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Effect of argillic alteration on rock mass stability

Robert J. Watters and Warren D. Delahaut
Effect of argillic alteration on rock mass stability (in Clay and shale slope instability, William C. Haneberg (editor) and Scott A. Anderson (editor))
Reviews in Engineering Geology (1995) 10: 139-150


The role of hydrothermal alteration in producing clay-rich rocks is discussed. Hydrothermal fluids derived from magmatic sources change rock lithologies to argillic rocks as a result of temperature, pressure and chemical effects. The grade of the argillization can vary from one in which only trace amounts of clay minerals are present to one in which there has been complete alteration into clay. Detailed geologic surface mapping and subsurface drilling are required to accurately delineate the extent and grade of alteration. Suggestions are presented for assessing the grade and amount of alteration. Two examples illustrate the effects of argillic alteration on the engineering design of excavated slopes. One example demonstrates a successful design where alteration effects were incorporated into the initial design stage. The second example illustrates where an inadequate geologic model underestimated the grade and extent of alteration, and a landslide of over four million tons of material resulted. Reappraisal of the geologic model enabled a successful mitigation and incorporation of the clay-rich lithologies to be designed, and permitted continued safe excavation at the site.

ISSN: 0080-2018
EISSN: 2169-799X
Coden: GAEGA4
Serial Title: Reviews in Engineering Geology
Serial Volume: 10
Title: Effect of argillic alteration on rock mass stability
Title: Clay and shale slope instability
Author(s): Watters, Robert J.Delahaut, Warren D.
Author(s): Haneberg, William C.editor
Author(s): Anderson, Scott A.editor
Affiliation: University of Nevada-Reno, Department of Geological Sciences, Reno, NV, United States
Affiliation: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Socorro, NM, United States
Pages: 139-150
Published: 1995
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
Meeting name: Clay and shale slope instability
Meeting location: Cincinnati, OH, USA, United States
Meeting date: 19921992
References: 15
Accession Number: 1996-012570
Categories: Engineering geology
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, sects.
Secondary Affiliation: University of Hawaii, USA, United StatesFMC Gold Company, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 199606
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