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ROWE, P. W. (1972). G&otechnique 22, No. 2, 195~300.

The relevance of soil fabric to site investigation practice


Data are collected from 35 sites where the fabric On a rassemble les donnees relatives a 35 sites pour
of clay soils is related to laboratory and field beha- lesquels le comportement des sols au laboratoire et
in situ est fonction de la nature de l’argile. Les sites
viour. The sites are chosen to range over the ont Cte choisis de man&e a recouvrir les differentes
geological series from Recent to Ordovician time dpoques geologiques allant de l’epoque recente a
and to include applications to dams, road embank- I’Ordovicien et de maniere a comprendre les appli-
ments, cuts, retaining walls, foundations and culverts. cations aux barrages, aux talus de routes, aux murs
de souttnement, aux fondations et aux canaux.
The cases illustrate the inadequacy of conventional Ces exemples demontrent l’inadaptation des
site investigation procedure for major civil engineer- methodes classiques d’dtudes des sites pour les pro-
ing projects with respect to the relevant properties of jets importants de genie civil en ce qui concerne les
natural foundation strata. It is shown to be essential proprittes des couches de fondations naturelles.
On montre qu’il est essentiel de commencer par
first to examine, describe and record the fabrics of examiner, decrire et noter la texture des echantillons
consecutive soil samples and if sampling is relevant isoles et si ceux-ci sont representatifs il faut alors
to use the knowledge of the overall geology, fabric utiliser les don&es fournies par la geologic g&&ale,
details, and water levels in relation to the engineering les details de la texture? les niveaux d’eau, en fonction
des problemes de gtme civil poses pour decider du
problem to decide the location, quality, and size of choix de l’emplacement, de la qualite et de la taille
specimens for element and model tests. The quality des carottes pour les essais sur modeles ou en labora-
and size of specimens influence the drilling technique. toire. La qualite et la taille des carottes influencent
Brief mention is made of consecutive and continu- la methode de forage a utiliser.
On cite rapidement le carottage continu ou dis-
ous sampling, of stereo photomacrographic tech- continu, les techniques de stereo photomacrographie,
nique, of equipment for sampling and testing le materiel de prise d’echantillons et d’essais pour
250 mm dia. specimens and of a centrifuge large carottes de 250 mm de diamttre et une centrifugeuse
enough to accept models representative of natural suffisamment grande pour recevoir les modeles
fabric. representatifs d’une structure naturelle.
ies suggestions faites, examinees en fonction des
The proposals, which are reviewed in the light of travaux anterieurs de Hvorslev, Harding, Terzaghi et
earlier work of Hvorslev, Harding, Terzaghi, and Peck, peuvent Btre adapt&es’ au type d’etudes le
Peck, are adaptable to the class of investigation mieux approprie aux probltmes, a la gtologie et au
appropriate to the problem, the geology and the budget disponible.
available finance. Financial arrangements which On considere comme essentiel pour obtenir une
amelioration dans la qualite de l’ttude des sites, que
avoid overall competitive tendering for site investi- des accords financiers soient pris pour eviter des
gations are considered to be essential if improvements soumissions trop competitives pour la reconnais-
in the quality of site reports are to be achieved. sance des ~01s.

Rankine analysed an element of loose earth and applied his findings to the prediction of mass
behaviour. His steps are followed when samples are taken and specimen tests are
made. But unless the specimens are sufficiently representative of the strata and their
geological structure and unless the stress states are representative of those in the field, the pre-
diction of performance can be completely erroneous.
The design and construction of civil engineering works are invariably preceded by a site
investigation, the purpose being to inform the designer as to the nature of the materials of
construction. A study of site investigation reports from a wide variety of reputable firms over
the last twenty years leads me to the conclusion that the most common basic description of
cohesive soils is that of ‘silty clay’. The qualifying descriptions of peat, shell or stone inclu-
sions and sand or silt layers are noted when observed, but, more often than not, considerable
depths of clay deposits are qualified simply by the terms ‘soft’, ‘firm’ and ‘hard’, together with
* Professor of Soil Mechanics, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Manchester.
196 P. W. ROWE

‘grey’, ‘brown’ and ‘mottled’, terms which apply equally well when the clay is remoulded. A
coarser texture may be described as sandy clay and various combinations of the terms ‘sand’,
‘silt’ and ‘clay’ are available. The basic term ‘silty clay’ is correct in that deposits having
100% clay size fraction are very rare, almost all clay being associated with silt. In that sense
a sandy clay does not exist, being strictly a sandy silty clay. Following the Code of Practice
for Site Investigations (1957), clays have been divided further into two main classes, namely the
fissured and the ‘intact’ clay, irrespective of the fact that many an intact clay when wet can be
separated easily on a wide variety of planes by slight tension in the hand, or will collapse
rapidly to a slurry when immersed in water, in contrast to the behaviour of the same clay when
remoulded and reconsolidated. The often neglected factor which can dominate engineering
behaviour is the arrangement of the minor geological details of a deposit, namely the soil fabric.
The terms ‘structure’ and ‘fabric’ have been defined in different ways. Terzaghi and Peck
(1948) defined structure as ‘the pattern in which soil particles are arranged in the aggregate’.
Mitchell (1956) defined fabric as ‘the appearance of pattern produced by the shapes and
arrangement of the mineral grains’. Scott (1963) refers to ‘structure or fabric’ as terms
attempting ‘to describe the geometrical interrelationships among soil particles with respect to
the local and general degree of orientation of the grains’. Lambe and Whitman (1969) state
that ‘the term soil structure refers to the orientation and distribution of particles in a soil mass
(also called fabric and architecture)‘. Geologists use the word ‘fabric’ to define that part of
the texture of rocks which depends on the shape and arrangement of the constituents (Rice,
1954) and a similar use of the term is made by Pettijohn (1957). In most cases the word
‘fabric’ is taken to cover the arrangement of the soil constituents and for engineering purposes
this should also include the organic component of soil (Cheetham, 1971).
The term ‘fabric’ may be taken therefore to refer to the size, shape and arrangement of the
solid particles, the organic inclusions and the associated voids. The term ‘structure’ is the ele-
ment of fabric which deals with the arrangement of a particular size range. Thus clay particle
arrangements constitute ‘structure’ whereas the arrangement of particle groups for example
in layers having different particle sizes comes under ‘fabric’. This differs from the definition
adopted by Brewer (1964).
The size of the principal soil components has formed the basis of past description together
with an occasional reference to shape and arrangement but it will be shown that fabric examina-
tion can prove so essential for an engineering appreciation of a site that it dominates the way
site investigations should be conducted.
Soil mechanics theory has developed primarily from a study either of uniform remoulded
soils or of the results of observations on natural deposits analysed on the basis of uniform
material. This treatment has direct practical application to fills and can be reliable for natural
deposits once the influence of the fabric on the numerical values of the relevant soil parameters
is taken into account. Fabric affects a wide range of properties but I shall confine myself to
the two principal properties which have engaged my attention.
The first is the coefficient of consolidation (or swelling) whose value is dominated by the
mass permeability induced by fabric. All the results to be presented refer to tests on 250 mm
dia. specimens using the hydraulic consolidation cell (Rowe and Barden, 1966). Unless other-
wise stated, the conventional small consolidation specimen would yield coefficients of con-
solidation between O-3 and 5 m2/yr, these being similar to the values for the same soils re-
moulded. It should also be borne in mind that below the overconsolidation pressure the
reduced soil compressibility can raise the coefficient of consolidation by factors between 1 and 10
above the corresponding remoulded values.
The second property is the ‘undrained’ shear strength of silty clays, the validity of the

associated ‘no water content change’ assumption being dependent on absence of relatively
permeable fabric.
It is proposed to trace the incidence of fabrics through the geological series and to illustrate
their significance in relation both to site investigations and to site performance by an examina-
tion of typical recent case histories and reports. The geological series is a necessary basis for
examination because a fabric is a result both of the conditions at deposition and of sub-
sequent events.
The detailed terminology and technique of fabric description is beyond the scope of this
Lecture which is confined to some of the more elementary typical and repetitive features visible
directly to the eye or with the aid of simple photomacrographic techniques. The photographs
are presented as stereo-pairs at natural scale and at x 30 magnification when, for example,
coarse to fine silt appears as coarse to fine sand. They were taken using a simple single lens
reflex 35 mm camera with a macro lens attachment.
Although the cases illustrate the inadequacy of conventional site investigation procedure it
is not the intention to imply any fault on the part of site investigation firms or indeed of any
section of the profession. Present procedures have evolved on the practical basis of seeking
general information for the lowest cost and it is necessary first to examine the relevance or
otherwise of the information actually obtained from common site investigation data.


