. .. ·hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. satisfactory results 'can be obtained. . Stan. . organi~ soils.The other problems with . results are required. but it can be used as supplementary method when rapid . method appears to be satisfactory for most soils imless they contain a significant amoimt of the minerals and substances listed in Table 5.:n_ing with methanol and the special alcoholthese two methods. the "speedy" ~oisture meter.or. Bu. vibration from nearby working equipment will increase the density of the sand in the hole. · · ·· · · · · Incorrect Determination of the Voliune of the . and the gas pressure shown on a .3lists ·· · ' . drying is approximate-generally satisfactory for silts and lean clays but poor for organic soils and fat clays. gypsum ·should not be used for soils containing significant amounts of halloysite. · .4. destructive field tests are often associated with determining the volume of the excavated material. Care must be taken to apply the heat uniformly and avoid overheating th~ specinien: By applying the heat incrementally. . In the direct heating metho((thewat~r contenfspeCimen is subjected to asource of heat provi~edby.f?r example. which means using one of the two test-pit methods with a polyethylene For a ·.heat lamps. highly organic soils. ·. Alternatively. .. ' If electricity is available at the field control laboratory.as a replacement for convection oven drying. therefore. Small. or marine deposits · Should not be used for highly plastic days. A higher density will result if the field technician stands too close to the hole and causes soil to squeeze into it during excavation. If the soil is coarse sand or gravel. the correlation with standard oven hydrometer method are also sometimes used. several methods have been proposed to obtain it more rapidly. porous pebbles in the soil sample may explode'when rapidly heated. highly organic · · ·. According. blow torches~. and USBR Standards. the sand cone was often taken as the "standard" volumetric procedure. specimen. and these along with the standard oven drying method are listed in Table 5.3.. or gypsum. an incremental approach is taken to avoid overheating the .3 Specifications and Compaction Control 201 Procedures for Determining Water Content of Excavated Material Test Method ASTM AASHTO USBR Oven drying Direct heating D2216 D4959 T265 5300 Calcium carbide gas-pressure tester Microwave oven D4944' T217 . neither of the liquid methods works well. ' specimen. · · . The water in 'the soil reacts with calcium carbide to produce acetylene gas. microwave drying is not intended . three 'of them are shown schematically in Fig. which gives a larger hole volume than it should. content. hair driers. and yet how many zones of bad compaction should be allowed in an embankment? None. montmorillonite.. · .3. can be used. or gypsum. an ordinary microwave oven can be used to rapidly determine the water content.7 TABLE 5.22. With experience.

202 Chapter 5 Compaction and Stabilization of Soils TABLE 5.27 and 5. 5. although the two test pit procedures are attempts to minimize this effect (see the previous discussion of "oversize particles"). Now that we have established the range of placement water contents. then it will be very difficult. This point illustrates why the desired engineering performance of · the fill rather than just the percentage of compaction must be kept in mind when writing compaction specifications and designing field control procedures (see Fig. 5. If the placement water content is outside the range a to c. are illustrated in Fig. where the contractor provides the minimum compactive effort to at:tain the required 90% relative compaction. same soil but at different compactive efforts are shown. . line intersects compaction curve oo.7.1 illustrate that specified densities can be achieved at higher water contents if more compactive effort is applied. in addition . at higher water contents.27. 5. the contractor might ask: "What is the best placement water content to use?" From a purely economical viewpoint.4 Procedures for Determining the Volume of the Excavated Hole in Destructive Field Density Tests Designations According to: Test Method ASTM Sand-cone Rubber balloon Drive . But. a lower strength will be obtained with . All of the common volumetric methods are subject to error if the compacted fill contains gravel and cobbles. by using either heavier rollers or more passes of the same roller. Other characteristics such as permeability and shrink-swell potential will also be different. for example as shown by curve @ of Fig. Compacting a soil on the w~t side generally results ina lower strength and a higher compressibility. water conhint would be at b. say.5 Overcompa. Thus. 7221 Limitations For fine-grained soils without appreciable coarse gravel For fine-grained soils without sharp angular aggregate For fine-grained soils with gravel For granular materials without fines . 5.5. These points are found where the 90% R. To consistently achieve the minimum relative compaction for the project. the most efficient. T191 T205 T204 USBR 7205 7206 7215 7220 . This is why it may be necessary to wet or dry (rework) the soil prior to rolling in the field. 90% relative compaction. wet of optimum. the placement water content of the compacted fill must be greater than water content a but less than water content c.ction Figures 5. '· However. For soils with gravel and cobbles For soils with gravel and cobbles sheet to contain the water or oil. Three hypothetical field compaction curves of the.' what may be best from the contractor's viewpoint may not result in a' fill with the · desired engineering properties. to the percent relative compaction.cylinder Sleeve Sand replacement in test pit Water replacement in test pit . to achieve the required percentage relative compaction specified. for example. Thus. Assume that curve <D represents a compactive effort that can easily be obtained by existing compaction equipment.19). the contractor will usually use a slightly higher compactive effort.7. e.4 Most Efficient Compaction The most efficient and therefore the mosi economical compaction conditions.27. Then to achieve. no matter how much the contractor compacts that lift. the most efficient placement watei contents exist between the optimum · · · · · water content and b. D 1556 D2167 D 2937 D4564 D4914 D5030 AASHTO. a range of placement water contents should also be specified by the designer.C. as mentioned above. if not impossible.g:. than compacting the soil on the dry side of the· optimum · water content.

5. Quality control of compacted rock fills can be accomplished using a field bulk density't~st. 5.. . 1978). You can also detect overcompaction in the field by careful observation of . 5. This is another reason that observation .10(a)].C. Also. which is simply a large-scale version of the volume replacement tests used in compacted soil fills (Fig. .. sheepsfoot rollers won't be able to "walk out" of wet or overcompacted soil. As shown in Fig. If the soil is too wet and the energy applied is too great.be done by compete~t and experienced field inspect?rs. "pumping'! or weaving of the fill will result as the compactor or ·wheels shove the wet weaker fill ahead of itself. R~ck Fill QA/QC. Thus..·. or an excessive number of passes are applied to the lift (Mills and DeSalvo. even good material can become weaker. Prior to any excavation of the compacted fill.22 and Table 5. a plywood ring is placed on the compacted rock fill surface with a typical opening diameter of 3 ft (0. c higher compaction energi~s:This'~ffect is known as o~~rcompaction.7.7 c.28(a).. Overcompaction can occur in the field when wet of optimmn soils are proofrolled with a very heavy.9 m). smooth-wheeled roller [Fig. illustrating the · most efficient conditions for field compact:ion (after Seed.27 ·••Dry density versus • water content.6 .4). Specifications and Compaction Control 203 100% saturation line Pdmax 90%R.of the compaction process should .1964). ~ en cQ) "C ~ o· I CD FIGURE 5. the volume of . 5. 5. the soil immediately under the compactor or the wheels of a heavily loaded scraper.

zation of Soils (a) FIGURE 5. Once the in-place total density is determined.. the in-place dry density can be computed. Breitenbach from www. or repair to minimize traffic impacts. resulting expression is a Pd = total moist mass of rock fill material = 1+(w-314 /100)X (%passing3J4 in.htm)./100). .10) where W-3t. and may. the moisture content of the plus 19 mm ( +Y.5 to 3ft). The plastic liner is placed in the excavated hole and anchored at the ring.) rock is insignificant. For most rock fills. shales. the backfill usually serves as a road subbase if it is paved over. so that the moisture content can be computed based on the minus 19 mm portion of the rock fill [Fig.8 to 1 m (2. This is done by anchoring plastic liner in the ring and measuring the water volume needed to fill it.geoengineer. or other absorptive rock types. These backfills cover pipes. Unfortunately. This can . 5. or other utilities and provide protection from surface loadings and erosion.org/rockfill. Breitenbach (1993) discusses dry density calculations for rock fills in which the plus 19 mm materials have some appreciable moisture content. it is equally important to compact backfills used in utility trenches. In addition. the ring above the compa~ted rock fill is determined. = water content of the minus 19 mm material. 5. 5. so that about 500 to 700 kg (1000 to 1500 lb) of material is obtained.lead to pavement irregularities and other problems with trench backfills. (b) plastic-lined hole filled with water for volume determination (photographs by A.-in.28(b)].28 Water replacement test to determine the in-place density of rock fill: (a) plywood ring for use as hole template. (5. claystones. backfilling often is done quickly after utility installation . such as weathered rock.7 Compaction in Trenches Besides comp~ctingfor fills and for preparing the ground to suppo~t f~u~dations.204 ChapterS· 'Compaction and Stabili. cables.7. Material is then hand excavated within the ring diameter down to a depth of about 0. and the lined excavation is filled with a measured volume of water [Fig. to be subtract~d latedrom the total volume of the ring and excavated hole (this can sometimes be significant due to the irregularity of the rock fill surface).28(a) shows the field sieve used to separate the fractions]. The. be done by the contractor without inspection.

5 m. It is helpful. the main .7 · SpeCifications and Compaction Control 205 What exactly . too.. ". which corresponds to a very low relative density and is not adequate (see Fig. and no wider than 4.need to be. The regulations impose restrictions for deeper trenches and are important from safety and legal point of view: If you' are involved with a trench excavation.5.2 m. If these recommendations are followed. Federal regulations regarding excavations that apply to·depths greater than · · 4 ft or 1. what is placed at the bottom and to some .. exclilsive of the top 15 em (6in. .:· . . the top 15 em should be recompacted to at least 95% relative compaction based on the modified method. a a ' ' ~ -. compactors.S. arid atleast 90%:relative compaction in the 'upper 60 em ~f the trench. geotechnical concern is the stability. The layers in the trench may be compacted with vibrating plate'. if the water.5. Flooding of the backfill materiai is not recommended as away to "compact" the soil.. .2 m figure is a reasonable depth not to be exceeded when 'Yorkers are installing util" ities in a trench at least 2 ft or 0. method (ASTM D 1557). content is a ' few percent above optimum. If you do a web search on 29 CFR 1926. pneumatic compactors. .. For a trench less than about metre wide.. if the trench surface will be paved over. compressible layer at about 85% relative compaction. Compaction recommendatio-ns for trenches . There should be at least 85% rei~tive ccnnpaction based on the modified . . .) below the pavement and the base course of a pavement. 60cin below the final ground surface. For trenches wider than about 1 m.29 Minimum compaction requirements for utility trenches for DIW> 2. .29.•. and the like. ' E u 0 10 FIGURE 5. aware of these safety considerations and strictly follow the law. .21).652. of an open excavation. 5.. '.is a trench?. ... it is recommend that it be filled with material that will "flow" as opposed to chunky dayey'chimps. The width of a trench is governed by the width· of. ' . The 1.OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) defines a trench as· a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide.6 m wide. . there should be little if any movement of the former trench area. Gravels and sands are the best backfili materials and should be compacted in lifts no more than about 15 to 30 em. Therefore. when the depth/width ratio is ~2 are shown in Fig. You will end up with a saturated.extent by the width of theexcavatiori equipment In addition to stability and settlement after backfilling. it will bring you to the U. you . the minimum compaction should be at least 90% relative compaction for all depths. · . '.

supporting a foundation. Subbase material (this layer may be omitted): 15-30 em sand-gravel. or 15-20 em asphalt stabilized sand. ~/k'///k///&Y//&Y/~ . many municipalities now require contractors to use "flowable fill. Subgrade:The natural soil at the site.5 m is usually compacted prior to the placement of the other layers of the pavement. and (9)) refer to components of a pavement system. j . Base: 5-10 em asphaltic concrete.30. and they are defined in Fig.S.15-0.30 Definitions of terms common to pavement systems. for several types of earth structures.8 ESTIMATING PERFORMANCE OF COMPACTED SOILS How will a given soil behave in a fill. holding back water. Army Corps of Engineers on compaction characteristics applicable to roads and airfields (Table 5.S.5 MPa) to withstand traffic loads. The . 5.5) and the experience of the U. 15-30 em sand-gravel base. the term CBR represents the California bearing ratio. the terms base. to backfill utility trenches. (8). The top 0.5. These materials have sufficient compressive strength (about l:-1.206 Chapter 5 Compaction and Stabilization of Soils Because of quality control and concerns about pavement settlements. 5." a very low strength concrete.G). ·7/Trrrr/Trrrr//Trrr/Tr//T//T/7 ~ ' 0 0 ~~~:~:i~1~~. The CBR is used by the Corps of Engineers for the design of flexible pavements. or under a pavement? Will frost action be a critical factor? For future reference. Department of the Interior. They use the modulus of subgrade reaction [Column (17)) for rigid pavement design. Bureau of Reclamation. FIGURE 5. but are weak enough to be excavated in the future if the utility line needs to be exposed for other repairs. 20-30 em soil-cement. and subgrade [Columns (7). subbase. we present the experience of the U."[iz~~?o[~o 8 0 0 0 Wearing surface: 20-25 em Portland cement or 2-8 em asphaltic concrete. In Table 5. In Column (16)."z:i~1~?"::it~~~. with typical dimensions and materials for each component.

2.Medium to high if not controlled by temperature and water availability Potential for poor strength and therefore poor performance Sheepsfoot and/or rubber~tired roller Note: After you have finished this book and a course in foundation engineering. is proposed for a compacted fill. Use Table 5. Subgrade b. whereas rigid pavements are made of Portland cement concrete. and for rapid checking of field and laboratory test results. Required: Consider the soil to be used as: Subgrade b. you can readily expand the information in this table. compact for low permeability and high strength but also for flexibility Sheepsfoot and/or rubber-tired roller compaction equipment c. Appropriate compaction equipment to use Solution: a.5 and comment on: 1. for choosing the most suitable compaction equipment. Earth Dam 1. Frost potential Medium to high Low if covered by non-frostheaving soil of sufficient depth· 3.ring practice is best shown by an example. Foundation support for a structure a. Engineering properties Medium compressibility fair strength CBR S. Appropriate Sheepsfoot and/or rubbertired roller Low permeability.5. upper layers of flexible pavements usually iire constructed ·of asphaltic concrete.8 • Estimating Performance of Compacted Soils 207 . . 3. ·The use of these tables in enginee. Example 5. classified as a CL according to the USCS. Structural Foundation Acceptable if compacted dry of optimum and if not saturated during service life . Suitability Poor to fair Useful as central core 2.5 ' Given: A soil. Earthdam c. They are very helpfuf for preliminary design purposes. The overall suitability ofthe soil Potential problems of frost Significant engineering properties. 15 4. 4. A good reference for the design of pavements is the · • book by Papagiannakis imd Masad (2008).

