Concepts such as the sedimentation compression curve and overconsolidation ratio have a special resonance for geologists because they provide us with additional tools for studying the history of sedimentation and the stratigraphic succession. Colour, grain size, bedding, mineralogy and palaeontology all make their contribution to such work, but neither these nor geochemistry, nor geophysics can provide the algorithm which reveals the history of fabric development and its ability to resist load. Here the yield stress ratio is of great value.

When defined by Professor Burland, this ratio was seen as providing a useful measure of resistance that could not be...

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