Slope stability in slightly fissured claystones and marls
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The paper deals with the behavior of some characteristic soft rocks found in the Iberian Peninsula. In geological terms, they belong to Tertiary basins, the Keuper period and the Jurassic-Cretacic transition. The discussion is organized around the following aspects: (a) the intact material and its brittle behavior; (b) the weathering action of atmospheric events; (c) the persistent discontinuities and scale effects; and (d) the modification of strength after failure. In all cases, instability phenomena are addressed in connection with several case histories. Regarding material brittleness and the initial stress state, two cases of first time failures are discussed. Practical implications concerning the selection of operative strength will be given. Field observations of the relevance of weathering and, also, on the rate of weathering, are given for a Weald claystone. Field observations emphasize the importance of sharp transitions between weathered and intact (or slightly weathered) levels. A recent long-term laboratory investigation on the nature of degradation will be summarized. Macroscopic variables such as stiffness and tensile strength have been found to be uniquely predicted by a degradation law in terms of the accumulated plastic deformations. Persistent discontinuities and, in particular, sedimentation planes play a dominant role to explain slope failures not related to the shallow failures, usually associated with weathered profiles. The strength of discontinuities in a Weald formation was investigated by means of tests performed at two scales. Finally, the evolution in time of residual strength induced by chemical actions, associated with groundwater flow, is highlighted in connection with actual field data of unstable slopes.
The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10346-014-0526-5
CitationAlonso, E., Pinyol, N.M. Slope stability in slightly fissured claystones and marls. "Landslides", Agost 2015, vol. 12, núm. 4, p. 643-656.