. I• Symbol · Major Divisions (2) (1) ' •. . Fair to good Silty sands. Silty gravels.. ' . . suffiX d (e. organic silts ' '(:f.AND···· GRAVELLY SOILS GP lct G~ ·.:: :::. . .. GMd) will be used when the liquid limit is 25 or less and the plasticity index is 5 or less.208 Chapters. Notes:.. Poor..·:: Red Good Fair to good Poor Poorly graded sands or gravelly sands.g..5 Characteristics Pertinent to Roads and Airfields · Value as Base Value as Subgrade Value as Subbase When not Subject When not Subject When not Subject to Frost Action · to Frost Action to Frost Action (7) (9) : : .. the suffix u will be used otherwise. little or no fines Fair to good Fair Poor to not suitable lct I I ML SILTS AND CLAYS LLIS LESS THAN 50 CL OL ~ Green lllli CH OH . . 1. sand-clay mixtures Poor to fair ." . ~ ·-· Not suitable ' Not suitable ' ' '' Not suitable After U. Finishing.~· Compaction and Stabilization of Soils . lean clays : Organic silts and organic silt-clays of low plasticity MH f. plasticity. a combination of t~o types may be necessary. In some instances. because variable soil characteristics within a given soil group may require different equipment In some instances. division of GM and SM groups into subdivisions of d and u are for roads and airfields only. 2. . :f...::.. In Column (13).. little or no fines Good to excellent Good Fair to good Good to excellent Good . ·:··. . Subdivision is on basis of Atterberg limits. Fair to good Good Fair Poor to not suitable Good Fair Poor to not suitable Well-graded sands or gravelly sands. Rubber-tired equipment is recommended for softer materials subject to degradation.· · . . ' Orange Peat and other highly organic soils Poor to fair Poor to very poor . sandy clays. Noisuitabl<! Not suitable Organic clays of medium to high · plasticity. Steel-wheeled and rubber-tired rollers are re~mmended for hard. . silty or clayey fine sands or clayey silts with slight plasticity Poor to fair Not suitable· Not suitable Poor to fair Not ·suitable Not suitable Poor Not suitable Inorganic silts. Not suitable Inorganic silts and very fine sands... . GREATER THAN 50 . . a.. Not suitable .--------. GW GRAVEL . .Excellent Oayey gravels.?" :o. little or no fines :::.'q. . Inorganic clays of low to medium . gravel-sand-clay -·~ I U I FINE· GRAINED SOILS Well-graded gravel~ or gravel-sand mixtures... micaeeoas or diatomaceous Poor fine sandy or silty soils. . .'•--•' __ . angular materials with limited fines or screenings.•' .---------· mixtures SMt- sc SILTS AND CLAYS LLIS . . . . . fat clays Blue . Processed base materials and other ang~lar materials. b. little or no fines Yellow I GC (6). ~0. gravelly clays. In Column (3). silty clays. sand-silt mixtures Yellow ~ Good . several types of equipment are listed. rock flour. . Letter Hatching Color (4) : (5) '(3). clastic silts Not suitable Not suitable Inorganic clays of high plasticity... the equipment listed will usually produce the required densities with a reasonable number of passes when moisture conditions and thickness of lift are properly controlled. . . (8) ': ··:) ·. Rubber-tired equipment is recommended for rolling during final shaping operations for most soils and processed materials. HIGHLY ORGANIC SOILS -----------------.Poor --------Not suitable Fair to fair Fair to good Poor Clayey sands.S. gravel-sand-silt mixtures lu COARSE· GRAINED SOILS Red Name• .: ' Pt .Excellent --------.. - Not suitable Not suitable .rn ••• sw SP SAND AND SANDY SOILS ' Poorly graded gravels or gravel-sand mixtures.. .' TABLE 5. Army Waterways Experiment Station (1960).

.!!l....<..... wheel loads as high as 40 000 lb (18 000 kg) may b~ necessary to obtain the required densities for some materials (based on contact pressure of approximately 65 to 150 psi or 450 kPa to 1000 kPa)....?.. shccpsfoot roller 100-135 1........ . rubber-tired roller 80-110 1... The following sizes of equipment are necessary to assure the high densities required for airfield construction: Crawler-type tractor-total weight in excess of 30 000 lb (14 000 kg). __________ ........ ..........68 5or less 50-100 High Fair to poor Shccpsfoot roller.....92-2......24 30-60 roller. sheepsfoot .. unit pressures as high as 650 psi (4500 kPa) may be necessary io obtain the required densities for some materials.... Equipment size.... sheepsfoot roller 130-145 2......... the maximum value that can b~ used in design of airfields is......16 10-40 150-400 125-145 2.. ~E!:...:?......08-2.. In Column (16)......... In Columns (14) and (15)..28-1..?.08 15 or less 50-150 Poor Rubber-tired roller. ..... . sheepsfoot roller Practically impervious Medium Medium to high 90-130 1:44-2..84 15 or less 50-150 Shcepsfoot roller.. rubber-tired roller 110-130 1...8 Potential Frost Action (10) Compressibility : and Expapsion (11) None to very Almost none slight None to very slight Slight to medium 1--------···-- Almost none Very slight N·~---··NWO'WO' Slight to medium Slight Slight to medium Slight ... .. impervious Practically impervious Fair to poor .. .. limited by gradation and plasticity requirements.....76 5or less 25-100. rubber-tired roller 80-105 1...~~-:?....... densities are for compacted soil at optimum water content for modified AASHTO compaction effort..... sheepsfoot roller 90-105 1...~!:'...':!!..44-2.44-1....?.!.... ..•.... ~ Very slight 120-135 1..3) CBR (17) (16) Excellent impervious None to very Almost none slight Estimating Performance of Compacted Soils . !........Z or 40 to 80 cm2 foot) to be in excess of 250 psi (1750 kPa).':?!~!~:...76-2... Sheepsfoot roller-unit pressure (on 6 to 12 in............ Rubber-tired roller.32 4o:-&l 300-500 ... ..76-2..68 10or less 50-100 High.. rubber-tired roller 90-115 1..60-2... rubber-tired 125-140 2.~.?......... sheepsfoot roller 100-130 1. in some _cases......... Rubber-tired equipment-wheelload in excess of 15 000 lb (7000 kg)..?...':!!. None to very Almost none slight Slight to Unit Dry Densities Compaction ... rubber-tired 110-140 1........ Practically...... shccpsfoot roller 115-135 1.........16 15-40 150-400 poor Fair to ______ .. Sheepsfoot roller...... High Very high l Rubber-tired roller.?!~!~..........00-2...32 20-40 200-500 Excellent Crawler-type tractor.. close control of moisture 90-130 1.84-2.... 3....... sheepsfoot Poor to practically impervious Rubber-tired roller......~......16 5-20 100-300 Medium to very high Slight to medium Fair to poor Rubber-tired roller.......08 10-20 100-300 Slight to high Slight to medium Poor to practically impervious Rubber-tired roller...... Slight to high Slight to medium impervious Rubber-tired roller.... ......68-2. Equipmen (13) Drainage Characteristics (12) lbf/ft~ Mg/m3 (15) (14) Crawler-type tractor....... The area of the feet should be at least 5% of the total peripheral area of the drum...!~~~::~~~!9.16 20-30 200-500 Poor to practically Rubber-tired roller...·-·-· .~~....08 20-40 200-400 Excellent ' Crawler-type tractor..... ... rubber-tired roller 105-135 1.44-1...... .. steel-wheeled roller ' 300-500 Fair to poor' Rubber-tired roller...24 40-80 roller..steel-wheeled roller 300-500 Excellent Crawler-type tractor..28-1....· 5..60-2.~!~~:!~!:. high ' 209 Typical Design Values Subgrade Modulus k (1bf/in............ sbeepsfoot roller. 4......00-2.... ....... ____ . . Compaction not practical " c. ...08 15or less 100-200 Medium to Medium to high Medium to very high Medium Medium Slight Poor to practically . using the diameter measured to the faces of the feet........

· · Water Content(%) ·. 1.6 ' 20.873 '1.8 15. and 26%.8 23. Dry Unit Weight (ib/ft3) 111 113 115 114 . 8' 11 14 17 20 · Note: G.627 1. 5. ' (b) What range of water contents would be acceptable if the specifications call for 98% relative compaction and water content should be dry of optimum? Show how you calculated the relative compaction and · · show on the plot the range of water contents.1: (a) Estimate the maximum dry density and optimum water content for both the standard curve and the modified Proctor curve. (c) For both curves.1· (Mg/m 3) 1. B (standard) 3 . Compaction and Stabilization of Soils PROBLEMS 5. and 90% saturation curves. Also plot the 70%. a field density test provided the fo.· · . ·. .70.3 17. · Pa (Mg/m ) . . w(o/o).5 18. For the water content and total unit weight (y1) data below: (a) Plot the moisture-dry density curve. 18%. 80%.715 1. C (low energy) w(o/o) Pa (Mg/m3) 9.84 Mg/m3 (115lbf/ft3) Compute the percent relative compaction based on the modlfied Proctor and the standard Proctor curyes.7 21. ~- ' (a) On a suitable graph or using a spreadsheet. Pa ..699 1. .4 5. 9:3 12.9 . Plot the 100% saturation (zero air voids) curve.691 1.llowing information: Water content= 13% Wet density = 1.= 2. Establish the maximum dry density and optimum water content for each test. (b) Find the maximum dry density and optimum moisture content. 5.71.747 1.3 11.· 109 . 1.8' 14.639 .3 For the soil shown in Fig.803 1. 12.619 .740 . their water contents up to 11%. = 2.4 For the data given below (p. compute how much water is to be added to other 5500 g samples to bring .68 Mg/m3 ): (a) (b) (c) (d) Plot the compaction curves.3 20. · 5. · (c) What is the maximum saturation level achieved during compaction tests that were performed? 5.5 The following moisture-density data are results from laboratory compaction tests on a given soil using the · same compactive effort: · · ..1. Assuming 5500 g of wet soil is used for laboratory compaction test points.22%.1 For the data in Fig.3 16.755' 1. estimate the maximum placement water content for the minimum compactive effort to achieve the percent relative compaction in part (b).1 '22.6 A Proctor test was performed on a soil'which has a specific gravity of solids of 2. 5.707 1. plot the curve of dry unit weight versus water content and indicate the maximum dry unit weight and the optimum water content. .910 :1.641.685 1..0 1. 1. (b) What is the placement water content range for 90% relative compaction for the modified Proctor curve and 95% relative compaction for the standard Proctor curve? · . 5. 15%. Compute the degree of saturation at the optimum point for data in Column A.647 w(o/o) 10.2 The natural water content of a borrow material is known to be 8%.210 Chapter 5 .-. . Plot the line of optimums.

emin = 0. 2.7 1\vo choices for borrow soil are available: Borrow A 115 pcf ? 0.10/yd3 $0. what is emin? For a granular soil.97.67. (a) What is the minimum volume of borrow from each site needed to fill the depression? (b) What is minimum quantity (volume) of material from each site to haul? (c) What soil would be cheaper to use? Refer to the following data: I'd in borrow pit.respectively. Modified Proctor 3 Wopto 14.71 Mg/m 3. For this soil.20/yd3 $0. Modified Proctor 'Ydm. (a) What is the unit weight (in units of lb/ft3) of this sand in the saturated condition? (b) If the sand is compacted to relative density of 65%. thick layer? .93.10 5.3. (a) What is the corresponding range in dry density? (b) If the in situ void ratio is 0. given y 1 ~ 108 pcf. The laboratory test results on a sand are e'.13 5.48. in lb/ft3. By the time it reaches the site.11 5. = 82%.91.9 5.65.85 Mg/m3 and the field water content was 12%.. w = 8%.92 '25% $0. Calculate the relative density of the sand in the field.U 5. and the fill material must be compacted to 95% of the 5.70. and Gs = 2.71.65. and Gs = 2.91. n~turallocation. emin = 0. 87.ax = 0.30/yd3 2. (d) What volume of water. in ft 3.45 and the maximum void ratio is 0. 10 13 16 18 20 22 25 98 106 119 125 129 128 123 5. · It will be necessary to fill a 200 000 yd3 depression." and its void ratio is 0.67. The minimum void ratio is 0.38.42 and 0.0 pcf. if the difference between emin and emax is 0. D.48. you have determined that a sand's relative density is on the borderline between "medium" and "dense.40/yd 3 2. respectively. what would be the dry unit weight in the "loosest" state? · The laboratory test results on a sand are as follows: emax = 0. and the maximum and minimum void ratios were 0. 13. Assume that 50 000 yd of the soil from the borrow pit is to be delivered to an embankment at a construction site. (a) What is the dry unit weight (in lb/ft3) of this sand when its relative density is 67% and its water content is 10%? (b) How would you classify the density of this soil? · Based on field data.44.Problems 211 (c)· Determine the moisture range permitted if a contractor must achieve 90% relative compaction. Win borrow pit.8 5.7 110 Note: "In plac~" indicates when the soil was in its original.7 112 pcf BorrowB Density in place Density in triinsport Void ratio in transport · Water content in place Cost to excavate Cost to haul Gs Maximum Proctor dry density 120 pcf 95 ? 20% $0.. The values of emin and ema"x for a pure silica sand Ps = 2. the density of the solids was found to be 2.58. In the laboratory.65 and 0. A final10% moisture content is desired in either case. It will be compacted to a minimum of 90% of modified Proctor maximum dry density. What would be the dry and moist unit weights of this sand. For this soil. what is the relative density? The wet density of a sand in an embankment was found to be 1. when densified at a moisture content of 10% to a relative density of 65%? A sample of sand has a relative density of 40% with a specific gravity of solids of 2. Determine the total volume of water (in ft 3) that must be added to the soil to increase the moisture content to the optimum level. must be added to obtain 1 yd3 of soil at the maximum dry density if the soil is originally at 10% water content? Water Content(%) Wet Density (pcf) . the water content is 9%. what will be the decrease in thickness of a 4ft.0%.0%.0 pcf.15 standard Proctor (maximum) density.14 5. and Gs = 2. if emin = 0.70 Mg/m3 were found to be 0.• 116. G.

dProctor test in b'oth (a) SI and (b) British engineering units.21 You are checking a field~compacted layer of soil. w(%) 25 5. what are the dry density arid degree of saturation of the fill? 5.3%) to (optimum + 1% ). determine the acceptability of the field compaction and state why this is so.hole was 1820g and the volume of the hole was found to be 955 cm3.5 106 105 103. 5. .6 5 10 FIGURE P5. . The mass of the material removed from the .···'\ .16 15 20 . Pd (lb/ft 3) ·..16 A field compaction control test was conducted on a compacted lift.212 Chapter 5 Compaction and Stabilization of Soils ._..7 ~ /' . P5. When you did the sand cone test. .8 ~ ~ 18 FIGURE P5. ' .5 101 14 16 18 20 22 24 . The mass of oil (specific gravity = 0. P5. (a) If end-product specification requires 100% relative compaction and w = (optimum . and the field water content was found to be 22%. The laboratory compaction curve for the soil is shown in Fig.16. what would be the water content? 1. the volume of soil excavated was 1165 cm3• It weighed 2230 g wet and 1852 g dry.. . w(%) 5. (e) What is the degree of saturation of the field sample? (f) If the sample were saturated at constant density.105. ·. (b) If it is not acceptable. The laboratory control test results are shown in Fig. using the oil method.20. If the Ps of the soil solids is 2650 kg!m3.19 In a field density test.92) required to fill the hole was 0.18 Why does the relative compaction decrease if the're is vibration during the sand-cone test? 5.· 1. w(%) 104 .20 You are' an earthwork construction control inspector checking the field compaction of a layer of soil.17 Calculate the compactive effort of the modlfh. (a) What is the compacted dry density? (b) •What is the field water content? (c) what is the relative compaction? (d) Does the test meet specifications?. . ~ ~· 1.Asmallsample of the soil lost 17 gin the drying test and the mass remaining after drying was 94 g. Specifications call for the compacted density to be at least 95% of the maximum laboratory value and within ±2% of the optimum water content.65 kg.20 20. \ . The laborat~iy contr~l curve has the following values: >. .. ' -' • '. 5. the wet mass of soil removed from a small hole in the fill was 1.8 %' 0>. what should be done to improve the compaction so that it will meet the specification? 1.75 kg.

