The influence of geology on the expansive potential of soil profiles

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A survey of 446 brick-veneer, single-family homes in College Station, Beaumont, San Antonio, and Waco, Texas, shows that the geology of the home site greatly influences the expansive potential of a soil profile. Effective plasticity index is used as a measure of a soil's shrink-swell potential; however in College Station the geological conditions provided subsurface wetting fronts which greatly enhanced the shrink-swell activity at low values of effective plasticity index. In Beaumont, San Antonio, and Waco, the depth of the active zone is important in controlling the expansive potential of the soil profile. -from Authors

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... Such a physical process has been recognized as one of the causal factors of landslide development on slopes (Popescu 2002). Expansive clay in the active zone (usually to a depth of 1.5 m), which is also known as the crack-rich zone (Mathewson and Dobson 1982), swells and shrinks due to the seasonal moisture variations. In particular, failures are common in this zone due to precipitation and longterm atmospheric drying and wetting cycles that reduces the shear strength of the topsoils (Puppala et al. 2013;Meisina 2006). ...
The risk level of an expansive soil landslide (ESL) is a key parameter employed for slope stability assessment. It also serves as a starting point for a risk management strategy constructed to mitigate the risk of slope failures and their harmful consequences. However, it is usually underestimated because of the complexity of geological and environmental conditions and the lack of systematic instability categorization. This study develops a probability evaluation method using Takagi–Sugeno (T–S) fuzzy fault tree analysis (T–S FFTA) for qualitative and quantitative risk assessment of the ESL considering soil properties, geological settings, weather conditions, and engineering activities. Fuzzy variables were used to determine the magnitude of the failure. The T–S fuzzy logic enables subjective and reasonable assessment by experts, with a combination of fuzzy variables to describe the relationships among events. Finally, two recent expansive soil landslides in China were investigated, and T–S FFTA was employed to identify their failure modes and critical risk factors.
Ground movement causes cracking in most types of buildings. Crack patterns are diagnostic indicators which implicate specific structural movements relative to a particular geologic hazard. A geotechnical model system for crack pattern nomenclature and taxonomic classification is introduced for the purpose of naming and describing cracks in walls and slabs. It provides a qualitative basis for the analysis of soil interaction with buildings. By understanding crack patterns an observer can determine, the sense of ground movement, the location of structural impact and the type of applied stress to buildings. Application of the proposed “Crack Classification System” can generate quality geologic and engineering information with a high level of certainty and confidence.
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