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University of Regina (2012)

Engineering Properties of Badlands in Semi-Arid Regions

Khan, Fawad Muhammad

Titre : Engineering Properties of Badlands in Semi-Arid Regions

Auteur : Khan, Fawad Muhammad

Université de soutenance : University of Regina

Grade : Master of Applied Science in Environmental Systems Engineering 2012

Geology and seasonal weather variations govern the engineering properties of Avonlea badlands in Saskatchewan, Canada. Three surface sediments exhibiting distinct lithologic variations were found : a steep and fissured sandstone ; a mildly-sloped and popcorntextured mudrock ; and a flat and eroded pediment. The variation in material composition and the water availability conditions increase the saturation-desaturation cycle that ultimately affect material behavior. The fines content increased from dry to wet state with 17% to 33% for sandstone, 4% to 98% for mudrock, and 21% to 42% for pediment. The water adsorption capacity was found to be highest for mudrock (wl = 96% and wp = 47%) followed by sandstone (wl = 39% and wp = 31%) and then by pediment (wl = 31% and wp= 23%). The SWCC of sandstone and mudrock showed bimodal distributions with a low AEV (6 kPa and 9 kPa) pertaining to drainage through cracks and a high AEV (160 kPa and 92 kPa) associated with flow through the soil matrix. The pediment followed a unimodal SWCC with a single matrix AEV of 4 kPa. The saturated hydraulic conductivity for sandstone, mudrock and pediment measured 8.5 x 10-6 m/sec, 4.0 x 10-8 m/sec, and 1.8 x 10-5 m/sec respectively. XRD analyses indicated that the major clay minerals present were 14% illite (micaceous clay) in sandstone, 2.3% smectite, 7% kaolinite and 3.1% illite in mudrock while 3.8% illite in pediment. Mudrock was identified as the severe swelling potential badland sediment if desiccated. Overall, the swelling potential observed for sandstone, mudrock and pediment was approximately 19%, 102%, and 2% respectively.


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