Recent alluvial deposits
The first example refers to the alluvial plain of the River Forth where a new lock is under
Figure l* shows a simplified log of the detailed visual examination of consecutive 76 mm dia.
samples on site and in the laboratory from three boreholes. Between the fill and the base sand
are two principal strata, namely
A. Dilatant black clayey SILT layered with SAND
B. Dilatant black pedal clayey SILT with sand inclusions and fine sand layers.
Superimposed on these general descriptions are the elevations of the more dominant visual
fabric of thick to thin layers of coarse to fine sand, of very fine silt and sand layers 0.2 mm thick
called ‘partings’ at 5 mm intervals, of sand inclusions and of incidental features such as
occasional shells.
The typical appearance of stratum A is shown in Fig. 2(a).l The grading shows 5-20x
sand and 15-19% clay fraction but the deposit is so coarsely layered with sand 5-100 mm
thick at 1 m intervals that it behaves as a stratum of sand. Fig. 2(b) shows a stereo pair of
finer layering, at natural scale, and Fig. 2(c) shows a typical silt layer at x 30 magnification.
Figure 2(d) shows a vertical split section of stratum B. The sample may be pulled apart
readily at the boundaries of basic lumps called ‘peds’ which are natural soil aggregates
separated by planes of weakness. No fine sand layers are visible outcropping on a vertical
plane in this sample, but splitting a sample at a succession of elevations on horizontal planes
gave the appearance in Fig. 2(e) where irregular silt and sand inclusions, pockets and dustings
occurred on ped faces. The stereo pair in Fig. 2(f) shows typical bedding planes of clean
medium to coarse silt in partings about 0.2 mm thick and Fig. 2(g) shows a silt parting at x 30
magnification in the bedding plane. The clay fraction varied between 18 and 28% and the
sand fraction was 5-25x.
1Additional properties and descriptions of all specimens shown in the photographs are given in the Appendix.
* Figures 1-74 are on pp. 225-292.
198 P. W. ROWE

On the basis of grading, strata A and B are virtually identical but the much finer and less
frequent layers make these parts of B considerably less permeable than A. Nevertheless, in
situ permeability tests on piezometers with l-5 m deep response zones in B gave 10e8 to
10m7 m/s so that initially it was 100-1000 times more permeable than a remoulded silty clay
at lo-lo m/s.
Figure 3 shows the logs of previous (1966) boreholes located close to those reported in Fig. 1
and the strata boundaries from Fig. 1 are marked with broken lines. Whereas the location of
the lower sand is agreed, the alternative use of the terms ‘clayey silt’ and ‘silty clay’ indicates
indecision or a change of driller. At BH 10 the presence of sand and silt was noted but it was
described in the form of pockets, implying no drainage connexion. Substitution of the
natural stratum for fill at BH 12 is not typical.
The original holes were drilled by the standard ‘dry’ shell and auger method and it can be
imagined that the combination of high permeability and high water pressure gradient induced
by dry drilling caused a flow of water towards the base of the borehole and a softening of the
deposit prior to sampling and testing. Undrained shear tests using both triaxial specimens
and the vane led to the typical wide scatter seen in Fig. 4, of a similar order to that reported by
Skempton (1948a) on an adjacent site. Skempton was careful to note the presence of thin
layers of fine sand. He showed that a field vane pushed 0.75 m below the base of the borehole
gave higher strengths, with less disturbance, and remarked that more factors were likely to be
involved than structural disturbance. It is now seen that this clay was sensitive not so much to
mechanical shear as to change in water content. The improved strength resulted from the
smaller degree of softening at depth below the base of the borehole. Recent (1971) small
samples taken from boreholes drilled full of water showed a marked increase in strength with
depth, see Fig. 4, due to further control of softening.
Out of a total of 222 conventional mechanical tests on soil specimens in 1966,219 were con-
ducted to determine the undrained shear strengths. These data are applicable only to a
$u=O analysis which carries the restriction of no water content change (Skempton, 1948b).
Three conventional oedometer tests were performed which gave c, in the range 1.4-6.8 m2/yr
which might appear to establish that stratum B would behave with little water content change
during construction. Yet recent consolidation tests on 250 mm dia. specimens containing
only the thin partings gave coefficients ten times higher at low effective stress,2 see Fig. 5. As
a result the floor of an adjacent existing lock, which rested in stratum B, was more sensitive
to the necessary dewatering operations in the lower sand associated with the new lock construc-
tion than could have been anticipated from the 1966 investigation. Additional recharge wells
were necessary to protect the old lock and these wells had to be lined out through stratum A
owing to its high permeability. The observed settlements on the side of the new lock remote
from the old lock later indicated a rapid consolidation of stratum B due to dewatering the
lower sands whereas near the recharge wells settlement was prevented. The original wide
scatter and doubtful value of the data on strength, the low consolidation rate and the failure to
differentiate between strata A and B can be traced to the lack of a detailed fabric examination
during the original site investigation.
Figure 6 shows the results of the original (1963) site investigation at Hardham on the line of
a new water main which was to cross an alluvial plain. The deposits lay in the bed of a
Pleistocene channel carved through the Gault clay partly into the Folkestone Sand Beds and
the boring appears to have terminated when these harder beds were met. One proposal was
to carry the pipes on a small 2.4 m high embankment but when, as a result of the dry shell and
2 It may be noted that the performance of the two sizes of specimen are being compared at the same effective stress level
and that the large specimen values rise up towards the region of the in situ permeability measurements.

auger drilling and conventional sampling and testing, the very low shear strength and very low
consolidation rate of the silty clays was reported, it was decided to carry the pipes underground
in a floating concrete culvert, founded at 36 m depth. This had the added advantage of keep-
ing the pipes accessible at all times in periods of flood.
At that stage it was not known that the water level in the Folkestone Beds would later be
lowered by pumping to below the base of the clays in order to augment supply. Had this
been appreciated the case history reported by Terzaghi in his James Forrest lecture (1939)
might well have been recalled, where a 6 m thickness of soft clay settled 600 mm when water
had been pumped out of a sand layer located below the clay. In the present case the clays
were reported to be some 9.6 m thick so that settlements of the order of 900 mm might then
have been anticipated. Terzaghi stated that ‘At the present state of knowledge the settlement
due to pumping from sand strata located beneath beds of clay can be computed with a reason-
able degree of accuracy from the results of soil tests on undisturbed samples’. I propose to
demonstrate that the word ‘reasonable’ may be open to wide interpretation if an examination of
fabric is neglected.
When the culvert settled and cracked, the site was subjected to a more detailed investigation,
and guided by consecutive sampling3 in water-filled boreholes the section shown in Fig. 7 was
developed. Following the end of the glacial flood period and the deposition of sand and
gravel in the Channel, a rise in sea level caused an ingress of sea water and the deposition of
strata 5a and 4. Figs S(a) and (b) show the uniform coarse texture of graded, dense sand, silt
and clay, stratum 5a, deposited on the north side, possibly in bulk from melting ice. Figs 8(c)
and (d) show a more compressible silt and clay fraction, stratum 4, deposited on the south side
progressively through water and containing very occasional coarser layers. Intermittent
drying and flooding probably occurred with tidal variations, causing a pedal fabric of very fine
fissures by desiccation, followed by silt intrusions, and slight organic growth as seen in the
natural size sample. Otherwise the material is relatively uniform, the mass being typical of
that shown in Fig. S(d) adjacent to a drying crack.
The siltation of the Channel was followed by a warm period with intense vegetation, and
stratum 3 varied between a highly organic clay, and peat, with decomposed wood up to 75 mm
in dia. Figs S(e) and (f) show the fibrous inclusions and the open channel texture making the
stratum highly compressible and permeable. The stratum was raised by floodings from the
drainage channel in the vicinity of BH 2. This later became filled with silt and sand and was
buried by alluvial deposits from the present rivers, strata 2 and 1. Stratum 2 (Figs S(g) and
(h)) is fissured by desiccation, has occasional thin coarse layers of sand showing organic stain-
ing and contains vertical organic rootlets with many open voids and channels. Stratum 1 is
less open (Figs 8(i) and (j)) contains horizontal as well as vertical rootlets and has rather more
fine sand layers, 3-6 mm thick.
The sand layers, open channels and open organic roots in strata l-3 indicate high permea-
bility at low effective stress. The smaller degree of layering and organic matter in stratum 4
and the absence of both in stratum 5 notwithstanding the greater proportion of sand sized
particles make strata 4 and 5 less permeable. Guided by these observations, in situ permea-
bility tests gave the values shown in Table 1.
It is seen that the upper strata 2 and 3 were some 20 times more permeable than the lower
strata 4 and 5. Consequently, during the ground water lowering at the base of the clays, the
rivers Arun and Rother supplied water to the upper strata faster than it could seep away through
the lower strata. Fig. 7 shows that the piezometric level was maintained at normal ground
water level as far as the top of stratum 4 and the culvert floated in the upper strata, as designed,
3 See pages 214-215 and Figs 64 and 67(a) for the distinction between consecutive and continuous sampling.
200 P. W. ROWE

Table 1. In situ permeabilities at Hardham

Permeability, m/s
Stratum Range Mean

6x lo-@ to 3 x 1O-6 4x lo-’