Note: This is the water content of the entire soil mixture. its affinity for water is completely satisfied. You dig a hole of in the compacted layer and extract a sample that weighs 3. with the spray bar running.24 A fine sand with poor gradation is to be used as a subgrade for a flexible pavement. and an explanation of how to use the plot. When the coarse fraction has w = 2.4. each at about 85 pcf. ·· · 5. Give as much information as you can about the suitability of this soil as a pavement subgrade. if properly compacted. including 10%:Use a spreadsheet to create the data and corresponding plots.5% water content is obtained. The moisture content is 8% at the time of placement. W. Extra credit: Make a similar plot.) 5. 5. (a) What is the water content of the fines in the compacted mass? (b) What is the likely classification of the soil? (Give both the Unified and the AASHTO classifications. 5. (a) What is the compacted pd? The compaction w? The percent compaction? Does the sample meet the · specifications? (b) If the density of solids is 2.0%. You have the choice of using a sheepsfoot roller or a smooth-wheel roller to compact the soil.22 A mixture contains 28% by dry weight fines and 72% coarse.25 What soils. The plot must have a family of curves on it. The contractor has a water truck with a spray bar on the back.27 Given: The data shown in Fig. Soil types 3 and 4 are mixed in the borrow area to some unknown extent. Submit sample calculations. compute the relative compaction. to be given to the contractor. How fast should the truck move with the spray running at some flow rate? Make a plot of gal/min from the spray bar (ordinate) versus speed of the truck in mph (abscissa) for ·· the driver to use.85 Mg/m3 dry density at 12.8 lb wet and 3. To reduce potential shrinkage of the dam core. would it matter? 5.· (b) If a field dry density of 1. what would be the water content? (After C. would make the best foundation· material for a structure? Give your answers in terms of the Unified Soil Classification System symbols. for an earth dam.1lb dry. · · (a)· Estimate the maximum dry density of th~ corr. W. the plot.) (c) What is the liquidity index of the fines? (d) What can you say about the susceptibility of the fill to (1) shrinkage-swelling potential? (2) · potential for frost action? (e) Is there a certain type of compaction equipment you would especially recommend for this job? Why? 5. She will use it to drive over the dry soil. its affinity for water is completely satisfied (that is. The soil is compacted by rolling to a 3 Pd = 1.) 5. The Atterberg limits of the fines are LL = 31 and PL = 13. . which is the best piece of equipment to use? If the soil were to be compacted dry of optimum. Lovell. one each for water contents between 5% and • 14% for this soil. a compaction test is performed and a value of 1.bined soils. Lovell. After a representative sample of the combined material is air dded to a uniform water content (hopefully on . to increase the water content. The fines have a PL = 22 and an LL = 34.25. 5.. What is the water content of the fines in the compacted mass? What is the liquidity index of the fines in the compacted mass? (After C.95 Mg/m at w = 15%.Problems 213 The specification for compaction states that the field-compacted soil must be at least 95% of the maximum control density and within of the optimum moisture for the control curve. the dry side of optimum).29 A contractor is placing soil in 10-in. The optimum water content for this soil is 10%. for a soil with a 6% initial water content. ' : · . When the coarse material has a w = 3%. Elton. it is saturated but surface dry). (After D.54 Mg/m3 is obtained after compaction by a sheepsf~ot roller. This mixture· is compacted by rolling to Pd = 128 pcf and Wmix ::: 13%.26 The same as Problem 5.68 Mg!m\ what is the compacted degree of saturation? If the sample were saturated at constant density. 5.) .23 A soil proposed for a compacted fill contains 38% fines and 62% coarse material by dry weight.loose lifts.28 The core of an earth dam is to be compacted on the wet side of optimum ~o· as to ensure low permeability and flexibility (a nonbrittle stress-strain relationship).

capillary . : . .ymi should now.soils.4c) and (6.5) Collapse potential (Continued) 214 . . and soil and rock stiuct~res. cation of the -practical importance or' water in geotechnical engineering.· .As an indi_. arid earthquakes combined. as well as many rock masses. although it too can fluctuate.Eqs. ._.. Adsorbed water (Chapter 4) is generally static._. . ' ' .'\ C H' -A P T E · R 6 fiydrost~ti_cJI\fater in _SoilS:· and Rocks< 6. .. .works c~mb. .througli dams andlevees and toward wells. even though it actually fluctuates throughout the year. .· In g~ne~al.: -~.m. _.. is considered to be static for most engineering purposes. . Symbol · · Dimension: .·m.:L. D d F he fc L '· MLr2 L Definition · 1/m . failures of civil engineering . .. depending on climatic conditions and other factors. damage from swelling (expansive) soils causes a greater economic loss annually than floods. The groundwater table. ..·.and_frost actioii_in. imd 'seepage ofwater.· .4b) Force Height of capillary rise. as discussed in Chapter 7.mmN m (%) Empirical capillary coefficient.mm .' > INTRODUCTION ' ". Similarly.it' has been e-stimated that ' more people have lost their lives as a result of failures of dams and levees due to seepage and "piping" (Chapter 7) than to all the other.sw(!lling. . classification of soils. hurricanes. . A fewe~amples include·capillarity. (6.. In this chapter . geologic processes.The following notation is introduced in this chapter. water in soils can be thought ~fas either static or dynamic.we shall concentrate on hydrostatic water problems in geotechnical engineering. realize that the presence of water in soils and rocks is very important.1- :.In North America. especially fine-grained soils.projects.tornadoes. Water is an important factor in most geotechnical engineering design and construction .water is usually taken to be static.ined.c 1/m ·. (6. \vater very strongly affects the engineefing behavior of most soils. (6.Eq.7) Diameter Capillary diameter~ Eq. discussed in this chapter. From preyious discussions on the_Atterberg limits.·.

: 1T-2 T u Uc a u u' Nlm ML-lT-2 ML-1T-2 ML-1T--2 ML-1T-2 ML-1T-2 ML:. Professor Emeritus. 6. Fundamentally. (6.Eq. To illustrate the effects of capillarity in porous materials such as soils and rocks. it occurs between surfaces of water. the greater the height of capillary rise.Eq. mineral grains.) (From the Greek. Atmospheric pressure · Radius of meniscus Shrinkage limit-. The height of rise is inversely proportional to the diameter of the tubes.6. For soils and rocks.20) .EVLUKou = · "small moon" or "crescent.Eq. on the walls of the glass tube [Fig. which occurs at the interface between different materials.1T-2 Uh uj. a Venetian physician and friend of Leonardo da Vinci.. M.1(a)]. Placing the end of a dry towel in a tub of water will eventually result in a saturated towel. CAPILLARITY Capillarity arises from a fluid property known as surface tension. With some Mercury Water (a) Water FIGURE 6.mm (%) Patm rm SL MT-2 ML-1T-2 ML.") . (We are indebted to Prof." S? to speak.. (6. The meniscus formed is concave upward with the water "hanging.6b) Contact angle Total stress Effective or intergranular stress-. Harr.Eq.l.9) Surface tension Pore water pressure Capillary pressure-..Eq. Uv .2 Unit · kPa kPa degree kPa kPa kPa kPa kPa kPa Capillarity 215 Definition· . The phenomenon of capillarity may be demonstrated in many ways. After Giacomo Meniscus (1449-1512). E. and air. (6. Uv 6. Capillary tubes demonstrate that the adhesion forces between the glass walls and water cause the water to rise in the tubes and form a meniscus 1 between the glass and the tube walls.19) Effective horizontal stress.19) · EffeCtive vertical stress-. Purdue University.Eq. we can use the analogy of small-diameter glass tubes to represent the voids between· the mineral grains.Eq. (b) mercury. (6. the smaller their insid(! diameter.1 1 (b) Mercury (c) Beer Menisci in glass tubes in (a) water. for this little known fact.materials at the interface.20) · Total vertical stress..2 SYJl1bol Dimension kPa m. (6.8) Total horizontal stress. (6. surface tension results from differences in forces of attraction between the molecules of the. and (c) beer. f. (6.

I circumference.2.2). .W-== ~olume(pw)g = he(*d )pwg 2 (6.216 Chapter 6 Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks materials the internal cohesion forces are greater than the adhesion forces.2 Meniscus geometry of capillary rise ofwater in a glass tube.• • . The force acting downward. If we look more closely at the meniscus geometry for water in a fine capillary tube (Fig. h" we obtain h ~. its shape is convex [Fig. for example.1) The' upward force is the vertical component of the reaction of the meniscus against the tube • . or 2 Fdo~n~ . The other terms are functions of the geometry of the system and are defined in Fig: 6. 6. Mercury. has a depressed meniscus.1(b)].3) = 0 Solving for the height of capillary rise. is the weight W of the column of water.2) ' 2Fup = -rrdT cos a where Tis the surface te~sion of the water-air interface which acts around the circumfe~~nce of the tube.4a) Patrn ~++ -z (Compression) Patm f~w~ Uc= -hcPw9 d 'uw= ZPw9 (Hydrostatic) (+) z · FIGURE 6. 6. · · · · · F v = 0. considered positive. and For equilibrium 2 -(hc)*d2pwg .-rrdT COS a (6. or (6. arid the substance will not "wet" the glass tube. The surface tension has dimensions of force/unit length. we can write equations for the forces acting in the water column. .-Tcosa c dpwg (6..

0. Physics (2008). Ha~dbook of Chemistry and.2.· = d (6. the pressure .03 by the diameter in milliinetres.03 . with depth (hydrostatic pressure).1 Given: The. From the . Example 6. ' .4b) For clean glass tubes and pure water. mm Also shown in Fig. or 73 mN/m. For the height of capillary rise in 'metr~s. Solution: Use Eq. ' .5). and z= depth below free water surface. All the preceding discussion is for clean glass tubes and pure water under laboratory conditions. pure water in clean glass tubes Eq. . 6.3m 01 . .6a) where Uw = water pressure at some depth. . < ' h = -0. but it has a negative value because of thesign convention shown inFig. 6. 6. or (6. divide 0.2 is the pressure or stress distribution in the water. Required: Expected height of capillary rise of water. ' ' ' . Since = 1000 kg/m3 and g =.4c) The capillary rise is up~ard.. . ~b~ve the free water surface...5) d height of capillary rise.This formula is easy to remember. • . Surface tension Tis a physical property of water. for.03 c where h. (6. linearly .. Below the surface of the water reservoir. about 73 dynesicm. . .increases . 9._.4) reduces to .2 Capillarity 217 where (6. (6. m.81 rn!s2. he= = 0. In reality. at 20°C. . mm . (6..1 mm. Pw ' ' . T is. a--+ 0 and cos a --+1. . and =diameter of capillary tube. diameter of a Clean glass capillary tube is 0. the actual height of capillary rise is likely to be somewhat less due to the presence of impurities and imperfectly clean surfaces.

.maybemuchgreaterthan=-:latmor-lOOkPa. . Similarly. In this case.696 psi·gage (psig) ·:·: . From Eq. .325 kPa·abs 0. and vapor press11re of water are..4c). When the water "boils" at the vapor pressure. gage. atmosphe~iC ~nd vaporpressu·r~s of water in terms 'Ot absolute and gage pressures..iss than atmospheric). The radius is greater than or equal to the radius of the tube. which is about the maximum height that a suction pump can draw..Absolute pressure ----~ . ~he limitation is the ·'vapor pressure of water. ' ..325 kPa·gage -0. As the pressure becomes increasingly negative (that is. and the column of water'is broken.99_kPa·gage -0. ihe height of capillary rise in smaller tubes depends only on the tubediiuneter. ··. or about -1 atm pressure.3.3 · The relationship between 0 atm·gage · 0 kPa·gage 0 Hg·gage 0 psi·psig . ' . then the water cannot cavitate because the' surface tension is too high and a bubble cannot folm. . The equivalent capillary tube diameter at the vapor pressure is' about 3 11rri..hcPwg = -d = ~ rm Uc The shape of the meniscus is actually iipherical (a minimum energy condition) with radius rm (Fig. the magnitude of the capillary pressure uc is . ·· .' if the tube is smaller than .7425 m Hg·gage -14.2).34 kPa·abs 0.01754 m Hg·abs 0.· ' ' ' ' ' · .34 psia 1 atm·abs 101. water will cavitate or "boil" when the ambient' pressure reaches the vapor pressure. this diameter. depending on the contact angle a..6b) = . What is the maximum negative' pressure that can be attained? In large tubes.. the water pressure in the capillary tube is negative or less than zero gage pressure (referenced to atmospheric pressure).34 kPa absolute at 20°C [from the Handbookof(hemistry and Physics (2008)]: The relationships between absolute. 6. When a is approxini~iely zero... 6. the vapor pressure of water is 17.76 m Hg·abs 14.' then bubbles of water vapor form. This occurs when the water column is about 10m in length. Gage pressure -1 atm·gage -'-1 01.. shown in Fig. In absolute terms.36 psig FIGURE 6. J . th~~ r m = d/2.'. · ' · . --:98.696 psia 0 atm·abs ·o kPa·abs 0 m Hg·abs 0 psia .54 mm Hg or 2. the capillary pressure (pore water tension) in this case . ' '. h. and thus the rise may be much greaterthari 10 in. Gage pressure of water at 20°C .218 Chapter 6 Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks Above the reservoir surface. Vapor pressure of water at 20°C 2. ' / . (6.. 4T •' 2T (6.' Now.76 Hg·gage -14.

