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Metastable soils may collapse because of the nature of their fabric. Generally speaking, these soils have porous textures, high void ratios and low densities. They have high apparent strengths at their natural moisture content, but large reductions of void ratio take place upon wetting and, particularly, when they are loaded because bonds between grains break down upon saturation. Worldwide, there is a range of natural soils that are metastable and can collapse, including loess, residual soils derived from the weathering of acid igneous rocks and from volcanic ashes and lavas, rapidly deposited and then desiccated debris flow materials such...

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