2 x lo-’ to 1 x 10-G 4x 10-T
4 1 x 10-e to 4 x 10-a 2x 10-e
5 3x10-9to3x10-~ 1x 10-a

unaffected by the potentially high compressibility of stratum 3 in which it was founded. The
culvert settlement had been due entirely to the consolidation of strata 4 and 5.
Large diameter hydraulic cell consolidation tests led to permeability values in agreement
with field permeability measurements at low effective stress but showed a marked decrease in
drainage rate to values 50-100 times smaller for stratum 4 after full consolidation, see Fig. 9.
Since full consolidation occurred only at the base, a variable permeability developed across the
stratum with the main sealing layer towards the base. The ground water level in the Folkstone
Beds fell below the base of the clay only after a fluctuating drawdown over a period lasting
seven years and it was not possible to predict either the pumping requirements, and therefore
the drawdown rate, or the degree of suction which would be maintained at the lower boundary.
Once the drawdown was established the theoretical and observed settlements at locations free
of laterial restraint, see Fig. 10, were in reasonable agreement, assuming 8 m of suction at the
base and making allowance for local construction settlement due to partial dewateringof
stratum 3 by well points. The maintenance of this high suction is probably associated with the
uniformly graded condition of the gravel and sand overlying the Folkestone Beds.
The cracks in the culvert, with inflow of water, occurred where the culvert joined the south
entrance chamber, and the pipe bridge over the River Arun, these structures being on piles,
and also near the north entrance chamber which was founded over the edge of the glacial
Channel. A crack also occurred at the reversal of the curvature over the buried river channel.
The settlement shape reflects the influence of the overall geology and the pumping on the design
but the future amount and time rate of the settlement could only be determined with the aid of
an examination of the fabric. This has enabled the cracks to be sealed at a stage when it was
known that settlement was virtually complete.
The free and adjustable location of the pipes within the culvert ensured an uninterrupted
supply of water throughout the settlement period, while the culvert accommodated differential
settlements of 300-450 mm satisfactorily. However, had the pumping been foreseen, the
initial site investigation report which included an estimate of 350-400 mm settlement for an
embankment 2-4 m high could have led to an erroneous estimate of 800-1200 mm of settle-
ment under a drawdown of 15 m, and the culvert might have been abandoned.
Figure 11 shows the result of a recent conventional ‘dry’ shell and auger exploration for a
road embankment over the flood plain of the River Mersey at Chorlton. The usual qualifying
descriptions of ‘grey-brown-mottled-silty-sandy’ are omitted. The apparent softness of the
clays and silts as seen by reports of sinking tools, and their low permeability in small speci-
men tests with coefficients of consolidation in the range O-6-10 m’/yr led to the recommenda-
tion of sand drains or stone columns. Fig. 12 shows a simplified description of the significant
fabric after the investigation was repeated by taking consecutive samples in water filled bore-
holes. Extensive silt and sand partings, silt clusters and silt intrusions in organic veins
together with a vertical rootlet system, in a matrix of coarse open texture (Fig. 13) indicated a
high mass permeability at low effective stress. In situ permeability measurement led to initial

coefficients of consolidation of lo’-lo4 m2/yr, this being a technical way of stating that some of
the 19 mm standpipes in the clay could hardly be filled to ground level. Although consolidation
tests on large specimens showed a decrease to the range l-10 m2/yr under the maximum effective
stress imposed by the embankment, no foundation treatment was necessary.
Many other recent deposits have been studied where the original description was ‘silty
clay ’ of which the following are but two examples. Fig. 14 shows typical layered and laminated
fabric in Morecambe Bay which had a dominant influence on feasibility studies for a barrage.
In another case of a motorway route in Fiji where nearly &lo0 000 had been spent on the site
investigation, a medium to coarse silt (Fig. 15(a)) and thin layers of fine sand to medium silt in
clay (Fig. 15(b)) were proved where extensive depths of silty clay had been reported. Em-
bankment settlements over a deep deposit of these materials were completed in a period of
Collecting the consolidation data from the sites discussed so far and from Frodsham,
Immingham and Sale, Types A-D of soft alluvial deposits (Fig. 16) can be identified and
associated mainly with the order of coefficient shown at high effective stress. Type A has
relatively thick sand layers, so close that permeable vertical connexions exist. The layers are
strong and maintain much of their permeability during increase in effective stress. Type B
has much thinner layers in which clay may penetrate during consolidation. Type C has only
thin silt partings and fine rootlets and Type D suffers the highest loss of permeability owing to
collapse of organic roots and voids under stress. (The rise in the coefficient at low effective
stress is due partly to the low compressibility on unloading after sampling. The associated
factor on the coefficient of consolidation is usually less than 5.) Combination of the fabrics
described gives intermediate results, but examination of the fabric gives a good initial guide for
sampling and testing requirements.
All the recent alluvial materials show high permeability at low effective stress and this leads
to varying degrees of softening during drilling without water balance (Rowe 1967a, 1968b,
1972). This has contributed to the notorious large scatter in the undrained strengths of samples
obtained in the conventional manner as seen in numerous papers, for example by Golder and
Palmer (1955), Zlatarev et al. (1967) and Dallard (1971). Where permeability is high and the
fabric varies, as at Frodsham, wide scatter occurs even with water-filled boreholes if conven-
tional sampling and testing is followed (Fig. 17(a)). However, pore pressures equalize in the
mass to give uniform piezometric surfaces and uniform strength, with constant effective
strength parameters (Fig. 17(b)). Using water-filled holes and piston sampling, large diameter
samples and slow test rates with lubricated end platens, more consistent data have been ob-
tained, see Fig. 18.
At this point it may be useful to look at Fig. 19, which shows an absence of permeable
macro fabric in a single specimen of the slide material from Lodalen, Norway. (It should be
noted that I have not examined continuous samples.) Sevaldson (1956) reported that the
original order of the strata had been greatly disturbed and the present fabric may reflect the
remoulding action of ancient quick clay slides. Even here, very occasional thin silt layers exist
which could have been deposited between slides. Occasional fine silt and sand seams have been
reported elsewhere in Norway, for example at Bekkelaget (Eide and Bjerrum, 1955), at Lilla
Edet (Bjerrum and Wu, 1960) at Drammen (Kjaernsli and Simons, 1962) and at Selnes (Kenney,
1967) and their influence will depend on the layer frequency, permeability and thickness.
Closely spaced layers were reported from Kongsberg Dramsfjorden by Sopp (1968). But the
specimen from Lodalen is an excellent example of a uniform silty clay (30-50% clay fraction)
suitable for small diameter sampling, whose properties fit total and effective stress analyses
of a failure. A significant feature is that the permeability at 3 x lo-lo m/s remains essentially
202 P. W. ROWE

constant during increase in effective stress and the coefficient of consolidation is virtually the
same when calculated at the 50% pore pressure dissipation stage and at the 90% settlement
point. Another uniform silty clay occurs at SkCEdeby, Sweden, (Rowe, 1968a). I have
not yet found anything like these uniform deposits in Britain, where the soil fabric is a function
of different climatic conditions, yet common conventional dry drilling, sampling and testing
procedures are only valid for uniform silty or sandy clay.

Glacial period

Lake deposits. The dominant influence of layers and laminations with silt dustings on the
foundation drainage measures for the Derwent Dam has already been published in detail (Rowe,
1959, 1968a, 1970a). A clay similar in appearance to the Derwent laminated clay occurs over
a considerable depth at Gateshead (Fig. 20). Large diameter cell radial flow consolidation
tests gave coefficients of consolidation between 5 and 50 m2/yr with an average value of about
10 m2/yr, the value tending to increase slightly with effective stress due to decrease in com-
pressibility as for normally consolidated remoulded clay. At the time of the investigation at
the Derwent reservoir site the large consolidation cell had not been developed and it is
interesting to find that the value of 10 m2/yr for the Gateshead clay of similar visual fabric
agrees closely with the mean field value of 11 m2/yr at Derwent deduced from in situ permea-
bility tests and the pore water pressure dissipation rates with the embankment in place.
Permeable fabric causes wide scatter in the undrained strengths of glacial lake deposits fol-
lowing conventional sampling and testing as seen in the report by Hanna (1966) of data on a
Canadian post-glacial clay which contained sand seams. Fig. 21 shows the scatter at Derwent
where only thin silt partings and occasional layers occurred.
It is not only the fabrics of clays which merit attention. Fig. 22(a) shows silt layers and
thin clay layers in a glacial lake medium sand which originally was below the water table at
the site of an extensive motorway cutting near Rochdale. Water under pressure below the less
permeable layers softened the floor of the excavation to an almost fluid condition and normal
drainage measures were ineffective. Fig. 22(b) shows mud oozing horizontally from the side
of the vertical face. The photographs could only be taken long after the site was finally
drained. The contractors’ programme and drainage system was based on the tender stage
information that free-draining sands were present and very considerable delay was caused
owing to the initial neglect of fabric.
Boulder clays. These deposits were dropped from glaciers in an unsorted and unstratified
condition. However, melt water can remove fines to leave permeable passages between sand
and gravel pockets, and fabric modifications can occur by desiccation, infiltration and organic
At Newcastle-upon-Tyne, boulder clays 30 m deep contain occasional sand in silt layers
and pockets. In the upper 10 m the mass permeability lies in the range 10-*-10-6 m/s, this
being 100-10 000 times larger than that for the same clay remoulded. A set of 100 undrained
triaxial compression tests on 100 mm dia. specimens gave a wide strength scatter between 145
and 400 kN/m2, again typical of deposits with permeable fabric, after dry shell and auger drill-
ing and conventional fast testing.
Figure 23 shows the face of a cut-off trench through boulder clay for a reservoir embank-
ment at Covenham on the east coast of England which exhibited vertical sheets of silt within
extensive drying cracks and vertical rootlet channels. Fig. 24 shows a comparison between
the pore pressure record for the undisturbed foundation and that for the fill composed of the
same boulder clay, approximately at the same water content, but with the fabric destroyed by

remoulding. Bearing in mind the very much larger drainage length of 10 m, or greater, im-
posed on the foundation compared with the 2 m length in the fill, it is not surprising to find that
the drainage rate of the natural boulder clay was 1000 times higher than when remoulded.
Figure 25 shows stereo pairs of a typical boulder clay from Grimwith reservoir in the
Pennines. The consolidation rates vary quite considerably, see Fig. 26, and it is not possible
to deduce that Fig. 25(a) refers to the highest consolidation coefficients, and Fig. 25(b) to the
lowest coefficients in Fig. 26. This is because the permeable passages in these boulder clays
occur via random paths in space and are not revealed by examination of a sample in plan or
Similar findings apply to other sites, and both the consolidation rate of the mass, and of large
specimens, generally is substantially higher than those of the same clays remoulded, or those
measured on small undisturbed specimens, where more often than not coefficients of 2 m2/yr
are recorded with a range 1-5 m2/yr.
Wide scatter of undrained strengths of small specimens using dry shell and auger drilling is
common in all horizons but so far there has been little opportunity to re-examine these data
for boulder clays using water-filled holes, piston sampling and large specimens. However, a
few test data from Grimwith reservoir site (Fig. 27) indicate some reduction in strength with
increase in size of specimen, all the specimens being taken from the large piston sampler tubes.


