The construction of a mass transit railway in Hong Kong and Kowloon provided opportunities to study the properties of completely weathered granite both in engineering site investigation boreholes and in situ stress measurements in earth pressure cells in the walls of excavations up to 30 m deep. The shear strength profiles of the material are compared with existing models of soil and rock behaviour, and conclusions are made on problems such as the existence of true cohesion, the effect of laboratory saturation, and the influence of relic joints.

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