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Abstract

The lithologic characteristics and slake durability of mudrocks from 48 natural and human-made slopes were investigated with the objective of developing a classification of mudrock durability for slope stability purposes. Slopes from which samples were taken ranged from long-term stable to highly unstable. Samples included 10 claystones, 17 shales, and 21 mudstones. The durability of mudrocks was classified as high, medium, or low on the basis of relationships between lithologic characteristics, slake durability, and slope conditions, as observed in the field. The three classes of durability were then used to evaluate the likelihood of occurrence of the four commonly recognized types of instability that affect slopes in mudrocks: excessive erosion, slumps, debris flows, and undercutting-induced failures. High-durability mudrocks were found to be susceptible to undercutting only, medium-durability mudrocks to slumps, debris flows, and undercutting-induced failures, and low-durability mudrocks to all four types of slope instability.

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