The Barton clay at Fawley, Hampshire was described by Marsland and Butler (1967) as a
stiff, fissured, clay composed of irregular shaped lumps 6-100 mm in size, the horizontal
dimensions being greater than the vertical. The size of the lumps increased to 380 mm with
depth to 10 m below the top of the clay. When excavated, the clay fell apart at the boundaries
of the lumps. Thin silt and sand partings occurred in bedding planes. The wide scatter of
38 mm dia. triaxial undrained strength data was attributed mainly to the presence of fissures.
It was noted that some specimens contained fissures which were roughened by thin deposits of
sand, whereas others exhibited smooth fissures.
In addition to the important direct effect of fissure spacing, orientation and surface condi-
tion on the effective stress component of strength, the sand layers and intrusions within fissures
will affect the mass permeability and the water content after drilling or after excavation.
During the construction of large diameter bored piles, inflow of water caused the sides of the
boreholes to collapse.
Within the closely fissured clay may be found horizons which have a coarser texture and an
absence of closely spaced fissures. Fig. 28(a) shows a glauconitic example of such a zone from
14 m depth near Barton, which exhibited coarse silt and marine shells on bedding planes, see
Fig. 28(b). Coefficients of consolidation of large specimens vary in the range 17-640 m2/yr
(Kilbourn, 1972). Such variations in fabric with depth are also found in the older London
The influence of the fissured fabric of London clay on undrained and drained strength has
received a great deal of attention (Ward et al., 1959; Bishop, 1966; Marsland and Butler, 1967;
Skempton and Hutchinson, 1969) and an examination of fissure spacing and orientation is an
essential preliminary step towards representative sampling and testing. The very thorough
examination of the joints and fissures at Wraysbury by Skempton et al. (1969) demonstrated an
absence of permeable fabric at that location. It is important to make such examinations at
other locations, including superficial depths with which many excavations and shallow founda-
tions are concerned, and to guard against the implication from many a driller’s log that a
204 P. W. ROWE

stratum has only to be reported as ‘brown, or blue fissured London clay’ for the material to be
described and understood.
Figure 29 shows the typical fissured appearance of dark grey London clay in the cut-off
trench for an earth dam at Ardleigh near the east coast. A pre-existing slip plane occurred at
a depth of about 5 m (Fig. 30) with intense fracturing immediately adjacent to the plane.
Over the depth of 10 m investigated, a microscope study revealed medium to fine silt on bedding
planes spaced 12-25 mm apart, showing illuviation cutans, Fig. 31(a). A more dominant
feature was the presence of occasional sand to coarse silt veins, see Fig. 31(b), within a well
developed system of vertical joints spaced 60-75 mm in one direction and 25540 mm in an
orthogonal direction. Some cracks revealed intrusions of silt and sand, Fig. 31(c). Conven-
tional small oedometer tests gave the expected coefficients of consolidation of 1 m2/yr whereas
254 mm dia. specimens and field permeability tests gave values 100-1000 times higher. Labora-
tory studies using fluorescein dye as a permeant through specimens subject to an effective
stress of 80 kN/m’ proved that the interpedal zones were more permeable than the S-matrix or
intrapedal material. Fig. 32 reveals a higher permeability in the horizontal direction owing to
the closer spacing of the permeable inclusions on horizontally inclined planes. In situ
permeability tests were repeated after natural consolidation of the foundation and these show
that the mass permeability followed that of the higher of the two measured in the consolidation
Figure 33 shows the rapid decrease of pore pressure in the dam foundation over a period of
months compared with the performance of much thinner layers of remoulded fill. The large
diameter sampling and the omission of sand drains followed from a study of the fabric in con-
secutive samples during the site investigation in 1965.
Figure 34 shows the silt fabric within a fissure in the upper 3 m of London clay at Hythe
End Pumping Station for main drainage between Horton and Wraysbury. The deposit was
described originally as soft to firm blue silty clay, none of the fissures being mentioned. The
mean undrained strength on small specimens was reported as 82 kN/m2. The clay was over-
lain by 7 m of Thames ballast with ground water near ground surface and a sheet pile cofferdam
was driven in order to found a structure on the clay. Shortly after the excavation was opened
and directly it was blinded with concrete the base of the London clay heaved and the sheeting
moved in. The shear strength consistent with toe failure of the piling was about 33 kN/m2,
namely 40% of the small specimen undrained strength. In addition to any difference between
small specimen and mass effective strength it is clear that the permeable fabric will have allowed
water under 7 m of differential pressure to seep through the interlocks and under the sheeting,
followed by rapid swelling of the clay under the floor of the cofferdam. Placement of blinding
concrete sealed the exit and accelerated the rise in pore pressure and the softening of the clay
below. The mechanism and symptoms were identical to the case of a cofferdam failure in the
alluvial deposits at Hardham (Rowe, 1968b).
Figures 35 and 36 show fabric details of London clay in central London where the site report
had described the entire stratum as ‘hard London clay with occasional claystones’. Using
consecutive sampling a continuous claystone layer with open joints was found but not occasional
claystones. At frequent elevations within typical fissured zones, Fig. 35(a) and (b), coarse silt
occurred in bedding planes, Fig. 35(c) and (d), a feature noted elsewhere by Cooling and
Skempton (1942) and by Ward et al. (1959). At two elevations within the top 20 m, zones of
clayey bedded silt 2 m thick having a complete absence of fissures, Fig. 36(a)-(c), occurred
between typical stiff fissured clay. Fig. 36(d) and (e) shows a more laminated variety at 15 m
depth with a silt plane beside a fissure. Cooling and Skempton (1942) noted that all the bore-
holes they studied in London clay showed a silty zone and that the fissured clay above this

zone was very similar to that below it. They also remarked on ‘occasional lenses of fine
sand less than 1 mm in thickness’.
Very recently Willbourne (1971) has reported observations by Ward and Burland within an
unlined 0.9 m dia. shaft through the London clay in a similar area where ‘the silty layers in the
clay were water bearing and the surface was fissured and softened very rapidly’.
Isolated samples from 13 m depth at Croydon showed the typical fissured clay without
permeable fabric, Fig. 37(a) and (b), and it is important to bear in mind that substantial
thicknesses of this may exist. On the other hand, at 2 m depth the brown weathered London
clay showed small 5-10 mm peds, see Fig. 38(a), with profuse interpedal sand and silt, Fig.
38(b). This was the material used by Lyndon and Schofield (1970) for their centrifuge model
of a cut where they found a short-term (12-24 week field time) strength of 60% that of the small
sample undrained strength, accompanied by an increase in water content in the failure zone.
The incidence of the permeable fabric shown in Fig. 38(b) explains the model behaviour and
why fissures could open with loss of suction in the fissure planes.
At Havant near Portsmouth, the London clay is laminated and contains many thin layers of
silt with intrusions between fissures.
It is clear that the term ‘stiff fissured London clay’ is insufficient to describe conditions at
any particular site and that even this well-known stratum, which will exhibit low permeability
in many regions at depth under high effective stress, is by no means free of the general question,
which arises with most other deposits, as to the meaning of the term ‘undrained strength in the
mass’, and of the associated ‘Young’s modulus’, especially when measured on small speci-
mens from shallow depths and at low effective stress in cuts and borings. Collection and use
of field values of Young’s modulus, for example, as practised by the Building Research Station
(Ward, 1971) is much to be preferred but for future economy the data need to be supported by
fabric photographs and tests on 250 mm dia. piston sample specimens.
My first appreciation of this problem in stiff fissured material arose when I inspected a deep
trial pit in the shales and mudstones of the Carboniferous series in connexion with the Staunton
Harold dam in 1956. The data on the rapid softening of these deposits in excavation and the
subsequent site performance were taken to the Oslo Conference (Rowe, 1967b) where I
ventured to think they might explain a difference of opinion regarding the shear strength of
London clay (Ward, 1967; Bishop, 1967). Ward had described softening and seepage in the
Ashford Common Shaft and added that ‘I was never convinced that we ever appreciated what
the London clay was like before the shaft was dug. We showed, even in the short time required
to cut out samples, that the blocks which were integral with the base of the excavation were
statistically wetter than the pieces which we trimmed off the surface of the excavation whilst
preparing the block’. On tunnelling with a high speed tunnelling machine he stated that ‘one
does not have to wait more than a few minutes to realize that the face is changing before your
eyes. Micro-fissures which are not at first visible open up and become substantial fissures.
Before long you may see water seeping out of the fissures.’ Taken into consideration with the
direct effect of fissures these conditions could contribute to the scatter in undrained strengths
reported by Golder and Leonard (1954), Ward et al. (1965) and Hooper and Butler (1966).
In contrast Bishop and Little (1967) had reported in situ undrained strength tests on London
clay at Maldon in Essex, and Bishop had no difficulty in demonstrating that there was no free
water in the fissures (namely no free movement of water) and that under large changes of the
applied total stress the strength remained constant, indicating no water content change.
This radical difference of experience may be explained by three factors which appear not just
in London clay but, as will be seen, in almost every geological age in Britain. The first is the
existence or otherwise of permeable fabric which in this case would control the rate at which
206 P. W. ROWE