'and the resulting voids are similarly random and highly irregular. Show that the equivalent pore diameter at the vapor pressure is about 3 ftm. the maximum height of a water column is ·governed by the vapor pressure or the maximum negative pressure in the water.2 Given: The pressure relationships shown in Fig. remember that for large tubes the maximum allowable tension or suction in water depends only on the atmospheric pressure and has nothing to do with the diameter of the tube. and thus the corresponding height of capillary rise is he.2. and the water rises to the surface of the soil.:· -10.1m (rise) b. b. we have h = ~ = e {Jwg -98. water enters from the top.81 rnls2 ) = -10.:m. although imperfect. 6. Capillary rise in small tubes. (6. The capillary menisci hang on the particles. · · In principle. and there'is no way for the water to be pulled ·above a void with diameter greater than de.03 = e 6. Thbe 1 has a diameter de. In tube 2. 1979). since it is physically impossible for the corresponding capillary pressure (and therefore · . the radius of the ininiscus in tube 2 will be greater than re.5) and solve for de. h < he. A magnified picture of two sand particles connected by menisci of radius rm is shown in Fig. Show that the maximum height of a water column in a large tube is about 10m. causing an intergranular stress to act at the contact between the two grains. ·d = -0. In tube 3. Use Eq. Solution: a.Q3.3. (6. Sowers. is a function of the tube diameter only and has no relation to · ' atmospheric pressure (Terzaghi and Peck. Consequently.similar in soil~ and in glass tubes.. If. Let's look at a series of capillary tubes in Fig. the capillary tube analogy.6). a large bubble or void exists. helps explain capill~ry: phenomena observed in real soils.99 kPa (1000 kg/m3 )(9. The walls of the void support the water in the void outside the column of water.5. then it is possible for the meniscus at the top of the tube to' support the entire column of water of diameter de. Example 6. In large tube's. which pull the grains together. 6. '' . but it cannot.3.99 kPa. the pressure is -98. Thbe 5 is filled with soil.1 m · ' ' Capillary Rise and Capillary Pressures in Soils .2 Capillarity 219 In summary.: ·there) to develop. Because 1 kPa = 103 kg· m/s2/m2 (Appendix A). 6. 6. at the vapor pressure. the soil is much less than de. · the water will try to rise to he. The fully developed meniscus' has a radius re. and using Eq. . capillary or negati~e press'ures and capillary rise will be. 6. on the other hand.1 he -O. 1967. From Fig. Although soils are random assemblages of particles. Required: a. = 3(10-3 )mm = 3(10~6 ).4.. as shown in tube 4. however. since tlie average or effective pore diameter of : •: · .

4.6 . 1948) . evaporation continues. . no more negative). . .220 Chapter..6 :·.e. If . . .: . the tube occurs. 6. The tube i~itially is completely filled with water. By hydrostatics. At the smaller· end.·" '. and._ . the pressure in the water must be the same at both ends.. the tube will eventually become empty. pressure which can be supported by the smaller diameter radii.6). Another analogy illustrating the development of menisci in soils is shown by the tube in Fig. As evaporation continues.·. Casagrande). The capillary pressure can go no lower (i.5 Two soil grains held together by a "capillary film: ' re FIGURE 6. . the largest possible radius is that of the larger end.It cannot be any smaller.' FIGURE 6.FIGURE 6. This pressure is given by. at the beginning. because then the pressure would have to be lower (more negative). Eq. . Capillaiy rise in tubes of different shapes (after Taylor. · <. the menisci have radii equal to rs . the radius is also equalto rc.. the menisci retreat until the condition indicated by the cross-hatched section of . the menisci begin to form. and it corresponds to the . At this time. . and that cannot happen.the radius of the smaller section of the . otherwise flow would occur toward the end with the lower (more negative) pressure.. ·capillary tube... (6. As evaporation occurs. rc.6 Capillarity in a tube of · · unequal radii (after A.. Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks ® CD 0 ® ..

.. we can estimate a theoretical height of capillary rise and the corresponding capillary pressure in a fine-grained soil. ·Solution~· Assume the effective pore diameter is about 20% of Dio: Thus. .2 -0.6).Dto Th~ empirical coefficient Cvaries between 0. using about 20% of the effective grain size. · 'facei~purities (Terzaghi et ~l.5) and (6.2 Capillarity 221 Although the capillary tube analogy is imperfect. so we usually use the effective grain size D 10 and assume.of clay soil with D 10 of 1 11-m and a voidrati~ of 0. (6. l996). · . Capillary pressure [Eq. (6.03.2 11-m= 0.4. Dpore f':! 0. ·.:. If we use Eq. .. or h = e S___ (6.05 and is a function of the grain shape and sur. Estimatdhe capillary pressure in the clay.:. _ = -150m (about 500ft) X 10 3 mm · .. ·· ·.void ratio e. There is an ASTM standard (D 4404)·for the determination of pore volume and pore volume distribution by mercury intrusion porosimetry.. Capillary rise [Eq.. Example 6.' Alternatively. ·Required: a.2(Dw) = 0.. we need to assume a value of C. a. However. For this example.01 and0. it is still useful. because this determination requires special equipment and procedures.2 3 X 10. '-is atm f'..4)(1 11-m) · · b.mm . -225 psi . Using this assumption and Eqs.· . it is not routinely done: It is easier to measure the grain sizes in soils. let's use the mean value or 0.5)]: ' he = · 0. • ·.:. -1500 kPa f'. A sample .7).03 ill' ' ' ' ' ' . Sowers (1979}' suggests.that the effective pore diameter is some'fraction of the D 10 • For example. . Calculate the theoretical height of capillary rise in the clay.6b )]: 'ue = hepwg ~ ~150m (l000kg/m3 )(9.3 )l Given: a . (1996) for the height of capillary rise he (m) that depends on the D 10 (mm) and. . . because it recognizes that capillary phenomena depend on the pore sizes or pore volumes and their distribution in soils. 0 03 h = ·S___ = · · · = 62 5 m c eD 10 (0. 6. (6. we could use an equation suggested by Terzaghi et al.81 m/s2 ) f'.7) e. (6.. . b.

called the effective stress. Silt Clay Grain Size Range (mm) .1 Approximate Height of Capillary Rise in Different Soils ·Coarse. Just as in tube 5 of Fig. .lOm 0. .222 Chapter 6 . sealed.12m · 0.15m After Beskow (1935) and Hansbo (1975 and 1994). a TABLE 6. the greater the frictional resistance.· .3.' Still. the larger the applied vacuum. rlists some typical heights of capillary rise for some soil types. Recall the magnified picture of the two sand grains connected by menisci shown in Fig: 6. the sand is dry and has relatively poor bearing capacity.5-lOm ·:::::10m .12-0. The effect is similar to what happens when some sand is placed in a rubber membrane. that the resulting intergranular stress acting between the soil grains is of the same order of magnitude. and a vacuum applied to the specimen.50 m 0.that the water ~an. Intergranular contact stress causes a frictional resistance to develop between the grains.5.5-12m ·o.3. as anyone knows who has ever tried to escape a rising tide at a beach in a car! Similarly.0m 1. Then.0~. but they are definitely · possible in the very small pores of soils and rocks. (6.7). This stress. too. u' ~ +1500 kPa. Another important consequence of the increase in intergranular or effective stress that occurs due to capillarity is illustrated by the racetrack at Daytona Beach. in tube 5 of Fig. The smaller the meniscus. the sample of clay.2 0. rarely in natural soil deposits do the heights of capillary rise . owing to the capillary pressures essentially "pulling': the particles together.2-0. 6.03-0. In this figure. u' = u. ·. which is relatively wide due to the flat slope of the beach. and the larger the intergranular contact stress between the particles. as sketched in Fig.4.5 m 2.. actually. has special significance in geotechnical engineering. At the top of soil-water column~for example. 6. sand Medium sand Fine sand . In this case.the capillary menisci pull the grains of soil together.·. from Eq. the bearing capacity is very poor. 0.3~2.06-0. let us just define the effective stress as the total stress u minus the pore water pressure u..3 are very large indeed.6 0. FI(.8) In Example 6. or in · this case.rida (Fig.6-0. is acted on by atmospheric pressure. 6. Thus the effective stress in materials with small pores can be very large. if it is in the laboratory. For now. This means.40-3.3..06 0. the total stress u = 0 (zero gagepressure).002 < 0. Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks Although theoretically possible. the confining pressure results from the columns of water hanging on the menisci at the surface of the beach. reach those· suggested by Example 6. above the zone of capillary rise.002 0.the capillary tension. or for the conditions in Example 6. The sands are very fine and have been densified somewhat by wave action.35-l. Where the ocean water ·destroys the menisci. ·The capillary pressures we estimated in Example 6. The relative density throughout the beach zone is essentially the same.5. Some of the voids in natural soils are large enough so . and it is discussed in more detail later in the chapter. yet the bearing 'capacity is significantly different simply due to capillarity. provides excellent driving conditions due to high capillary p~essures. Loose Dense 2-D. 6. Table 6.vaporize and form bubbles"'This results in the menisci being destroyed and the ' actual height of capillary rise being reduced.u (6. The pressure difference betw~en the external atmospheric pressure (zero gage pressure)and the applied vacuum (some value of negative gage pressure) holds the grains tightly together and thereby increases their frictional resistance considerably. the intergranular contact stress is given the symbol u'. the larger . especiallyfor moving vehicles. u' = -( -u0) = uc.8). heights of capillary rise can be significant in espe:cially fine-grained soils. The capillary zone.4.

by placing a tube full of dry soil in a water bath). At this point.~~~ '·.· . · :. impeding the path of water migrating from the phreatic surface up through the soil.·' Groundwater table • FIGURE 6.•· Keep in mind that we have simplified our discussion by assuming that the capillary rise represents a boundary between completely saturated soil and completely dry soil.---. A saturated soil specimen and adjacent porous element are placed in a sealed chamber.2. if the soil is originally saturated or wettedfrom above (as from rainfall). 6. except that it specifies measurement of pore pressure. in speciai capillary tests on . the moisture content of the soil is 'measured: USBR procedure 5735 is similar. ~Ihi~~~~illaryzone . and flow through embankments and earth dams.at the end bearing plate. it is important. . if the soil is originally dry. Florida. Results of the ASTM tests plot tension as height above water tablein metres versus volumetric water. For •example.• .· ·. The side of the porous element opposite to that in contact with the soil is exposed to atmospheric pressure and a positive pressure applied to the top of the soil.Beach. to measure various aspects of capillarity in soils.. where it . While the equipment for the test methods is different.(referred to as matric suction) applied to the pore water system.volumetricwater content can berelated to the mass water content if the Gs and the degree of saturation are known. --:-----7-:--:.· 6.2 Measurement of Capillarity. The earliest measures of capillary rise in soils were made using a device called a capillarimeter. Poor bearing capacjty. . In fact. and then is exposed to a phreatic surface (for example.7 Cross section of racetrack a~ D~yto~a. . Lambe (1950) found that the degree of saturation was ab6'ut 75% in the capillary zone except near the capillary boundary.2 · . · the degree of saturation may not be 100% at any point in the capillary zone.. The. . Lane and Washburn (1946) used both capillarimeters arid soil in tubes to measure capillarity in soils. dropped to about 65%. Soil-Water CharacteristiC Curve In a number of applications. these values will be completely different and generally higher (Terzaghi 1943. Water is allowed to drain out of the specimen until equilibrium is established between this applied gradient and tiie internal soil suction. .. On the other hand. the concepts are fundamentally the same. si~ce it can play an important role in their susceptibility to swelling and shrinkage. ·. which measures the ability of the soil to take in air under tension (Fredlund and R~hardjo. .. Lambe and Whitman 1969). among other phenomena.to coarse-grained soils) and D 3152 (for fine-grained soils) are test methods for measuring the relationship between water content in a soil and the negative or d1pillary pressure. content.1. which will be negative until enough positive pressure is applied to the soil. · ASTM standards D 2325 (formedium. 1993). Capillarity 223 Poor bearing capacity.fine sand that was originally dry.----------~------~--'=--4-. frost action. . since soil voids are typically discontinuous.

According to Fredlund and Rahardjo (1993). At the other end of the curve when the matric suction is zero. This involves the use of a porous block made from a material which has a known water content-suction relationship. Ow Gravimetric water content(%) G8 = 2. The matric suction is of course negative or less than zero gage pressure (Fig. 6. 1983. 1980}.70 and S =100%.. it does -(? !l. as cited by Mitchell and Soga. the water content changes in a very nonlinear fashion as the suction increases. A tensiometer is a field device that uses an applied vacuum to draw water from the soil to determine the matric suction. The porous block is brought into contact with the soil..8 Soil-water ~haracteristic curve-m~tric suction versus water content: (a} schematic for a plastic clay showing hysteresis due to wetting and drying (after Blight. In this way. except when the soil is saturated.224 Chapter 6 .Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks Fredlund and Rahardjo (1993) provide details on two other methods for measuring matric suction. . the soil is saturated.. shown schematically in Fig.. (b) curves for different soils (after Koorevaar et al. Because especially fine-grained soils contain a large number of very different pore sizes and pore volumes. and equilibrium is achieved between the matric suction of the block and the soil.3). one. c. 2005) . the matric suction tends to a limiting value of about 590 MPa at zero water content for many soils. By measuring the water content of the block.:: 00 ::2: Water content Volumetric water content. The matric suction is equal to the quantity (ua . 6.gn ::J U) u ·.u). Also as a dry soil saturates or a saturated soil drains. the mechanics are similar to those in the two ASTM standards (D 2325 and D 3152) and the USBR 5735 standard. One way to visualize matric suction is the soil-water characteristic curve. 1 Dune sand 2 Loamy sand 3 Calcareous fine sandy loam _ 4 Calcareous loam 5 Silt loam derived from loess 6 Young oligotrophous peat soil 7 Marine clay · -J I :J' .can infer the matric suction based on the block's calibration curve. An indirect method for measuring matric suction is known as the axis translation technique. (a) ·: .• (b) FIGURE 6. where ua is the pore air pressure and u is the pore water pressure.8(a).

