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Mapping of quick clay using geoelectrical imaging and CPTU-resistivityNormal access

Authors: T. Dahlin, H. Löfroth, D. Schälin and P. Suer
Issue: Vol 11, No 6, December 2013 pp. 659 - 670
DOI: 10.3997/1873-0604.2013044
Special Topic: Geotechnical Assessment and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.75Mb )

Quick clay has a major impact on landslide risk and it is therefore of considerable interest to map its presence and extent. In Sweden, quick clay has been involved in most landslides in soft clay with serious consequences. The predominant method for detection of quick clay in Sweden has been to take undisturbed samples and to perform fall-cone tests on the clay in its undisturbed and remoulded state. Originally deposited in saltwater in a marine environment, the salt maintains the stability of the clay. When the salt is leached out, the clay can become quick. When salt is leached from clay of marine origin the resistivity increases. In this study the intention was to calibrate electrical imaging with cone penetration tests with resistivity measurements (CPTU-R) and measurement of the total penetration resistance, i.e. the total rod friction, together with both geotechnical and chemical analyses on specimens in the laboratory. The results show that electrical imaging can be used for separation of leached soil volumes in marine clays that may form quick clay, from those where the salt content remains too high for this. In the dry crust and thin weathered zone at the top, the resistivity is high but the clay is non-quick. Also soils with less clay content will have higher resistivity without being quick. The technique may thus be used as a screening tool in order to delimit areas where further investigations are needed from areas that do not require more attention. This has a potential of saving significant resources if used in a relatively early stage of the survey process. It can also increase the overall quality and reliability of the survey results. The induced polarization (IP) results are consistent and seem to be geologically realistic, and appear to contain additional information to the resistivity that is related to material or electrochemical properties, although it is not clear how due to lack of sufficiently detailed reference data. The electrical imaging gives a general picture of the variation in resistivity along soil sections. The CPTU-R gives variations at depth with very high vertical resolution in one specific location. There is generally good agreement between the models based on electrical imaging and the CPTU-R. The CPTU-R results may be used to calibrate the electrical imaging results with quick clay estimations based on rod friction.

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