water is fed to the fissures. At Maldon it would appear that there was no permeable fabric, at
least local to the test area. The second is the differential water pressure. Bishop and Little’s
pit was 3.6 m deep and the test period was summer and dry. In contrast the Ashford Com-
mon shaft sampling took place at levels between 9 and 41 m below ground. The third is the
size of the effective stress and the direction, if any, of its change. Ward’s experience related to
unloaded free surfaces where high suctions implied by undrained unloading cannot be main-
tained and where the permeability increases rapidly with decrease in effective stress. Bishop
and Little’s test followed a reloading of the in situ specimen immediately after excavation, thus
maintaining a higher effective stress and lower permeability.
One may recall that Sir Benjamin Baker (1881) remarked that after the heading for the
Campden Hill tunnel at 13 m depth had been completed some months ‘the clay became
softened to the consistency of putty by the water which filtered through the numerous fissures
and the full weight of the ground took effect upon the settings’. Earlier Gregory (1844)
describing the slip at New Cross Station on the London-Croydon railway noted that ‘innum-
erable breaks or faults in this soil are found to be covered with crystals in minute flakes or
spiculae between which the water would have a clear passage’.
More especially it is of interest to read the detailed account of the difficulties encountered by
the Brunels during the driving of the Thames tunnel in 1826 partly within the underlying
Woolwich and Reading Beds and partly through the upper weathered zone of the London clay.
Leaving aside the difficulties where the Thames gravel was met, and with 3 m of clay above
the crown after advancing 70 m from the south shaft, and when the shield was ‘entirely free of
water’ considerable falls of ground occurred and ‘no one could account satisfactorily for it’.
The soil, ‘being loosened by water’ took the form of ‘a sort of clay broken in small particles’
these presumably being the peds of the weathered fabric. The remedy was understood in that
Sir Mark Isambard Brunel wrote in his diary ‘It is evident that what is wanted is that the
ground should be kept pressed’. When the reliability of the site investigation was being dis-
cussed at the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1849, Mr Isambard Kingdom Brunei showed his
grasp of the problem when he remarked that ‘it might be true that many members of the pro-
fession were, like himself, not perfectly well acquainted with the minute geological character-
istics of the soils they had to deal with’. Now nearly 150 years after the completion of the
Thames Tunnel that proposition, certainly in my own case, could also be true today.


The Gault, Weald and Wadhurst clays all show similar fabrics. The Gault is often described
as ‘stiff blue/grey fissured clay’. Fig. 39(a) shows the thinly bedded nature of the Gault which,
with vertically inclined fissures, form peds of l-5 mm size. On the bedding planes coarse
silt sized nodules of clay clusters occur which tend to leave fine permeable passages, see
Fig. 39(b).
During the rapid emptying of a flooded clay pit in the Gault clay, the side slope failures fitted
an effective stress analysis with piezometric levels at slope surface and slips were reactivated
later by rainfall.
Figure 40 shows a similar appearance of the Wadhurst formation within the Hastings Beds.
The partially dried clay peds crack readily on random planes under the heat of a microscope
lamp, but within the natural fissures and on bedding planes free silt floe is seen. Occasional
silt layers 75 mm thick, or thin layers of limestone, occur. Successive layers of claystones
70 mm thick are found.
208 P. W. ROWE

tional small samples gave c,= 100 m2/yr. In situ permeability tests led to c, values of lOOO-
10 000 m2/yr. When dug the material came out like gravel (Fig. 47) and the implications of
this are considered later.

New red sandstone

A sample of the weathered Keuper marl from Loughborough at 3 m depth, see Fig. 48(a), is
an example mainly of class III zone after Skempton and Davis (Chandler, 1969), with peds 5-
20 mm in size. Fig. 48(b) shows the clay surface of the unweathered ped face. Fig. 48(c)
shows the partial disintegration of silt sized groups of flocculated clay particles (Davis, 1967).
Pressing with a needle on any of the clusters causes the material to disintegrate to clay size
which cannot be resolved at x 30 magnification. This material softens rapidly in water to a
slurry and conventional boring and sampling leads to a wide scatter of strength or water con-
tent of the weathered matrix. Similar fabric characteristics are found in layered rock core
samples, Fig. 49(a), from Winsford at levels 18 m-32 m below the marl surface, Fig. 49(b), the
‘ silt’ on bedding planes being clusters of clay sized particles. In many areas sandstone layers
or ‘skerries’ are common, and in parts of Leicester, for example, the occurrence of numerous
thin sand and sandstone layers make the Keuper marl highly permeable and subject to rapid
softening on excavation below the water table.
At the base of the Trias underlying the Bunter Pebble Beds are the Moira marls. Fig. 50(a)
shows horizontally and vertically inclined irregular joint planes giving peds about 50 x 75 x
20 mm. The joint surfaces are smooth, similar to Fig. 48(b) and well accommodated, indica-
tive of low permeability at high stress. The weathered material breaks down in the same way
as the Keuper marl and to the left of Fig. 50(b) the polished surface has been formed by rub-
bing with a needle point. Occasional yellow coarse silt to fine sand layers occur, Fig. 51(a),
and although some ferruginous cementing can be detected, water seeps freely along the bedding
planes, Fig. 51(b). No organic matter is present. The material softens rapidly to a slurry in
Figure 52 shows the large specimen consolidation test data from Foremark. At medium
and high effective stress the vertical and radial flow tests gave minimum c, values in the range
lo-30 m2/yr. That this is higher than the remoulded value of 2-3 m2/yr is solely due to over-
consolidation and not to fabric. The minimum permeability of both natural and remoulded
specimens at high stress was similar at about 2 x lo-lo m/s because the ped faces were smooth
and well accommodated. At low stresses the coefficient of consolidation was virtually
unaltered during radial flow but it increased markedly during vertical flow, owing possibly to
an opening of the vertical joints. This might occur only with sampling and although there is
approximate agreement with the mean values from in situ tests, the joints adjacent the piezo-
meter borehole could have opened during boring.
The influence of the fabric on undrained strength is shown in Fig. 53. Curve 1 gives the
mean location of material remoulded at in situ water content with all the fabric destroyed.
Using a water-filled hole and large specimens the lowest strengths were obtained (curve 4).
The water contents of these specimens did not differ significantly from those of smaller speci-
mens. The hand penetrometer naturally gave the widest scatter between curves 1 and 4 and
as the size of triaxial specimens increased (curves 2 and 3) the strengths tended to decrease.
However, on this site for a dam foundation the undrained strength data are irrelevant owing
to the rapid consolidation of the marl. The large specimen data on the Moira marl could also
be indicative of the behaviour of Keuper marl where it has weathered to the same fabric


The Keele Beds of the Upper Coal Measures consist of weathered marls with intercalated
thin beds of sandstone, being similar in fabric to the Moira marl. The Chelmarsh reservoir
embankment was built 27 m high in six months without raising the foundation pore pressure
by more than 3 m of water prior to the last stage of dissipation. The pressures beneath the
downstream shoulder responded to rainfall and to fluctuations in reservoir level.
Figure 54 shows a typical core from the mudstones and shales of the Lower Coal Measures.
Iron staining on the bedding planes indicates past ground water flow.
Figure 55(a) and (b) shows the light grey weathered mudstone which contained occasional
fine coal layers and Fig. 55(c) and (d) shows the fabric of the dark grey weathered fissured
shale, of the Millstone Grit series, at the Staunton Harold dam site where consolidation of
some 18 m of foundation occurred naturally in one season. It has been shown previously
(Rowe, 1968a) that the shale behaved like sand in that no excess pore water pressure arose, in
contrast to the mudstone. A recent detailed examination has shown that the mudstone
exhibited interpedal fine-medium silt, the peds being tightly interlocked. On the other hand
the shale had coarser silt and sand in the fissures. Permeability tests using fluorescein as the
permeant, through specimens consolidated to 100 kN/m2 effective stress, revealed that drainage
occurred principally along the fissures and over ped faces, rather than through the peds, and
more readily through the shale than through the mudstone.
Particle gradings of the ped and non-ped fractions showed that a greater proportion of
coarse silt and sand sizes was found in the peds rather than on ped faces. Consequently the
permeability was due to a looser condition of the interpedal materials and the overall grading
of the material was of no significance in this respect.
Conventional drilling and sampling in 1957 led to the scatter of strength shown in Fig. 56.


Figure 57 shows layered Ordovician shales whose bedding planes have been turned to the
vertical and fractured. The system of layers and fractures forms cohesionless peds. The
rock was described as ‘sound shale’ but when a large excavation for a service reservoir was
opened into the hillside at Llandinam the intended steep slope to the rear started to disintegrate.
The excavated material formed rubble, and, when left at the top of a lower hillside in a spoil
heap, it weathered rapidly to silt and clay. This absorbed water after rain, flowed over the
hillside, sealed springs and started a flow slide of the original hill which extended 150 m and
threatened the safety of the reservoir. The difficulties arose because of a lack of appreciation
of the engineering significance of the fabric.