4. Obviously Ow is not the same as the water content used in geotechnical engineering (soil scientists call ·::.70 arid s ='100%. If they are destroyed-: • . ' ' ' ' '~ ·. FIGURE 6. .9]. however.8(b) is shown below the . Other Capiliiuy' Phenomena ...5 that sands are most effectively densified by vibration.. The grain size distribution. .. (6. . Fill an ordinary Proctor compaction mold with dry sand. · the relationship between the two water contents is .: · . · · .' : ' . Note that.8(b) is the volumetric water content. . ... : : 6..8(b ). Because bulked sands have a loose honeycombed structure..: for example. Figure 6. ' . 6. vohunetric water content scale: It was•calculated for a: as• = 2.3 .) From phase relations and Eq. You may recall from Sec.·.our water content the gravimetric water content. by flooding or evaporation. The resulting structure. ' .:jn sand. as shown in Fig.8 also shows why it is nota good idea to purchase moist sand by the volume-one may ·end up buying a lot of air! · · · ·. . the same curve as shown in Fig.· ·· d . ' Another phenomenon caused by capillarity is bulking. ' ~ ' . .: . soil type.. 5. arid then strik:e it off level at . ' . An approximatdy equivalent graviin. 6. they have to be densified to avoid unwanted postconstruction settlements. the actual shape of the soil-water characteristic curve depends on the .8(a).eiric water content for the soils iri Fig. · · ' .29(c). . . together by capillary films.· ·· · •· . soil fabric. As long as there is some moisture present.. 6. . Wherimoist sand is loosely dumped. Mitchell and Soga (1995) give a detailed explanation for this hysteretic behavior.. they are very compressible and may even be susceptible to collapse (discussed in Sec. 6.9 Bulking structure .. ·. the sand will bulk and occupy a larger volume thim itwould if dry.9) ' 6:2. ':..' . percent up to aboutl5 or. for example." It is not true· cohesion in a physical sense.2) also influence the shape . :··. 6. If they are used for backfill.2 \.7). low relative density. Bulked moist sands will require niore energy to densify than dry sands. because it takes additional energy to' destroy the capillary films surrounding the sand grains: Sometimes contractors will try to use flooding to destroy the menisci.then the honeycomb structure collapses and the volume of r: the sand decreases significantly. which is defined as the V w!V. vibrate it by tapping the side of the mold. '" ·. The grains are all held .' : '· ' " ' ' ' . but flooding is not a very good way to increase the density of a sand fill.the abscissa of Fig.. The relative density of flooded fills' will still be only 40% or 50% and thus they will still be susceptible to significant settlements if loaded or vibrated.28b) (Se = wG5 ). and contact angle (Fig.: •. . Capillarity 225 not follow. 6. is fairly stable as long as the capillary menisci are present. '. ~ . Ow. '' ~·. Bulking canoccur with water conteritsof only a few .. You can demonstrate bulking of sands in a simple laboratory experiment. it forms a very loose honeycombed structure [similar to Fig. depending on the grain size distribution and silt contimt of the :sand. · As shown in Fig. and the moisture film surrounding the individual-grains causes an "appar. :. ent cohesion. 6. 20 percent. although it has a very . (2.

10 Air in voids under pressure Capillary tube analogy for slaking (after Terzaghi. the internal cohesion is sufficiently strong to resist these resulting entrapp-ed air pressures. so that the soil-water surface tension tends to pull water into the pores.12.·· >· -=- AI A'~ FIGURE 6. for example. . . are another matter. In a rock fragment. which is exactly what occurs when a soil slakes.10. rand if the tensile strength is less than the tension applied by the menisci. as shown in Fig. because the menisci obviously do not exist there! Above the groundwater table and within the zone of capillarity. such excavations are very unstable.with some soils . Frost action is discussed later in this chapter. However. 6.. soil is immersed in a beaker of water. such as from trucks on adjacent streets or nearby construction operations such as pile driving.226 'I Chapter 6 Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks the top. it is not so serious if an excavation . with a spray bottle. and. At the beach. the capillary menisci now try to pull water into the voids. the soilluinp collapses. capillary menisci at the surface of the excavation provide the stability for the cut. Dump the sand into a large pan and. Unsupported excavations in silts and sa'uds have been known to collapse due to very slight vibrations. Lateral support or laying back the slope to a flatter angle is necessary even if the soils appear to be stable when first excavated. Capillarity also allows excavations to be constructed at very steep slopes in silts and very fine sands-materials that. 1943). Air bubbles trapped in the voids are compressed by the menisci. -Terzaghi (1943) used the. and if the internal air pressure is high enough to · exceed the tensile strength of the soil. it will be very difficult to achieve the original density. you can see that the walls are in tension. even in areas where the groundwater table. which occurs when a lump of dry .· Capillarity also plays an important role in the formation of ice lenses in fine-grained soils.· if.collapses. Then try to put the moist sand back into the mold. ·.2). and mix it thoroughly. Excavations made below the water table will collapse. but excavations of utility trenches. which is much flatter. dry. and slaking cannot occur. If you have ever played at the beach. The lump immediately starts to disintegrate.The capillary tubes are 'initially dry and then submerged. whereas soils do.capillary tube analogy to illustrate slaking. The ·:-result can be significant volume changes that can damage infrastructure (particularly roads that are susceptible to so-called '~frost heaving''). The soil lump has to be dry. Slaking is a very simple way to distinguish between hard piece of soil and a small rock. the disintegration is so rapid that the soil appears to almost explode. This is why it is necessary to externally support all vertical excavations more than a meter or so deep. add a small amount ofwater to the sand . sand castles or other similar features from moist sand. rocks don't slake. · Another phenomenon that depends on capillarity is slaking. you probably took advantage of capillarity to construct. is well below the ground surface. By drawing a free-body diagram of the tube walls. would readily fall to their natural angle 'of repose· (Sec.. You will firid that its volume has expanded significantly. Even if you compact the sand in layers in the mold. the walls-will fracture. especially if people are work~ ing in the excavation. for example.

The degree of saturation maY.3 .. b~t asurface of a'tmospheric'}Ji~ssuie (zero gage pressure).11.. FIGURE 6. A test or exploration pit is. " GROUNDWATER TABLE AND THE VADOSE. so it includes the capillary zone or capillaiy fringe (ifany exists) and soils with other moisture conditions above that. GroundwaterTable and the Vadose Zone 227 6. a borehole anywhere from 50 to 100 rrim in diameter is drilled deep enough to intercept the groundwater level (the depth can be esti. useful only if the groundwater· table is near the ground surface.-. Above the zone of capillarity.ZONE : 6. ' '". ~ . and the depth to the water table is determined by a simple tape ' ' • < d • ~ 0 r j '• Depth below groundwater .11 Illustration of vadose zone located above the groundwater table and the pore pressure distribution with depth . This is often referred to as an observation well. ' From a geotechnical perspective.. More specifically. 6. More commonly. 6. ' · is commonly called.6. but that is what it . The soil above the groundwater table is called the vadose zone (pronounced vay-dose). This type of obser. mated based on experience or by researching local geological maps). Recognize that it is not really a table. the soil is unsaturated. the sciil may be saturated because of capillarity. Note · .because otherwise it may collapse with time. Usually a small perforated pipe i or casing is installed in the borehole.3 .Depending on the grain size of the soil above the groundwater table. These definitions are illustrated in Fig. Below the groundwatertable the degree of saturation is assumed to be (and usually is) 100%. table c . thegroundw'ater table can be' defined as the st~ady state or equilibrium elevation -of free standing water in ari exca-yated or drilled exploration hole.3. of course. vation well is an open-tube standpipe. it is the steady state elevation at which the pore water pressure is equal to the atmospheric pressure. l .3. or it may become unsaturated nearer the ground surface.1" Defi~iti~n '.. range from 100% down to nearly zero if the soil is almost dry near the ground surface. · ·· that the capillary zone is s~ill considered part of the vadose zone.2 Field Determination There are several methods to measure the level of the groundwater table' and hence the thickness of the vadose zone. The first and simplest way is just to establish an open exploration pit or borehole from · which the level of the free water surface is measured relative to the ground surface or some other datum...

:- . ~ CJ)C/l . most piezometers are electromechanical de~ices that produce electrical signals proportional to the water pressure at the point of measurement. I I ·. 3 in.. Note that the piezometer point must be sealed from other water pressure sources in order to determine the water pressure at the point' of installation.-~ vr . --- "0 ~ Q)- ~o c:... Dept. ~ 'U5 I 10 ..g... Standard sieve) 3 .4a Required: a. . from · which water pressure at the tip.location can .. 6:4a (after U. I: 100 100 Gravels ---+-- Cobbles FIGURE Ex. - L Sieve analysis ··· · (U. Dunnicliff X1993) provides an extensive survey of pore pressure measurement · · · · devices. 6.001 I 'i I li-/ J /t::: *' r:J! .5 in.. of the Interior. · · Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks measurement.. Cil No. a 1n. Laboratory tests on samples of the loess show typical grain size distribution curves similar to CurVe A in Fig. -t-I I 0 0. A piezometer can be a hydraulic or open standpipe (e.r: 60 ·a. Another method is to install a piezometer in the borehole that measures the water pressure at the depth of the piezometer point..I Curve1A I Iii_ • <?- c:>- c. · • • cell Q)Cil I I 0. b... I I tf ~ .. Estimate the capillary rise in metres.. Plot the static water pressure distribution from the ground surface to a depth of 8 m.S.---... Ex.' • AO . which is a ..be deduced.'l '•i.- E I ." ..L.. I I 20 ..3 . Example 6.!21 -Q) ~ . . l I ~ I I 1-lj ii --i 0.. ! I I.. /_I 0!. 4'"· I . 4 .4 Given: The groundwater elevation in a loess deposit is determined by a standpipe piezometer to be at a depthor'4. 1111 I Grain diameter (mm) Sands =. ..1 00 f--- 40 :gE o . Today. a Casagrande-type piezometer.: ->c:. . 40 e. ~r- 1\itl.f------- §II 0 ~ c>.. 1990).o 60 . ' :!?ell sE e>o c: 80 / _. I .228 Chapter 6 .. 200 .c Q) !:! 80 Q) c.. I I I I I : I Ill I I 10 . porous tipped tube) that allows water to rise to a certain levef in an open pipe from a sealed tip.. ..1 • • I I •' 20 I I I I 1:11 ·I I I --] 0 I I .. · .... CJ)Cl ell·c_Q) I ~·:rrY-....c Q) i .01 Fines I I .: t---1 II ! -- 1- f-----.: / 100 cell -sen .' . ell -~- ----· --r I I I I I '.S.

.5 0. Water pressure (kPa) •..3 . .5m.5 m. . Using Eq: (6. .'J?t?. ·Is u. 6.. .4a. the .· ' ' . 0. However..4b 100 .4. Yes.2 X 0.008 ::. Ex. •Groundwater Table and the Vadose Zone : 229 Solution: a.6a) to determine the distribution of water pressure with depth below the ground. So at a depth of Bm.4b ..5 m. \ .8 rnls2 = 34 kPa At z = . . theloess above the groundwater table must be saturated or nearly so.. Since the ·groundwater t~ble is only 4.03/d (in mm) ='-0. 1.. '-.-------~ - 34 FIGURE Ex. and the pressure distribution is linear.: . 6:2. .. 50 -::::. · . . '·.:. 6.8 rnls2 = :--c-44 kPa . .6 x w-3 Il1m) ·~ 1B. Ex. 6.. · .6b). .Recall from Sec.5 m. With the height of capillary rise he = 4. . b•. soils may be unsaturated because of evaporation.and · · · · · · ·· •.03/(1. ·. m X1 Mg/m3 X 9..__0.. Use Eq.008 mm: Therefore.6 X 10-3 mm. uw is.5. he = :. the maximum capillary pressure is ·. complete pressure diagram is shown in Fig...5 mbelow the g~oundsurface. .i5 m · ..z = zw =3. there a water pressure above the groundwater table?..2 that the effectivd pore size is commonly assumed to be 20% of the Dio· From Fig. . ' . .5).5 m X 1 Mg/m X 9. . ~ hePwg = -4. ' . (6. Uw = ZwPwg = 3. 6. of course. but it is negative due to capillarity. the height of capillary fise is ~pproximately . . equal to zero. water table. (6. -50 4. D 10 is estimated to be about 0. We may calculate it using Eq. Remember that the depth of the groundwater table' is at :--c-4. near the ground surface.

the menisci are destroyed. is when the radii of the menisci are at the minimum (equal to one-half the diameter of the tube) and are fully developed. The limiting case. and the walls ofthetube have shrunk to an equilibrium condition between the stiffness of the walls and the capillary forces.S. shown in Fig. 6. In Fig. and the tube shrinks in length and diameter. consult Freeze· and Cherry (1979).12(c). Shrinking soils can also increase in volume or expand if they have access to water.230 Chapter 6 Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks For more detailed information on groundwater and the vadose zone.12(b)].12 Compressible elastic capillary tube shrinking due to evaporation and surface tension (after Terzag hi. The negative pressure in the capillary tube is then equal to the value computed from Eq. Cedergren (1989).6b ). (a) (b) ' a=<O FIGURE 6.4. compression in the compressible walls of the tube increases. Swelling soils are discussed in the next section of this chapter. 6. As evaporation continues. 1927). are very large. Shrinking and swelling cause billions of dollars of damage annually in North America. The volume changes cause'd by evaporation and desiccation can damage small buildings and highway pavements. (c) . 6. 1927). 6. and U.12(a) the tube at the begirming is completely filled with water and the radii of the menisci. 6.4 SHRINKAGE PHENOMENA IN SOILS Shrinkage of fine-grained soils can be of considerable practical significance.1 Capillary Tube Analogy We can get an idea of how capillary stresses cause shrinkage in clay soils by studying the analogy of a · horizontal tube with compressible elastic walls (Terzaghi. (6. As evaporation occurs. which haven't reached their final shape yet. Todd (1980). Department of the Interior (1995). Cracks and fissures caused . If the tube is immersed in water. pressure in the water decreases and the menisci start to form [Fig. As mentioned. the radii become smaller and smaller. Dunnicliff (1993) is a good reference on piezometric inst~umentation and measurements. and the tube can expand because the capillary forces are no longer acting on the tube walls.by soil shrinkage are zones of weakness that can greatly reduce the stability of clay slopes and the bearing capacity of foundations. possibly causing more damage.

the capillary menisci just begin to retreat below the soil surface.13 illustrates this procedure. undergoing desiccation) will form capillary menisci between the individual soil grains. Take another look at the tube shown in Fig. the fibers will quickly swell again. He observed the point at which the color changed. 1938). which becomes dull in appearance because the reflectivity of the surface changes.13.- The two equations correspond to the two parts of Fig. then the analogy with shrinking soils is very useful.weighing the amount of mercury the dry specimen displaces.6. In fact. the stresses between the grains (intergranular or effective stresses) will increase. and the volume further decreases. See Sec. 6. However. (The same. and the shrinkage limit SL is calculated from (a) (6. ASTM test D 427. At this point. and it is one of the Atterberg limits mentioned in Sec. . and the color of the surface changes from a shiny to a dun· appearance. Although the shrinkage liniit was a popular classification test during the 1920s. ·· • Another simple analogy was used byTerzaghi to illustrate the effects of capillary pressures in a porous material (Casagrande. dry soil specimen is determined by . but the degree of saturation is still essentially ·100%. Similar behavior results when dry cotton is compressed. the volume of the. it is subject to · . the ball will be rather firm as long as it doesn't dry out too much. If the ball is compressed and then released. .10) (b) (6. special laboratory . effect is observed when a dilatant soil is stressed-the menisci retreat below the surface. A poirit is reached where no further volume decrease occurs. considerable uncertainty and thus is no longer commonly con~ticted. As shrinkage continues. Both may be readily derived from the figure and the phase relationships of Chapter 2. the tube will not return completely to its original length and diameter. Because mercury is a hazardous substance. the menisci are destroyed and the fibers again become extremely loose and soft.2 Shrinkage Limit Test How is the shrinkage limit determined? Atterberg's (191l) origi~~l work was with small bars or prisms of clay that he allowed to dry slowly.will decrease in volume. A loose ball of absorbent cotton is submerged in a beaker.11) 'I '.7.1.. Terzaghi figured out that one could just as well measure the dry volume and dry mass and back calculate the water content at the point of minimum volume. the volume of the dry soil V dry is d~termined. 2. and allowed to completely saturate.·· 6.4 Shrinkage Phenomena in Soils 231 Unless the walls of the tube are perfectly elastic.9. and at the same time he noted that the length was essentially a minimum at that point. If it is assumed to have compressible walls.and allowed to dry slowly. and the soil .water. if the compressed ball is removed from the water and released. the capillary stresses increase. 2.4. 6. If the cotton ball is again immersed in. Figure 6. After the oven dry mass Ms is obtained. it will essentially retain its compressed shape because of the capillary menisci that form around the fibers. the menisci become smaller. A soil sample slowly drying (that is. is placed in a small dish of known volume V. A small amount of soil of total mass M..) 6. it is quite elastic and becomes loose once the compressive forces are released. As a result.In·the discontinued standard . The water content at which this occurs is defined as the shrinkage limit (SL or ws).

