Glacial till bluffs along Lake Erie’s shoreline, northeastern Ohio, contain three sets of joints that influence the hydraulic behavior of till mass like joints in rock influence the hydraulic behavior of rock mass. According to the Unified Soil Classification System, the till classifies as low plasticity silt to low plasticity clay, with a clay content of 36–41 percent. Mineralogically, it consists of quartz, illite, and kaolinite. The joints in till are either open or filled with sand, silt, or both from the overlying lacustrine material or with disintegrated till from the joint walls. We used double-ring infiltration and dye tests to estimate field permeability. Laboratory permeability tests were performed on dry and saturated samples of till material, with manually created joints that were either kept open or filled with sand or disintegrated till material to simulate field conditions. Field and laboratory test results showed that permeability of jointed till depended upon whether the joints were open or filled, the nature of the joint-filling material, and the water content of the till (dry versus saturated) and that permeability generally decreased with increasing test time. Dry samples exhibited a substantially larger decrease in permeability than saturated samples, with the largest decrease occurring during the first 24 hours. Open joints in dry samples collapsed during the test procedure, and the permeability of these samples was generally similar to the permeability of the collapsed till material. Permeability tests on saturated samples with open joints were inconclusive. We present a comparison of field and laboratory test results.

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