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Geotechnical Problem Solving by John C. Lommler

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3.3

Self-Weight Settlement of Sandy Soils

3.3.1 Introduction to Collapsible Soils

Various authors use the term “collapsible soil” with differing meanings. In this text, I use the term soil collapse to describe a two-stage settlement upon wetting of a dry granular soil due to its self-weight.

The first stage of collapse is structural collapse of a very loose granular soil with a metastable structure. This collapse is due to loss of particle cementing and macrostructure support upon wetting. After the metastable soil's cemented particle bonds break and its support structure collapses, it is still a very loose soil, and so it may continue to settle by loss of soil suction due to wetting, as described by Fredlund (Tadepalli, Fredlund, and Rahardjo 1992).

Montessa Park located south of Albuquerque, New Mexico is infamous for the presence of highly collapsible soils (Hansen, Booth, and Beckwith, 1989). In Figure 3.3.1, the jail at Montessa Park settled so severely after wetting of collapsible soils that it had to be abandoned and demolished.

Figure 3.3.1 Collapse settlement damage to building, Montessa Park, New Mexico caused facility to be abandoned six months after construction

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In Figure 3.3.2, I am collecting block samples of collapsible soil from an exposure located near the abandoned jail in Montessa Park. I had read the papers written by my colleagues at Sergent, Hauskins and ...

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