Summary of fabric influence on test data

The preceding examples do not constitute a comprehensive survey, but insofar as they are
typical of wider experience both in Britain and abroad the following conclusions can be made.

(a) Fabrics formed at deposition and during early climatic changes remain today in all
geological strata, modified in some cases by chemical action and stress. Relatively per-
meable fabric is more common in Britain than had been supposed. The schemes of
descriptions given in the British Standard Code of Practice for Site Investigations (1957),
see Fig. 58, and for example by the French Syndicate of Bore Hole Contractors (1959)
are inadequate.
210 P. W. ROWE

(b) The fabric must be described. Classification by index tests and gradings alone is not
indicative of engineering performance of natural deposits in situ.
(c) Permeable fabric leads to water content changes and softening during drilling and
sampling of a wide variety of geological deposits from dry holes below the water table.
(d) Conventional rapid small specimen testing of soils showing fabric, especially when
associated with dry drilling below the water table, commonly leads to an unacceptable
scatter of undrained strength data. Even if the scatter does indicate variations in nature
it does not reflect the mass behaviour of the deposit during stress changes imposed by
civil engineering works where there is time for pore pressure equalization throughout
the fabric.
(e) Conventional small consolidation tests lead to completely erroneous rates of consolida-
tion when permeable fabric occurs.

Two properties less influenced by permeable fabric are the drained angle of shearing resist-
ance and the soil compressibility. The latter can be too high if the fabric caused softening
during sampling. Furthermore, in the case of fissured clays the drained angle of shearing
resistance is dependent on specimen size, fissure spacing and orientation of fissures.
However, insofar as the undrained shear test and the consolidation test are among the
commonest tests conducted, many site investigation reports have been issued where both the
soil description and the greater part of the foundation mechanical properties are erroneous or

Engineering problems
Present concern is with the influence of fabric on boring, sampling and testing, but a brief
reference must be made to typical engineering problems, which govern the objectives of site
Foundations. The influence of fabric on sand drain design has been treated recently (Rowe,
1968a) yet current brochures on sand drain systems have since been circulated which claim
satisfactory performance in silty clay. Fabric also governs well pointing which has worked
well in permeable clays (Rowe, 1968a, 1968b). The amount of heave during freezing operations
is dominated by fabric. Vibroflotation is sometimes advocated for strengthening of soft clay
deposits but fabric examinations may show such treatment to be unnecessary (Rowe, 1970b)
as was the case at Chorlton. Pore pressure spread in layered fabric affects building foundation
performance (Rowe, 1968b).
Fabric changes due to weathering affect foundation stiffness. Fig. 59 shows typical zones
of pressure-settlement relations for foundations on sands, marls and soft rocks. The location
of the zone depends on geological age or degree of overconsolidation, on the particle size and
type and on the class or fabric description. For instance, Ward et al. (1968), and Burland and
Lord (1970) placed the Middle Chalk in five fabric classes, correlating the stiffness with the
class, and the same procedure has been followed with the Keuper marl (Chandler, 1969). The
settlement of a motorway bridge founded on class II-III material (see Fig. 48) was reported
by Davis (1971). The settlement depends also on the fabric at greater depths. The order of
stiffness of fissured Trias sandstone is known and is similar to that of heavily overconsolidated
dense sand, but if the sandstone is cavitated as seen in Fig. 60 the stiffness can be decreased to
a quarter of its normal value. As more field observations become available it is important
to support the classifications with photographic records of the significant fabric.

Cuts, retaining waIIs, arzchorsand cast in situ piles. Permeable fabric also affects the rate of
swelling and strength change. Many engineering operations are linked with the basic concept
that an intact, relatively impermeable silty clay will not change water content in the ‘short
term’, a period loosely connected with a construction period of weeks or months. On the
other hand, when the temporary pore water pressure changes induced by construction have
dissipated and static or steady seepage ground water conditions are achieved this is called the
‘long term’. However, these conditions refer strictly to the undrained and drained steady
seepage states respectively and the actual time periods appropriate to the short and long term
are dependent on the permeability and the coefficient of consolidation and swelling which,
depending on the fabric, may be very high at the low effective stress adjacent to a cut.
Trenches at Frodsham, Immingham and Grimwith and cofferdams at Hardham, Hythe End
and Staunton Harold all collapsed within hours of completion of the excavation even though
there was a substantial factor of safety on undrained strength in each case. Fig. 61(a) and (b)
shows two stages in the failure of the side of a trench, seen in the left of the photographs, 5.4 m
deep in the Lower Lias. The undrained strength had been given as 200 kN/m2 and the asso-
ciated factor of safety exceeded 5. The high permeability allowed rapid softening and approach
of the ‘long term’ condition within half an hour. Loss of suction decreases the effective stress
and increases the permeability as the fabric opens up, causing successive slips working inwards
from the face.
At all too frequent intervals one reads in the Press that a builder’s trench has collapsed with
loss of life. One such trench through the coal measure shales was left recently unshored for 5 m
depth despite the warning of the factory inspector, because the ground was so hard that the
excavator jib had been broken three times. Yet three men died.
Numerous cases exist where undrained strengths have been used to determine the lateral
pressure of earthworks in the short term for ground which could not possibly remain un-
drained during construction. Similar considerations can apply to the influence of fabric on
construction procedures for grouted anchors and diaphragm walls and on the softening of the
walls and base of prebored holes for piles and piers. In one case recently a pier could not be
founded at the expected level in marl because the base of the ‘dry’ hole softened as rapidly as
the hole was advanced. Similarly, underreaming of piles in silty zones within fissured clay
can cause local collapse.
Borrow areas. The working of borrow areas can be highly dependent on permeable fabric.
Fig. 62(a) shows a clay borrow area which contained sand layers in one region and profuse
vertical rootlets in another. No great attention was given to surface drainage despite advice
to the contrary and after the surface dried zone had been won the Contractor declared that
the remaining clays were too soft to work and that they could not be drained. Yet after the
surface water had been pumped away via occasional drainage channels and two weeks of fine
weather had elapsed, scrapers could operate on ground which was both hard and dusty,
Fig. 62(b), despite the fact that the formation had suffered a certain degree of remoulding.
Ground drainage blankets. For similar reasons, a permeable surface clay can show satis-
factory foundation strength during a site investigation in Summer but can soften temporarily
after heavy rain in the Spring just as a contract is commenced. This can lead to temporary
difficulty with plant operation and to damage of ground drainage blankets by rutting.


Recognition of the dominance of fabric both in the engineering problem and in drilling,
sampling and testing leads to a need for a fundamental change in site investigation practice.
212 P. W. ROWE

The extent of the change depends on the class of investigation appropriate to the proposed
work, on the ground conditions and on the related available finance.
Class A refers to major civil engineering projects such as large dams, high embankments and
deep cuttings, docks, retaining walls and heavy or deep foundations in difficult ground where
both large sampling and large modelling could be justified.
Class B covers more limited projects of similar types where difficult ground occurs and where
some mechanical properties from a few large samples may be desirable.
Class C applies to small building work, comprising housing estates, small factories, three-
and four-storey buildings, sewers, pedestrian subways and highways at or close to ground
level where no large samples would be necessary.
It is convenient to treat the general flexible procedure for Class A and B investigations and
to note examples of simplification for Class C work. At the same time it should be borne in
mind that by far the greater number of individual investigations fall into Category C where
only sample examination and a few strength index tests, if any, may be required.
The need to determine the overall geology and ground water conditions has been well treated
by Glossop (1968), and the importance of the particular fabric detail of a pre-existing slip
plane was clearly demonstrated by Skempton (1964). My present concern lies with the selec-
tion of representative samples leading to data relevant to the soil in its natural state. For this
purpose the fabric of consecutive or continuous samples must be examined in the light of the
geological strata and water conditions and where samples are considered necessary their
location, quality and size and the necessary drilling technique should be carefully chosen.

Fabric description and photography

A guide to fabric description is to be found in the text by Brewer (1964). Although the
vocabulary developed by soil scientists will aid research and prove valuable in time, its present
use is best restricted to simple descriptions of those features which affect engineering apprecia-
tion. Those who have tried to describe a soil and those who have tried to imagine a soil from a
description will appreciate the value of the visual image as much as does the engineer who
examines the soil, preferably in situ, before forming a final judgement. For this reason every
comprehensive soils report should contain photographs and preferably stereograms of relevant
portions of the principal strata, together with x 30 magnification of the fabric where relevant
in support of the fabric description. Out of some 450 publications describing field studies and
tests on natural soils examined from publications in the last twenty years, only 31 macro-
photographs of the strata have been published and 13 of these are to be found in the recent
paper by Fookes and Denness (1969) on fissures of the Cretaceous period. On average there
has been one macrophotograph per text book. As a result it has been more difficult than
might otherwise have been the case to apply the experience gained at one site to decisions at
another. Notable exceptions are the photographs of sands by Nixon (1954) and of layered
clays by Ward (1957) and the detailed borehole description by Zeevaert (1957) and by Denisov
et aZ. (1961). The use of photography has long been accepted by geologists for rocks where
the macro fabric is generally larger and recent examples for soft rocks are the records of Ward
et al. (1968) at Mundford.
Routine photography of soil deposits using representative samples, large boreholes or test
pits by means of relatively inexpensive equipment must be regarded as an essential contribution
to documentary evidence of site conditions. For specialist work the polarizing microscope
(Tchalenko, 1968) and the electron scanning microscope (Smart, 1969) are available. They
aid the explanation of certain test data such as m, and 4’ but are less suitable during the direc-

