Chapter 8 Engineering behaviour of desert soils
Published:January 01, 2012
P. C. Dauncey, M. R. Coop, Engineering Group Working Party, 2012. "Chapter 8 Engineering behaviour of desert soils", Hot Deserts: Engineering, Geology and Geomorphology Engineering Group Working Party Report, M. J. Walker
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Whilst a wide range of soils and rocks may be encountered in desert areas, hot desert soils are typically characterized by:
being dry or partially saturated;
may have a high soluble salt content;
may be cemented.
Engineering works will generally lead to changes in stress or changes in moisture content in the ground, and this chapter outlines the soil mechanics frameworks that allow the response to these changes to be assessed.
In arid environments, wetting of the soil from its natural dry state is a common result of construction activity and urban development. Ground movements caused by swelling or collapse of the soil may result. These movements can be relatively large and are often more significant than those resulting from a change in total stress.
The arid conditions allow soluble salts to remain in the soil, and they are thus encountered at depths and at concentrations not normally found in wetter environments. If the equilibrium is altered by changes in the groundwater regime, ingress of water or in the amount of evaporation at the ground surface, then leaching or precipitation of salts may lead to volume changes or changes in strength and/or stiffness of the ground. Salts may also change from anhydrous to hydrated forms (or vice versa) with consequential volume changes and associated ground movements.
All of these characteristics may be present in a given soil, which could, for example, be partially saturated and weakly cemented by soluble salts, and expand when wetted at low stress but collapse when wetted under higher stresses. The engineering
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Hot Deserts: Engineering, Geology and Geomorphology Engineering Group Working Party Report
This volume provides an authoritative and comprehensive state-of-the-art review of hot desert terrains in all parts of the world, their geomaterials and influence on civil engineering site investigation, design and construction. It primarily covers conditions and materials in modern hot deserts, but there is also coverage of unmodified ancient desert soils that exhibit engineering behaviour similar to modern desert materials. Thorough and up-to-date guidance on modern field evaluation and ground investigation techniques in hot arid areas is provided, including reference to a new approach to the desert model and detailed specialized assessments of the latest methods for materials characterization and testing.
The volume is based on world-wide experience in hot desert terrain and draws upon the knowledge and expertise of the members of a Geological Society Engineering Group Working Party comprising practising geologists, geomorphologists and civil engineers with a wealth of varied, but complementary experience of working in hot deserts.
This is an essential reference book for professionals, as well as a valuable textbook for students. It is written in a style that is accessible to the non-specialist. A comprehensive glossary is also included.