Loess, a wind-blown silty soil, can be deposited under a variety of moisture conditions, including dry deposition, wet deposition and gravitational settling of aggregations formed in moist air by capillary forces at grain contacts. This experimental study uses single and double oedometer tests to assess the effect of depositional water content on the collapse potential of reconstituted samples of the Langley Silt Member, known as Brickearth, a natural loessic soil. A freefall sample preparation technique was used to mimic loess formation and environmental scanning electron microscopy was used to relate the observed behaviour to sample fabric. The results show that loess deposited at higher water contents has a greater collapse potential, which is shown to be related to its looser, more granular fabric.

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