Clay mineralogy, mass structural features (e.g. relict discontinuities) and human activity all contributed to the initiation and retrogression of a creep-type instability in a saprolitic soil of volcanic rock origin at a landslip site in Hong Kong. Continuous creep resulted in the formation of a shear surface in the saprolite which then acted as a sliding surface when the slope was undercut. Shear zones have rarely been reported in saprolitic soils.

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