232

Chapter 6 ,· Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks

Change in
color
·

"

/·"

:.,"

.-""

. •: l ' '
-----'

.Volume (cm 3)

V;

Change in
color

2;1
_u

~~·~·[~--~--~st---===~~~----~- ..
'11!1

Water content (%)
(b)

FIGURE 6.13 Determination of the shrinkage limit based on (a) total mass;
and (b) water content.
·

handling and disposal procedures are required. Consequently, a wax-displacement procedure was
1
developed and standardized in 1989 (ASTM D 4943). To prevent water absorption y the dry soil
specimen, it is first coated with wax before being submerged in water to determi e its dry volume.
The British Geological Survey has developed an automated apparatus called a Shrinkit" that uses
a laser, a 3D moving platform, and a digital balance to measure the 3D s nkage of a specimen
100 mm high and 100 mm in diameter (Hobbs and Jones, 2006).
,·,,
One of the biggest problems with both shrinkage limit tests is that tlie amount of shrinkage and
therefore the SL depends on the initial fabric of the soil. The standard p{ocedures start with the water
content above the)iJWid Jlmit. However, especially with sandy and silty clays, this often results in a
shrinkage limit greatertflantlie plastic limit, which is meaningless, since the SL should be less than the
PL (Fig. 2.8). Casagrande suggested that the initial water content be slightly greater than the PL, if

' .

6.4

, ', ·

Shrinkage Phenomena in Soils

233

possible, but admittedly it is difficult to avoid entrapping air bubbles in soils at lower water contents.
Besides air bubbles entrapped in the dry soil specimen, other problems with the SL test include errors
· resulting from specimen cracking during drying as well as weighing and other measurement errors.
· If one follows~rnnd~dvice and begins the test slightly above the plastic limit, then the
Atterberg limits for the soil plot nearthe A-lirie on the plasticity chart (Fig. 2.13) and the shrinkage
limit is very c~O. ~s_pl.Qt__a v the A-line, then 'the SL is less than 20 by an amount
ap_p~ual-t~a~ d~stance (llp;) above the A~line. Similarly, f?r ML an MH (and
OLandOH) smls, the shrmkage hmrt'"'iSgreatert~unt approximately equal to llp;
below the A-line where the limits plot. Therefore, the

(6.12)

This procedure and equation have been found to be about as accurate as the shrinkage limit test itself
because of all the problems with the test.
An even simpler procedure was suggested by Pro£ A. Casagrande in his lectures at Harvard University. If the U-line and A-lineofthe plasticity chart (Fig. 2.13) are extended, they converge at a point
with coordinates ( :._43.5, -46A), as shown in Fig. 6.14. Then if a line is extended from that point to the
coordinates of the liquid limit and plasticity index plotted on, the plasticity. chart, where_that line
crosses the hqmd hmit axis iS approximately the shrinkage limit. Although not an exact procedure, it is
close e
nsidering the other maccuracies we typically. deal with as geotechnical engineers as
well as the approximate nature of the shrinkage .limit test. If you can obtain a reasonable estimate of
the shrinkage limit from the plasticity chart, then the shrinkage limit test need not be performed, since
·
it provides no additional information of value. ·

':'"'

'---7P-7J-~'---7,LL,.:--L-----'----,--,-J--:-:-'-:-:--'---'----l...:....:.,~;

50

LL

Example:

FIGURE 6.14

.Soil (1): SL = 14
S<;>il (2): SL ~ 28.;

Casagrande's procedure for estimating the· shrinkage limit.. ,

;'' ' .

'.

';

234

Chapter 6

Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks

Note that when their water contents are near the SL; very fine-grained clay soils with highly
active clay minerals (those that plot near. the U-line) experience very large capillary pressures. These
soils will have shrinkage limits around 8, according to the Casagrande procedure. In fact, Prof.
. Casagrande observed shrinkage limits as low as 6 for montmorillonitic clays. Soils at the shrinkage
limit will have a very low void ratio because the capillary pressures are so large; these pressures are, for
example, much greater than can be achieved by compaction ..
·r

Example 6.5
Given:

A clay soil with a shrinkage limit of eight.
Required:

Assuming Ps ,; 2.70 Mg/m3 and S = 100%, calculate the void ritio and dry densityof the/soil.
'

.

"

'i\·

Solution: Use Eqs; (2.12) 'and (2.15)---·
. WPs . · O.OS(2.70 Mg/m3 )

e = -. =
p~

3

1 Mg/m
Ps , ·· 2.70 Mg/m3 '
•·

p = -- =
d

1

+e

1.22

'=

~- ·

. =

0.22
··

.

2 21 Mg/m3
·

••·
: :

: •

. .

=137·91bf/ft

3

The density of concrete is about 2.4 Mg/m3. Thus you can see that the capillary pressures must be very
large to cause soil to become so dense at the SL. It should not be surprising, then, that some clay soils
have very high dry strengths, and that dry strength is a good indicator of the presence of active clay
minerals. In fact, in Sec. 2.9.1 on visual-manual soil classification, we said that high dry strength is char·
'
acteristic of a CH clay.
One way to show that high capillary pressures can exist in soils is to allow a fat (CH) clay soil at
a high water content to dry slowly on your skin. The high shrinkage pressures will actually cause some
pain; in fact, this process was used during ancient times as a torture system. A human body covered
with clay drying slowly in the sun has ultimately very little resistance to pressures that can reach several atmospheres! (See Example 6.~.)

6.4.3

Shrinkage Properties of Compacted Clays
As shown in Fig. 6.15, soil specimens compacted wet of optimum have greater shrinkage than those
compacted dry of optimum. As illustrated in the upper part of the figure, different methods of compaction influence the magnitude of shrinkage, because they produce different soil fabrics. Go back and
reread Sec. 5.4 on the structure of compacted clays.
Results of shrinkage tests performed on a compacted silt and a glacial till are shown in Fig. 6.16
(Ho and Fredlund, 1989). By plotting void ratio e versus the product of water content and specific gravity
wG s, this figure shows that shrinkage is occurring as the water content and degree of saturation decrease.
Note too that the amount of shrinkage depends on the soil type and on theinitial water content. The
higher PI glacial till shrinks more than the silt, and both soils have more shrinkage when compacted at
optimum water content than when compacted dry of optimum. For additional information on shrinkage
and shrinkage test procedures, see Fredlund and Rahardjo (1993).

6:4· Shrinkage Phenomena in Soils
6.-~--~~--.----.-~.-----.---~.-----.

Optimum
water
content

. Wet of optimum

0
12

22

24

112.-----.-----.---~-,~----~---,-----,

;;-.t::
;;:::

.:.C
::::;.

108

;;--

~

.€

c:.

·5·

C)';

"Cii
Ql

"0

~

1.70 ·.~

106

(/)

c:

Cl

Ql

>

"0

~.

Cl

104

16

18

20

Molding ":"~ter content(%)

· · FIGURE 6.15 • Shrinkage as a function of water content and type of compaction
.(after Seed and Chan, 1959).
·, ••·
. .
.

·';

235

236

Chapter 6

Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks
Till (dry of optimum)
W 0 = 15.2%, e0 =.0.642
0.8.----.---.----.----.~~. .~_,---,,-~

Q)

e,o·
'0

'5

>

Till (at optimum)
W 0 = 18.5%, e0 = 0.567

FIGURE 6.16 Shrinkage characteristics of a compacted silt and
glacial till (Hoand Fredlund, ·
·. 1989).

6.5

0.8

~Gs.

EXPANSIVE SOILS AND ROCKS

Any soil or rock material that has the potential for significant volume change because of an increase in
water content is called an expansive soil (Nelson and Miller, 1992). Sometimes these materials are
called swelling soils or rocks. As mentioned above, in areas·where they are locally abundant, expansive
soils cause literally billions of dollars of damage each year to light structures and pavements. Expansive
rocks also cause serious problems during construction of excavations and tunnels. , · ·
Expansive soils are found throughout the world. They are very common in large areas of the North
American continent, southern as well as sub-Saharan Africa, large parts of Australia, western India, and
. the Mideast. In the United States, expansive soils are important in areas ofdesiccated and highly overconsolidated fine~ grained soils and weathered shales. This includes the Dakotas, Montana, eastern
Wyoming and Colorado, the four-comers area of the Southwest, parts of California, and East Texas. In
the western provinces of Canada between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes are huge areas of
Cretaceous clay-shales and clays that contain significant amounts of active clay minerals, particularly
smectite. These deposit~ are often highly expansive, as are the lacustrine clay deposits found in the large
Pleistocene glacial lakes, such as Glacial Lakes Agazziz and Regina in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
. Because the climate in most of the'central North American continent is arid or semi-arid, the
natural water content n;gime is often changed by human development and construction, irrigation, arid·
vegetation, and this leads to problems with light structures and pavements.·
.
Figure 6.17 shows the extent of potentially expansive soils in the United States. Because of their
small scale, these maps can give only a very general idea of potential problem areas, but at least you

~

High: Highly expansive arid/or
high frequency of occurrence ..
Medium: Moderately. expansive and/or
modera.te frequency of occurren~e

OCCURRENCE AND DISTRIBUTION

~Low: Generally of low e~pansivectiaracier
and/or low frequency of. occurrence·
0

Nonexpansive: The occurrence of expansive
materials extremely limited .
·
.........:. Southern limit of continental glaciation

100

FIGUR,E G.17 Occurrence and distribution ~f potentially
Station as presented by Nelson and Miller, 1992).
N

w

-..I

:·OF

.POTENTIALLY EXPANSIVE MATERIALS
IN THE UNITED STATES ..
1977
0

100 · 200 miles

e~pansive soils in the United States (after U.S. Army Engineer Wate~ays Experiment

238.

Chapter 6

Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks

can see that for many localities, swelling soils can be a serious problem. Thus it is important that you
' understand some of the characteristics of swelling soils, how to identify them, and what to do about
·them if you are unfortunate enough to find them on one of your projects. ·

6.5.1

·Physical-Chemical Aspects
Although fundamentally related to shrinkage, swelling soils are usually tre~ted as a separate subject,
largely because swelling is a somewhat more complex process than shrinkage (Yong and Warkentin,
1975). Remember that for a soil to shrink, it has to lose water through desiccation. It is just the opposite
for a swelling soil-it has to have access to water and contain minerals that will imbibe water.
Swelling soils usually contain clay minerals of the smectite group such as montmorillonite and
vermiculite (Chapter 4), although other active minerals such as mixed layer minerals may also contribute to swelling. These soils exhibit a very high dry strength and high plasticity, are often shiny in
. appearance when cut by a knife blade, have relatively deep shrinkage cracks; and when wet have a very
low shear strength (Chapter 12). All of these conditions are indicative of a potentially swelling soil.
.The amount of swelling and the magnitude of the resulting swelling pressure depend on the clay
minerals present in the soil, the soil structure and fabric, and several physical-chemical aspects of the
· soil that were 'discussed in Chapter 4. These include factors such as the cation exchange capacity, cation
· valence, salt concentration, cementation, and presence of organic matter. Everything else being equal,
montmorillonites swell more than illites, which swell more than kaolinites. Soils with random fabrics
.· tend to swell more than soils with oriented fabrics. Disturbance of or remolding of old natural clays
may increase the amount of swelling. Monovalent cations in a clay (for example, sodium montmoril, lonite) will swell more than divalent cations (for example, calcium montmorillonite). Cementation and
· · organic substances tend to reduce swelling.
.
.
Practically speaking, the three ingredients necessary for potentially damaging swelling to occur
are (1) presence of expansive clay minerals, especially montmorillonite, in the soil, (2) the natural
. water content at approximately the PL, and (3) a source of water for the potentially swelling clay
(Gromko, 1974). Nelson and Miller (1992) also point out that swelling potential is enhanced by the
presence of salt cations (e.g., sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium) in the pore water, because
the hydration of these cations can lead to large amounts of water between clay particles. For additional
information on the physical-chemical aspects of expansive,clays, see Mitchell and Soga (2005) and
Fredlund and Rahardjo (1993).

6.5.2

Identification and Prediction
How do engineers know if the soils and rocks at a site are expansive? Many metP,ods and procedures
have been developed over the years to identify expansive geo-materials and to predict their potential for
swelling. These methods include chemical and mineralogical analyses, correlations with the classification
and index properties, and laboratory tests that measure swelling pressure and volume changes.
.We mentioned above that the smectite minerals (e.g., montmorillonite, vermiculite) are the
most highly expansive, and as described in Sec. 4.4, these minerals can be identified by X-ray diffraction, differential thermal analyses, electron microscopy, and cation exchange capacity. Soils that
contain these minerals usually plot high above the A-line and just below the U-line on the plasticity
chart (Fig. 4.14).
Once identified, it is important to assess their swelling potential, and probably the most common way to do this is to use classification and index tests. Table 6.2 summarizes the experience of the
U.S. Dept. of the Interior based on their research on swelling clays and expansive soils (Holtz, 1959).
Figure 6.18 shows four other expansion prediction procedures based. on index and other properties:
For example, Kay (1990) showed that the percent expansion correlated quite well with the liquid limit
(range: 20 < LL < 100) for _expansive soils in southeastern ~ustralia. Gromko (1974) and Nelson

6.5 · Expansive Soils and Rocks
TABLE 6.2

239

Expansion Potential from Classification Test Data

Degree of
Expansion

Probable Expansion as a Percent of Total Volume
Change (Dry to S~turated Condition)t

Colloidal Content
(% --;1~-Lm)

Plasticity
Index, PI·

Shrinkage
Limit,SL

Very high
High
Medium
Low

>30
20--30
10--20
<10

>28
20--31
13-23
<15

: >35
25-41
15-28
<18

<11
7-12
10--16
>15

1Under a s~rch!lrge of 6.9 kPa (1 psi).
After Dept. of the Interior (1998) a~d Holtz (1959).