tion of site investigations. Compressible clays show a more open micro structure than in the
case of stiff, heavily overconsolidated clays (Barden, 1972) and the structure of the clay adjacent
fissure surfaces aids the understanding of effective strength (Morgenstern and Tchalenko,
1967). However, it should be borne in mind that the use of magnifications over 1000 implies
an extremely small region of the soil under examination and where micro structure is measured
it should be related to the macro fabric in order to appreciate mass behaviour. Since mass
permeability dominates practical decisions in regard to drilling, sampling and testing of the
majority of deposits in Britain it is essential to start with an examination of the macro fabric
at a scale which reveals permeable passages and overall fissure patterns.
Commercial applications necessitate rapid methods and simple equipment for use by engin-
eers rather than professional photographers. For this reason all the photographs shown in
this Lecture were taken by me using a Minolta SRT 101 single lens reflex with a 50 mm macro
Rokkor lens and Ilford FP4 film. For x 30 magnification an extension bellows allowed x 4.5
on the negative, followed by enlargement to x 30 in printing. Work is facilitated by means of
the rig shown in Fig. 63. The camera and its extension are adjusted in elevation by means of a
screw thread on the vertical support, so as to allow focusing at constant magnification and the
assembly can be tilted about the point of focus to allow the rapid photography of stereo pairs.
The rig is portable but rigid, and can be weighted to damp vibration during shutter release.
Prior to photography at x 30 magnification it is useful to examine the samples with the aid
of a low powered stereo microscope operating at lo-75 magnification with continuously
variable (zoom) adjustment. However, through-lens photography using the microscope does
not produce the definition and depth of focus possible with direct macro photography.
As a library of photographic records of soil types is developed it will not be necessary to
repeat photography of well-known geological deposits. Once the significant features on a
given site have been identified by visual inspection, available negatives of given fabric types
can be used to provide record prints in the report, provided the caption signifies this use of
typical fabric.

Sampling in cohesive soils

Hvorslev distinguished between ‘undisturbed’ samples and ‘representative’ samples, the

latter having no change of soil constituents and being representative only of the material
content. In contrast I reserve the word ‘representative’ for the ideal, if strictly unobtainable,
objective of representing the material content, fabric arrangement and stress state. A repre-
sentative sample is one most likely to furnish data representative of field behaviour.
An undisturbed sample is likewise strictly unobtainable but insofar as different degrees of
disturbance can be accepted according to the use to which the sample is put it is preferable to
follow the proposal for Quality Classes put forward by the German Committee for the Im-
provement of Equipment and Methods for Boring and Taking Soil Samples (Idel et al., 1969)
(Table 2).
It is seen that Quality 1 is another name for a good undisturbed sample as obtained with a
thin walled piston sampler using water balance. In some cases this may necessitate the use of
a platform with casing extended above ground and in North America drilling mud is widely
used to provide an increase in pressure and help to support the hole, and this improves quality
in permeable clay deposits. The properties of permeability and coefficient of consolidation
have had to be added to the list under Quality 1. Quality 2 allows a certain degree of edge
disturbance without serious effect on soils insensitive to mechanical shear, and for this reason
the properties of compressibility and effective strength have been added. Total strength may
214 P. W. ROWE

be measured for index purposes. The preservation of water content allows the same samples
to be used for fill assessment. Quality 2 can be achieved by clean polished driven tubes with
flush cutters in soft to firm clays and by pressed thin walled tubes in stone free soils. Quality 3
can be used primarily for fabric examination and is divided into two types. Quality 3A
specifies 100% recovery using continuous sampling technique whereas Quality 3B allows up to
10% loss between consecutive samples. Quality 4 provides the bulk and jar sample, and the
strata sequence. Quality 5 refers for example to the results of wash drilling where rapid
proving boreholes are required to a hard stratum but otherwise gives only a rough indication of
strata sequence.
Drilling methods are dependent on sampling requirements and on the geology, labour costs
and topography. In general the Pilcon Wayfarer type rig is suitable for all quality of sampling
in any geological conditions, but the economic choice of rig for a given sample quality is a
matter for the site investigation firms.
Consecutive Quality 3 samples can be taken by normal shell and auger drilling with 95%
recovery in soft to stiff clays provided that no boulders or clay stones are present, that water is
maintained in the borehole where necessary and that care is taken in cleaning out after each
sample. Fig. 64 shows typical consecutive samples obtained with a pushed thin walled sampler
in soft clays with dominant drainage layers at 5+ ft (l-7 m) and 17 ft (5.2 m) respectively,
shown at natural scale. Fig. 65(a) shows that a 76 mm dia. thin walled sampler taken with
water balance caused much less damage to the stiff fissured Wadhurst clay compared with
driving a 100 mm dia. British Standard thick sampling tube without water balance, Fig. 65(b).

Table 2. Quality classes

Quality Properties Purpose Typical sampling

class procedure

1 Remoulded properties Laboratory data on Piston thin walled

Fabric in situ soils sampler with water
Water content balance
Density and porosity
Effective strength parameters
Total strength parameters
Coefficient of consolidation*
Remoulded properties Laboratory data on Pressed or driven thin or
Fabric in situ insensitive soils thick walled sampler
Water content with water balance
Density and porosity
Effective strength parameters*
Total strength parameters*

Remoulded properties Fabric examination and Pressed or driven thin or

Fabric A* loo’/, recovery. laboratory data on thick walled samplers.
Continuous remoulded soils Water balance in highly
B* 90% recovery. permeable soils

Remoulded properties Laboratory data on Bulk and jar samples

remoulded soils.
Sequence of strata
None Approximate sequence of Washings
strata only
* Items changed from German classification.

Alternatively rotary or wash drilling can be used to clear out the hole after sampling. Contin-
uous flight augers fail to balance the hydrostatic head during sampling and disturb the ground
below the auger. During a comparison in an alluvial deposit a number of samples were lost
with this method, compared to full recovery with water filled shell and auger holes.
Continuous samplers are available for soft deposits which can achieve 100% recovery
(Kjellman et al., 1950; Begemann, 1966) although high shell content for example in San
Francisco Bay mud has caused loss of samples. The Begemann sampler consists of an outer
tube carrying an internal nylon stocking supported by drilling fluid which is pressed into the
ground while the head of the stocking and its enclosed column of soil is held at ground level.
Fig. 66 shows a recently developed hydraulic press for obtaining 66 mm dia. samples. The
drilling fluid is being topped up after initial penetration. Fig. 67(a) shows continuous cores
taken at Hardham printed at scale x + and this illustrates the difficulty in presenting an entire
borehole in one photograph. It is better to select representative strata and to show these at
natural scale (Fig. 67(b) and (c)) and x 30 scale.
Stiff layered clays with intermittent soft rock or claystones can sometimes be sampled by
coring with a spring loaded sampler (Terzaghi and Peck, 1957; Morgenstern and Thomson,
1970). It would be useful if this technique were more generally available and experience could
be gained in its use for it appears to be open to development.
An attempt to obtain cores by diamond drilling through the stiff fissured and layered Wad-
hurst achieved an occasional intact core, Fig. 68(a), but otherwise reduced the deposit to
rubble, Fig. 68(b).

Sampling in cohesionless soils

Techniques such as freezing (Fahlquist, 1941), chemical injection (Van Bruggen, 1936; Karol,
1970) and especially the use of compressed air (Bishop, 1948) have achieved success in sampling
saturated sands at depth below the water table, but on the whole their specialized nature has
tended to limit their use. A difficulty is that freezing sand or driving a sampler causes some
volume change, and injected chemicals are not easily removable. Therefore it is doubtful
whether Quality 1 samples have ever been obtained.
Using thin walled pushed piston samplers with drilling mud or water in the borehole above
ground water level, 260 mm dia. Quality 2 samples of layered medium dense sands have been
obtained using driving loads under 100 kN. Dense sands may require higher driving loads.
Very loose uniform medium or coarse sands require the use of compressed air.
For 76 mm dia. sampling the U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station has
long used piston sampling successfully (Mathews, 1969). Quality 3 continuous samples were
obtained from the layered sands shown in Fig. 22 when below the water table, using an open
drive sleeved thin walled 76 mm dia. tube having a ball valve at the top. In Germany con-
tinuous samples of sands have been taken using a 54 mm dia. rammed core barrel having a foil
sleeve and ball valve (Ducker and Stade, 1969). Cores of fine to medium sand have been
raised as much as 400 m this way. The Begemann sampler is also successful with sands and
has the advantage of retaining even coarse sand or fine gravel within the stocking between
finer or cohesive materials.
It follows that Quality 3 continuous samples of sand can be recovered by relatively common
sampling techniques for fabric examination and this is an important prerequisite to the plan-
ning of in situ tests on sands.
216 P. W. ROWE