70 .·.
Q)

.

6o

·

0.

1

·.

I

.

2.0

.

·I
I .

~ ::~ ~~c--tt~

o

j

',ery

hi~h

a:

Cl

~ 1.6

...

~

c

/

30~-4-~~~=F==H~(g~h=.=J~~==~,~~

Q)

I

·I

I.

I
I'I
I

I
I
I
I,
I
I

I
.I
'I
.I
I
I
I
IE
.
1 xpans1on

1.4

"0

~

.I

"0

·~ 20 1----+-t--+.-.--.··_j__l./ I
; ·~

-'(ii

J

I

.~~ed;:. High.:. Very high

1.8
M'
E ..

Medi~m/
..,..,.,

..
· •·

10 -'----- ----- ------ -------

.!
LJw

. ::J. 1.2
':!:::: ,.

'

I

. .

.

70

80

(/)

-------r----- r------

.=

1.0
0.8

OL---~--~--~--~--~--~--~

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70'
Clay fraction of whole samples (% < 2 f.Lm)
.. .
.
(a)
106 . - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ,
I Special case
II High .
Ill Moderate
IV Low
V Nonexpansive

_.,;:)

0

10

20

200
180
100

a:

40

30

60

90

100

· Very high expansive
Expansive
·
~Low/None

..

\

. 50
40
30
20
10

5
10

20
30
40
Water content(%)
(c)

50

60

1.5 ..

2

3

4

5

6

LUPI
(d)

FIGURE 6.18 Soil expansion prediction based on: (a) activity (van der Merwe, 1964); (b) in situ dry density
and liquid limit (adapted from Mitchell and Gardner, 1975, and Gibbs, 1969); (c) suction versus water
content (McKeen, 1992); (d) log PI versus log LUPI (Marin-Nieto, 1997 and 2007).

10

240

Chapter 6 . < Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks
· ··and Miller (1992) provide additional correlations with soil classification properties that have been
'
"
·
.·.
successfully used to predict swelling potential.'
. ··· Several laboratory tests have beendeveloped io measure soil expansion inbothcompacted soils
' . as well as in specimens of undisturbed or natural soils: we will describe only a few of the more common
. tests; for details about other laboratory tests, see :Nelson ~md Miller (1992).
One fairly simple swelling identification test is the free-swell test developed by the U.S. Bureau of
:; ·· Reclamation (Holtz and Gibbs, 1956). The test is performed by slowly pouring 10 cm3 of dry soil; which
has passed the 425 mm (No: 40) sieve, into a 100 cm3 graduated cylinder filled with water, and observing
the equilibrium swelled volume. Free swell, expressed as a percentage; is defined as
. (final volume) - (initial volume)

freeswell =
...
. . XlOO(%)
Imtla1vo1ume
·

(6.13)

For comparison, highly swelling bentonites-(mostly Na~montmorillonite) will have free~swell values of
greater than 1200%. Even soils with free swells of 100% may cause damage to light structures when they
become wet; soils with free swells less than 50% have been found to exhibit only small volume chiing~s.
··· ·· Although the free swell test seems to be very simple, it has some problems, and it is no longer a
·. standard USBR test; Sridharan and Prakash (2000) point out that obtaining exactly 10 cm3 of soil is not
easy, andthey suggest using 10 g of dry soil in carbon tetrachloride or kerosene as well as distilled
water for comparison;
.
·
.
.•
.
. . ··
The expansion index (EI) test was developed for compacted soils in southern California, and it is
the basis for ASTM (2010) standard D 4829. The soil is passed through the No.4 sieve and moistened
to a water content close to its optimum. It is compacted in a very stiff steel ring about 25 mm high by
100 mm in diameter, and a vertical confining pressure of 6.9 kPa (1 psi) is applied to it; then the soil
specimen is inundated with distilled water. The deformation (expansion) of the· specinien is recorded
for 24 hr, or until the rate of deformation reaches a minimum value. The expansion index, EI, is defined
as 1000 times the change in height of the specimen divided by the initial height. Table 6.3 gives the
·.··'expansion potential for various expansion index (EI) ranges.
·
·
ASTM (2010) standard D 4546 is another test for determining the swell potential {)f compacted
soil specimens as well as undisturbed soil samples. This test permits eithe~ constant or varying applied
vertical pressures arid different inundation times. The apparatus used is the one-dimensional consolidometer described in C::hapter 8. A specimen of soil is confined in a stiff brass or stainless steel ring,
usually about20 to25 mm high and 50 to 100mm in diameter. For the free-swell test, the specimen is
loaded with a small seating load of 1 kP<i, inundated, and the change in height is observed. The results
are reported as "free-swell" strain for a given vertical pressu~e.
·· ·
A variation of the free-swell test is to keep loading the specimen after it is inundated so ihat the
height of the specimen remains constarii and measure the pressure required to maintain a constant
'

TABLE 6.3

EI
. 0-20
21-50
51-90
91-130
>130

'

'

)

.'

'

Expansion Potential for Giv~n Expansion Index Rariges'
Expansion Potential
Very low
Low'.
Medium
. High
··very high

•.·After ASTM (2010), Nelson and Miller(1992).

'

: 6.5'/ Expansive Soils and Rocks

241

volume. Still another variation is to apply an initial stress equal to the estimated in situ vertical pressure
and then, after inundation; apply increments of load required to prevent any change in specimen height.
The vertical stress necessary to maintain zero volume change is reported as the swelling pressure. USBR
tests 5705 and 5715 are similar in concept to ASTM D 4546, but they differ in some details such as
loading and unloading procedures.
Another method for quantifying the expansion potential of soils is· through the use of the
coefficient of linear extensibility (COLE) test, described by Nelson and Miller (1992) and used by the
U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. This test basically determines the linear strain (shrinkage
or expansion) of a natural clay specimen dried in unconfined conditions from 33 kPa (5 psi) suction to
oven-dry suction ( ""1000 MPa). The COLE value, expressed as a percentage, is used to predict expansion potential of soils with active ciay minerals. '

6.5.3

Expansive Properties of Compacted Clays
The swelling behavior of compacted fine-grained soils is n~t so:simple. As with natural soil deposits, the
tendency of compacted soils to expand depends on their fabric, and their fabric depends on whether they
are compacted wet dry of the optimum water content. You will recall from Chapter 5 that the optimum
water content is a function of the mechanical energy applied ("compactive effort") during compaction.
Generally, a soil compacted dry of optimum will have a more random (or flocculated) fabric than those
compacted wet of optimum. However, the fahric also' depends ori the method of compaction. If the soil is
repeatedly sheared during compaction-e.g.; in im'pact (Proctor) compaction, rather than simply compressed statically, then the fabric tends to be more oriented than random, and this happens more when
the soil is wet of optimum than dry.
.
.
, ·. ·. .
.

So how does all this affect swelling? Fine-grainedsoils compacted dry of optimum expand more
than if they are compacted wet. This is because they have a relatively greater water deficiency, and
thus they have a greater tendency to adsorb water and swell more. Greater capillary pressures in the
macropores of a random fabric of a soil dry of optimum also play a role. If the soil is compacted wet
of optimum, expansion will be about the same (i.e., a random fabric will behave similarly to an oriented fabric), because the affinity for water is already satisfied. Therefore, there is generally less
swelling on the wet than on the dry (flocculated) side, and this is shown in Fig. 6.19 for a high plasticity soil compacted at standard Proctor compaction. Soils compacted dry of optimum are)n general
more sensitive to environmental changes, such as changes in water content. The amount of expansion
also depends on whether the. clay is surcharged and on the magnitude of the load relative to the
swelling pressure. This is shown in test results on compacted specimens of a highly expansive clay
from the central valley of California (Fig. 6.20).
·
.
.
,•
Seed, Woodward, and Lundgren (1962) developed the relationships shown in Fig. 6.21 for artificial mixtures of sands and clays compacted to maximum density by standard Proctor compaction and
allowed to swell against a 6.9 kPa (1 psi) surcharge. These relationships between activity and percent
clay sizes have also been shown to be fairly good for many natural soils. The purpose of Fig. 6.21 is to
identify a compacted soil that is potentially s:wetling and that may require further investigation and .
··
laboratory testing. Figure 6.21 should not be used for design.

or

,

6.5.4

"

,

•I;

i

Swelling Rocks
According to Goodman (1989), only a few minerals are responsible for swelling in rocks and associated
.engineering problems. As you might expect, the clay minerals montmorillonite and vermiculite are
.problems when they are found in rock joints. Another problem mineral is anhydrite (or, more accurately, anhydrous calcium sulfate, CaS0 4). In addition, some basalts (fine-grained volcanic rock) and
salts found .in evaporite deposits can swell sufficiently to create problems for overlying or adjacent
structures. We are already familiar with montmorillonite (Chapter·4) and its·ability to, adsorb water

242

Chapter 6 ; · .. Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks
:28~~-+--~-r----+-----~--~~---r----~---,

26~--~--~~~~~-+----~~-+~~+---~

~

"rc
c

.l!!
c:

8
....

.l!!
~,.$:\_

; ~.

., '
·12J.

n

•n

"""'7'n

).

.

.??"·

•n

nn

~

n'n

• ' !

~

~

;

,1 "

,, .. -

' .. ·.

;!·

· · Molding water content(%)
<

<

'

FIGURE 6.19 Influence of molding wate'r ~o~tent and soil structure on the
swelling chartacteristics of a sandy clay (Seed and Chan, 1959).

.. ' '

~ ~

...

'·;

many times its OWn particle thickness (seeFig.4.16). Whenmontmorillonite is the principal clay mineral
in claystone and shale, and it has access to an adequate supply of water, it cim overcome cementation
' forces and expand considerably. Anhydrite is contained in deposits of galena and pyrite, among other
rock·types,and converts to gypsum when exposed to water.Vermiculite results from hydration of certain basalts and has a variety of coinnlercilil applications.·' '
''

6.5 · Expansive Soils and Rocks

243

1.9
1.8
1.7f
1.6

--5

Cl

.2:-

1.5 "iii
c:·
Q)

1.4
1.3

"0

2:-

Cl

1.2
1.1
1.0
40

60L-------~--------~------~

10

20

30
Water content(%)
"

(a).

__ Pressure developed at
zlero volume chfnge, kPa
.
120 ··-------~----·· ···--·--·-··-·· ·--·--·------·-··-·--·--··-!·--·----·--·-·-·-·--·--·· 1.9
.
I
100% Saturation curve
(G8 = 2.75)
·
·
1.8
&>'
Standa'rd compaction
17
~curve I
· f
!
0,
1oo f'--coo......-c--IJ""Y--.:-"'...---+-----1 1.6 5

:E

.2:-

Cl

l

1.5

~

Q)

~
2:-

Cl

-~

1.4 ~
Cl

80 !-:;-;----/---::;;;----+----=] 1.3
1.2
1.1

60L-------~--------~------~ 1.0.
10.
20
.30
40·
Water content(%)
(b)

.

.

FIGURE 6.20 Effects of placement
water content and dry density on .
the expansion characteristics of a ·
CH clay from the Delta-Mendota
Canal, California: (a) percent
expansion for various placement
conditions u·nder7 kPa;(b) total
uplift pressure at zero volume
change caused by wetting forvarious placement conditions
(U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 1998).

Rock can be tested for its swelling potential in a manner similar to that for clays, as described in
the preceding section. Goodman (1989)suggests placing a dry rock specimen in a stiff consolidometer
ring with some initial vertical stress applied to it, and then exposing it to water; during which the vertical stress and deformation are monitored: Figure 6.22 shows the results from swelling tests on two rock
types, the well-known Bearpaw shale from Montana and Wyoming and a Norwegian "fault gouge" (the
pulverized rock produced when two sides of a fault move past each other).

244

Chapter 6 ': Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks
5.--.r-.-.---.---.---.---.---.---.---.---,

.z.
·:;:

~
. Swelling potential = 25%
'/

/Swelling potential = 5%
Swelling potential = 1.5%

FIGURE 6.21 Classification
chart for swelling potential
of compacted clays (after Seed
et al., 1962).

6.6

0~--~--~--~--~~~~~--L---L---L-~

0

100
Percent clay sizes (finer than

o.oo2 mm) ·

ENGINEERING SIGNIFICANCE OF SHRINKAGE AND SWELLING
Several time~ in this chapter we have mentioned the enormou~ c~sts of damage caused by shrinking
and swelling soils to pavements, light structures such as houses, and other infrastructure. The damage is
rarely life threatening, but nonetheless it is important because of compromised serviceability, aesthetics, and the costs of repair and maintenance. Estimates of the damage costs caused by shrinking and
swelling soils range from about $10 to as inuch as $13 billion annually in the United States alone. To put
this in perspective, this cost is more than twice the annual cost of damage from floods, hurricanes, tor...
.
. ,nadoes, and earthquakes"combined! .
· The volume changes resulting from both shrinkage and swelling of fine-grained soils are often
.·large enough to seriously damage small buildings and highway pavements. A common occurrence is that
a pavement oi: building is constructed when the top soil layer is relatively dry. The structure covering the
. soil prevents further evaporation, and the soil increases in water content due to capillarity. If the soil is
. expansive, it may swell, and. if the vertical stress exerted by the pavement or building is less than the
swelling pressure; heave will result. Heave is usually uneven and diffenintial, and often cosmetic or even
structural damage results., ·
The effects of shrinkage of fine-grained soils can be significant from an engineering point of
view. Shrinkage cracks can occur locally when the capillary pressures exceed the tensile strength of
the soil..These cracks, part of the clay macrostructure (Chapter 4); are zones of weakness that can ~
reduce the overall strength of a soil mass and affect, for example, the. stability of clay slopes and the
l bearing capacity of foundations. The desiccated and cracked dry crust usually found over deposits of
soft clay affects the stability of highway and railroad embankments constructed on these deposits.
·Shrinkage and shrinkage cracks are caused by evaporation from the surface in dry climates, lowering

6.6

2.5.

5 ..

Engineering Significance of Shrinkage and Swelling

7.5

10

245

FIGURE 6.22 Swelling test
results for Bearpaw shale
15 . and fault gouge from
N()rway (Goodman, 1989).

12.5

%swell

of the groundwater. table, and even desiccation of soil by trees and shrubs dming tempo~ary dry spells
in otherwise humid climates. When the climate changes and the soils have access to water again, they
tend to increase in volume or swell. Bozozuk (1962) describes several examples of the type of damage
to structures on clay foundations caused by soil shrinkage, including that caused by trees and vegetation. Because of transpiration, water is drawn from the surrounding soils by' the plants'root systems,
and this causes soil shrinkage and differential settlements. For case histories of successful treatment
of ~ettlement problems caused by vegetation; see Wallace and Otto (1964) arid several papers in
· · . ·
·. , • ..

· . . .: . . ·
,
Vipulanandan eta!. (2001).
Swelling, like shrinkage, is generally confined to· the upper portions of a· soil deposit. Thus,
swelling damages light structures such as small buildings, highway pavements, and canal linings.
.. Swelling pressures as high as 1000 kPa have been measured,which is equivalent to an embankment
, .. thickness of 40 to 50 m. Ordinarily, such high pressures do not occur, but even with more modest
. swelling pressures of 100 or 200 kPa, for example, im embankment of 5 or 6 mwould be required to
prevent all swelling of the subgrade. (For comparison, an ordinary building imposes a stress something
on the order of 10 kPa perstoi"y.)
.. .
.
The process of shrinking and swelling is not completely reversible~the soil always has a memory
of its stress history and will show the effects of previous shrinkage and drying cycles. Thus soft clays
become what is called overconsolidated and less compressible because of the increase in effective stress
·
caused by capillary' action. Overconsolidation is discussed in Chapter 8. · . , .
Since the potential damage. to light structures and pavements due to shrinkage and swelling of
soils is so great; the engineer must pay special attention to this problem, if it is suspected that such soils
exist at a site. ·. ' .
·
·
· ·. ·.·
. '' . ·
What can engineers do to prevent damage to structures from shrinking and swelling soils? If it is
impractical to simply avoid' swelling soils'or to excavate and replace them with a suitable nonswelling
· fill, then your alternatives are (1) structural or (2) some type of soil treatment. The structural alternative
is either a foundation design that isolates the superstructure from soil deformations, or a foundation
'

-

1

l

246

Chapter 6 ·

Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks

that is stiff enough to resist differential settlements that might damage the superstructure. For example,
the structure can be' placed on driven or bored piles that extend through the expansive soil to a stable,
underlying stratum.' Sometimes the bored piles are "belled" or widened at the bottom to serve as
anchors to prevent the foundation frmn~ lifting up during expansion of the overlying soil. To reduce
uplift shear stresses on the upper part of the piles, they may be isolated from the swelling zone. Also a
gap is sometimes built between this type of foundation and the structure to allow the ground surface to
move without taking the superstructure with it.
·
As for soil treatment, there are three ways to modify the behavior of expansive soils: (1) moisture control, (2) prewetting, and (3) .chemical stabilization. If expansive soils deform· due to seasonal
moisture fluctuations, then one way to minimize this movement is to use a system 'of drains around the
foundation to channel surface and groundwater away from the area. Horizontaland/or vertical barriers can also be installed to minimize water movement into the problem soi{ Prewetting suspected
problem soils will allow potentially damaging swelling to take place prior to construction. Moisture
barriers and waterproof membranes have be.en used to prevent water from reaching the swelling soil.
Chemical stabilization, most commonly with lime (CaO), has also been successfully employed to
reduce swelling, especially of sodium montmorillonitic clays. The reason why it works is discussed in
Chapter 4. Other stabilizing agents such as Portland cement are sometimes used. You should be aware,
however, that not all lime and cement stabilization is successful, especially if sulfates are also present in
the expansive soils.:A crystalline subst~nce called ettrtngite is produced, and this causes subsequent
undesirable heaving in floor slabs· and other light structures (Puppala et 'al., 2005): The heaving can
occur moriths or even years after an apparently successful stabilization of the foundation.
· ·· · For additional practical information about all types of construction on expansive soils, see Chen
(1988), Nelson and Miller (1992), U.S. Department of the Army (1983), and Noe et al. (2007).

6.7

;<.;,

COLLAPSIBLE SOILS AND SUBSIDENCE .

~

:

}

Some soiis. e~ist th~t a~e ~tableandable t~ ~uppO'rtsig~if~c~I1t ~tru~turalloads when dry. But if their
. water content increases significantly, they undergo a .very large decrease in volume, even without a
. change in the surfaceload. These 'soils are called collapsible soils: As you might imagine, sudden
: unexpected settlements can be very detrimental to structures founded on collapsible soils. Thus, it is
important in advance ofconstruction to identify sites that are likely have collapsible soils so that
appropriate treatment measures can be ii1stituted:
·.· . '
. .. . : . . .
. .
.
.
. .. Examples of collapsible soils include loess (windblown silts and sands, Sec. 3.3.6), weakly .cemented
sands and silts, and certain residual soils. Other collapsible soils are found in alluvial flood plains and fans
as the remains of mudflows and slope ~ash and 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ial si~pe~: Many but not all collapsible'soil deposits
: ·,are associated with arid or semi-arid regi'on~ (su~h as the southwest United States and California). Some
dredged materials are collapsible, 'as are those deposited :under water' in which the sedimeht forms at
very slow rates of_ deposition (Rogers, 1994). As a consequence of their deposition, these deposits have
unusually high_yoid ratios and low densities. All soil deposits with collapse potential have one thing in
. common. They possess a loose, open, honeycomb structure. [Fig: 4.29(c)] in which the larger bulky grains
.. are held together by c'apillary films, montmorillonite or other clay minerals, or soluble salts such as halite,
. ' •
· ··
. · · ·
... ·.:·
' ' ·. ·
·
gypsum, or carbonates: ':.
An example of collapsing ~oil behavior is ~hown in Fig. 6.23. Two specimens of loess, one at a low
dry density and one at a higher dry density, arb g~adually loaded to about 700 kPa. Then ~ater is added,
and as shown in the figure, collapse occurs. This results ina large decrease in void ratio arid a concurrent
increase in dry density. As expected, the lower-densityspecimen experiences larger settlements than the
. ..
·
·
.
·
denser specimen.
·.
. .. · .
One wayto ass~ss the collaps'e potential of various soils, based on USBR experience, is shown in
Fig. 6.24. Soils with an in situ dry density Pd and a liquid limit LL to the left of the two lines should be

6.7 ,. Collapsible Soils.and Subsidence

'800

Low unit weight loess
natural moisture

14.0

r!)'

~

6
1::

Ol

''

·~

-

High unit weight loess:
natural moisture

',·

'2

:::1

' ...............
...

..... ....

2::'
15.0 0

'

'

.........

........

....

.

"

'

j("-........

High unit weight loess .--/ .
prewetted ·. ·

........
.

.... ....

'........ ' .... ..
·
·· ....... ':"' ........................ ....
............ ::::~ ........

-.
........ .:-.:-.:.

Pressure (lbf/in. 2 )
FIGURE 6.23 ·Effect of loading and wetting high and low unit weight loess soil foundations
(U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 1998).

Med.

High

Collapse

Very high

.Expansion
\ '

08
" o

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

LL
FIGURE 6.24 Collapsibility based on in situ dry density and liquid limit
(adapted from Mitchell and Gardner, 1975, and Gibbs, 1969).

247

248

Chapter 6 ·

·.· Hydrostatic Water in Soils .and Rocks

investigated further for their collapse potential. The lower curve is for soils with a specific gravity Gs of
2.60 and the upper curve is for Gs =. 2.70.

Collapse potential of a natural soil can be determined by aASTM (2010) sta!Jdard D 5333, which
is fundamentally the same as the one-dimensional swell test D4829 described in Sec..6.5.2. However, in
the case of the collapse potential test, an undisturbed soil sample at its natural water content is placed in
the consolidometer ring (Chapter 8), and vertical stress increments are applied' each hour until the .
design stress is achieved. Then the specimen is flooded with water, and the reduction in specimen height
is measured (versus the increase in height that occurs in the swelling test). The collapse potential, Ic(%),
is simply the percent strain at the stress level tested, or sometimes the collapse index is used, which is
defined. as the relative magnitude of strain at 200 kPa. The collapse index can be ·correlated to the
·· degree of specimen collapse, as given in Table 6.4. Another way to identify collapsible soils is by the fall
·
cone test (Ayadat and Hanna, 2007).
An extensive review of the identification and treatment of collapsible·soils is given by Dudley
(1970) and by Houston and Houston (1989). El-Ehwany and Houston (1990) provide recommendations
. •for site investigations for collapsible soil deposits. Bara (1978) also summarizes some of the methods for
predicting the decrease in void ratio upon wetting, as do Clemence an·d Finbarr (1981) and Houston
et aL (1988). A useful case history involving the prediction of a collapsible compacted fill is given by
Kropp et al. (1994) and by Noorany and Stanley (1994).
··. · ·, · •
. ·•
If a site is id~ntified that has significant collapse potential, what can engineers do to improve the
soils at the site and reduce the impact of potential collapse? Choice of method depends on depth of
treatment required and the nature of the cementation or bonding between soils grains. For modest
depths, compacting·with rollers, inundation, or overexcavation and recompaction, sometimes with
chemical stabilization, are often used; Dynamic compaction (Sec. 5.5.2) would also be feasible. For
deeper deposits, ponding or flooding is effective arid often the most economical treatment method
(Bara, 1978). Depending on the nature of the bonding between soil grains, inundation can result in a
compression of up to 8% or 10% of the thickness of the collapsible soil layer. Dynamic compaction,
blasting, vibro compaction~replacement, and grouting are potentially feasible improvement techniques. Much of this work is summarized by Holtz (1989) and Holtz et al. (2001); · ·
! ·
Another geohazard is subsidence, which can result in major damage to structures and other infrastructure at or near the ground surface. One important type of subsidence occurs on karst terrain, and
·you may recall from Sec. 3.3.2 that karstic features are associated with limestone bedrock. Underground
solution cavities can collapse and cause large sinkholes in built-up areas that can be very destructive to
surface structures. Karst terrain presents complex and challenging problems in site exploration, foundation design and construction, and for the remediation of damaged existing 'structures (Sitar, 1988; Sowers,
·1996). Another source of subsidence is the collapse of abandoned underground mines.
Regional subsidence due to compaction of unconsolidated sediments caused by withdrawal of
underground fluids (water, oil, and gas) can be very detrimental to structures and other infrastructure
at the surface. Mexico City is the classic case in geotechnical engineering because large areas of the city
have settled more than 10 m due to pumping of groundwater from an aquifer found conveniently
TABLE 6.4 Classification of Collap.se Index (ASTM, 2010)
· Collapse Index

Degree of Specimen Collapse

0
· 0.1 to2.0 ·
2.1 to 6.0
6.1 to 10.0
' ' '>10

None
Slight
·Moderate
Moderately severe
Severe

,'>

.,'

' 6.8

Frost Action

249

about 30 m below .the city. The reasons for such large settlements are explained in Chapter 8. Less
dramatic but nonetheless locally important subsidence has occurred in Bangkok, ·Thailand, and Las
Vegas, Nevada, but due to groundwater pumping. Regional subsidence due to pumping of oil and gas
caused significant subsidence to Long Beach, California, in the 1920s. For additional information on
regional land subsidence, see Holzer (1991) and Borchers (1998).

6.8

FROST ACTION

Whenever the air temperature falls below freezing, especially for more than a few days, it is possible
for the pore water in soils to freeze~ Frost action in soils can have several important engineering consequences. First, the volume of the soil can immediately increase. about 10% just due to the volumetric
expansion of water upon freezing. A second but significantly more important factor is the formation of
·. ice crystals and lenses in the soil. These lenses can even grow to several centimetres in thickness and
cause heaving and damage to light surface structures such as small buildings and highway pavements.
· If soils simply froze and expanded uniformly, structures would be evenly displaced, since the frozen soil
·is quite strong and easily able to support light structures. However, just as with swelling and shrinking
soils, the volume change is usually uneven, and this is what causes structural and other damage.
'., ·
· · The problems do not end here. During the spring, the ice lenses 'inelt and greatly increase the
· .water content and decrease the strength of the soiL Highway pavements especially can suffer serious
structural damage during the spring thaw (called, for obvious reasons, the "spring breakup'~).
Our understanding of the mechanism of ice lens formation as well as the conditions necessary
:for'detrimental frost action occurred relatively recently. Prior to the 1920s and the rapid development
of automobile traffic, roads were left snow covered for sleds during the winter. Since snow is a good
insulator, depths of frost penetration were limited and rarely was frost heave a problem. Because the
. .
traffic loads were light, there were' also few problems duririg the spring thaw. The problems began
·when it became necessary to remove snow for cars: At first, frost heave was attributed solely to the
10% volumetric expansion of water upon freezing. But some enterprising young engineers made some
measurements, both of the magnitude of heave and of the water content of highway subgrades. Professor Casagrande relates that, on one stretch of badly frost-heaving road in New Hampshire, measurements during the winter o£.1928-29 showed that the depth of frost penetration was about 45 em, and
the total surface heave was about 13. em. The water content, normally between.8% and 12%, had
increased significantly 'and ranged between 60% and 110%. When a test pit was excavated, the subgrade was full of ice lenses with a total thickness of (you guessed it!) 13 em! The miter table had been
located at some 2 m depth in the autumn, yet during the spring it was right below the pavement. When
the soil began to thaw in the spring, the upper layers became water saturated and yery soft_:_ the water
was trapped in the subgrade between the thawed surface layer and the top of the still frozen soil below.
Nowthe question was: how did the water get there? It wasn't there before the winter season. Also,
the observation was made that there was very little ice in clean sands and gravels. But with silty soils, ice
lenses wen! plentiful, and this fact suggested that capillarity was somehow involved. Further investigations showed that the formation of ice lenses also depended on the rate of freezing of the soil. If the soil
froze rapidly, as might occur during a cold snap early in the winter before there was significant snow, then
fewer ice lenses tended to form. With a slower rate of freezing, there were more ice lenses, and thicker
lenses tended to form nearer the bottom of the frozen layer. So, one condition for ice lens formation must
be that there is a source of water nearby. All these factors are discussed in the following sections.
Research during the past 80 years has explained many of the observed phenomena associated
with soil freezing and frost action. As might be expected, the process, especially with fine-grained soils,
is a rather complicated heat-diffusion (thermodynamic)and pore water-chemistry problem and is
related to the soil-water potential and water movement in frozen soils (Yong and .Warkentin, 1975;
Mitchell and Soga, 2005).
.
· ·. , ·
'
'

Chapter 6

250

-,;;,:·."

6.8.1

Hydrostatic Water in Soils and Rocks

The early history of research on frost action and frost heave is now in a U.S. Army Cold Regions <