Site procedure

Site work should normally commence by the taking of consecutive Quality 3 samples in the
first few holes. The optimum diameter of the sample is 76 mm. A smaller diameter hampers
examination and presents difficulties with stoney ground. On the other hand the weight of
100 mm dia. samples is 73% greater and handling and storage costs increase. The larger the
length to diameter ratio and the longer the sampler the greater is the percentage recovery.
Soft alluvial deposits allow the use of 1 m long thin walled tubes 1.6 mm thick with an internal
split sleeve 1 mm thick, having an overall area ratio of 15%. The maximum safe load which
may be applied is about 30 kN. Stiffer clays of strength greater than 70 kN/m2 require
samplers 2.5 mm thick, when 60 kN can be applied or the sample may be driven.
The samples may be extracted on site and laid in sample boxes, as has long been practised
with rock cores. They should be partially cut and split apart and one half should be wrapped
in polythene sheet or tin foil to maintain the water content. The other half should be left
partially to dry for visual examination in the next day or two, so that decisions can be taken
while the drilling rigs are in operation. Photographs can be taken and sent directly to head
office, or a typical borehole series and further representative cores can be dispatched to the
laboratory for more detailed examination and photomacrographic records.
A specimen sliced right across is smeared. The practice at Harvard has been to slice and to
remove smeared particles by wire brushing the dried surface. This is adequate to show

Table 3. Specimen sizes

Minimum sizes of specimens from Quality 1 thin walled piston samples of natural clay deposits.
Foundations for buildings, bridges, dams, fills. Stability of natural slopes, cuts open or retained.
weak variable
Exceptions: deposit too strong
stoney >
Clay type Macro fabric Mass, k, Parameter Specimen
m/s size, mm*
None 10-10 C”, c’4
mw cv
Non-fissured Pedal, silt, sand layers, 10-Q-10-6 cu
Sensitivity < 5 inclusions. C’b
, Organic veins

Sand layers > 2 mm at

< 0.2 m space
_____-- ~-- ___-
Sensitivity > 5 Cemented with any above
Fissured? Plain fissures 10-10 C” 250
C’4’ 100

/ f%, C” 15
Sil;so:;;snd filled 10-Q-10-6 CU CY 250
C’+ I 100
m, j 75
_. _~ /-
~ Open joints c 100
Pre-existing slip Cd+ 150
or remoulded

* 75 mm samples for continuous Quality 2-4 samples for fabric examination, strength as index test, cu
and c’+ for intact low sensitivity.
t Size and orientation dependent on fissure geometry.
: Tube area ratio 4%, sample dia. 260 mm.

layered and varved soils and facilitates photography. Similarly X-rays have been used success-
fully to reveal layering within sample tubes (Sopp, 1968; Krinitzsky, 1970). However, to
reveal three-dimensional fabric it is essential to split the specimen freely when it tends to open
along fissures, peds and inclusions, and so reveal their presence.
The initial sample examination on site enables 20 mm standpipes to be located in relevant
positions for the determination of ground water levels. These, together with the fabric
examination of each stratum, determine whether any samples are required for mechanical
tests. If the ground is stiff boulder clay on which a small structure is required, or if very soft
clays and peat overlie sandstone, on which a heavy structure will be founded and class C work
applies, no soil tests may be necessary other than possibly a few simple strength tests for index
purposes. Alternatively the ground may be too variable or too stoney to merit sampling.
However, if tests for class A or B work are contemplated the decision must be taken as to the
location, quality and size of the samples required, bearing in mind the overall geology, the
ground water levels, the fabric details and the proposed works.
Table 3 shows the size of sample appropriate to the fabric and data required, based on pre-
sent evidence. A few consolidation cell tests on 500 mm dia. specimens failed to establish
significant improvement over the 250 mm specimens but no strength tests have yet been made
at this scale. A practical limitation for general use is that a 260 mm x 800 mm sample in its
900 mm tube and container has a mass of 130 kg and anything heavier than 150 kg requires
mechanical handling plant.
The main features in Table 3 are as follows.
(a) Small, 37-76 mm dia., samples are not suitable for measurement of undrained strength
(other than for index purposes) or for consolidation rate measurements on the majority
of clays which show macro fabric but they can indicate reasonable values for effective
strength parameters of non-fissured clays, and for compressibility. These properties
refer to particle structure and surface friction and do not depend on undrained pore
water pressure or pore water migration.
(b) Clays profusely layered with sand do not merit undrained strength and consolidation
rate tests.
(c) Fissured clay sample size and orientation strictly depend on fissure geometry and on
whether the fissures are sand or silt filled, or plain.

For Class A and some Class B work the fabric of soils in Britain requires the use of 250 mm
dia. specimens. For this purpose a variety of 300 mm drilling rigs is already available. The
lorry mounted rig, see Fig. 69(a), is suitable for soft alluvial deposits and for medium strength
clays up to 70 kN/m2 with the possibility of using another machine for additional kentledge
while the sample tube is being driven. A Pilcon rig with 10 tons of kentledge, Fig. 69(b), was
necessary to allow the first samples to be taken in 1966 on the Staunton Harold mudstones and
shales where the shear strength was almost 150 kN/m2. For stiffer overconsolidated clays
sufficiently stone free to take ground anchors, the samples have been jacked into position
off the borehole casing which is clamped beneath a picket frame. Where stiff clays are over-
lain by weak surface soils, cast in situ anchor piles have been formed to either side of the bore-
hole to resist the reaction.
If the clays are inorganic or are required only for strength tests the samples are sealed and
later handled in air in the conventional manner; but if the clays are organic and are required
for consolidation tests the samples are sealed but transported and handled in water to prevent
air being drawn into the organic channels. Wilkinson and Shipley (1969) have shown that
oxidation of rootlet channels can cause a marked decrease in permeability. For this reason
218 P. W. ROWE

the tubes are transported inside sealed water jackets. Fig. 70 shows an extractor for
handling organic clays under water.
Figure 71(a)-(d) shows typical large specimen testing equipment and Fig. 71(e) shows a test
bench arrangement in one of four constant temperature laboratories housing 30 large consolida-
tion cells. Testing techniques cannot be discussed here but it is relevant to mention that
undrained shear tests on samples 250 mm dia. x 250 mm long with lubricated ends generally
require up to one day for equalization of pore pressure, and about five days under test at 0.2%
axial strain per hour. Drainage directions for consolidation cell tests are decided on the basis
of fabric. Tests typically take a day per increment provided drainage is stopped after 907:
dissipation of pore water pressure. With five increments the turn round is again about one
specimen per week. Bearing in mind that one 250 mm triaxial specimen is equal in volume to
150 conventional 37 mm specimens, and one consolidation cell specimen is equivalent to 60
conventional specimens, the rate of laboratory testing is acceptable. Far fewer tests are per-
formed but the data are much more reliable.
The site investigation report should include not only the detailed fabric description of the
principal strata supported by photographic records but also the method of drilling, sampling
and testing, and the reasons for their choice. Since it has long been common to produce
continuous cores of rock formations, detailed descriptions and reports have already reached
an advanced stage and the general guidance for the logging of cores given by the Geological
Society Engineering Group Working Party (1970) provides a good guide to the kind of details
which should be included in comprehensive reports on superficial deposits.
The procedure of consecutive sampling followed by selection of location, quality and size of
samples has been practised for six years, so its practicality and worth have been put to test.
It leads to economy in some investigations and greater expense in others but insofar as it will
need more supervision on site and more detail in the report, commercial costs will increase.
Before contemplating a radical change one naturally will want to know what the principal
opinions were which led to the present system and where the differences lie. In 1949 Hvorslev
published his monumental report on subsurface exploration the content of which, to my
knowledge, has never been seriously disputed. His conclusion was as follows.
‘Best results will be obtained at least cost when several types of samplers are at hand and are
used, in accordance with the character of the soil and the purpose of the exploration and when
the operators constantly watch out for minor changes in the soil conditions and make corres-
ponding adjustments of the equipment and sampling procedure.
‘In case of erratic soil conditions or soils with secondary structure and when satisfactory
samples cannot be obtained, recourse is often taken to special or major field tests on the soil
in situ.
‘The exploration is often a series of progressive approximations in which each step is deter-
mined by the results of the already completed part of the exploration.

(i) Fact finding and geological survey

(ii) Reconnaisance in general exploration
(iii) Detailed exploration-small undisturbed samples
(iv) Special explorations-large undisturbed samples.’

Hvorslev referred to 100 mm, 150 mm and occasionally to 250 mm dia. samples from pits as
‘large ‘. His stages (iii) and (iv) correspond therefore to the procedure already outlined.
However, at a later stage in the same report he added the following remarks:
‘It may, in many cases, be advantageous to combine the detailed and special explorations

by taking practically continuous undisturbed samples of such a diameter that they can be used
for all laboratory tests.
‘When the site exploration is difficult of access or at a considerable distance from the
laboratory it may be desirable or necessary to complete all boring and sampling operations
before any of the samples can be examined and tested in the laboratory. The depth of the
borings should then be extended, their spacing decreased, and the number of undisturbed
samples taken increased, in order to cover unforeseen contingencies. The additional cost
involved may be less than that of moving drilling equipment and personnel to the site for a
second or third time.’
These last two observations taken together describe present practice, bearing in mind that a
combination of the detailed and special explorations is only possible if 100 mm dia. samples
may be included in the ‘large sample’ category as was considered to be the case in 1949.
However, it is now seen that soils with ‘secondary structure’ or, more generally, macro fabric
are very common and that samples of these soils at least up to 260 mm dia. are necessary to
obtain relevant data. In this event it is no longer practical to continue to adopt Hvorslev’s
compromise and the procedure I have evolved through practical need in principle is that
originally advocated by Hvorslev.
Harding’s paper on site investigation in 1949 formed the basis of the Code of Practice in
Britain. It constitutes a wealth of good practical sense. However, two points are worthy of
note. One is the absence of any reference to the relevance of water in the borehole either in
the paper or in the discussion, although the matter is mentioned in a later edition of the Code
in relation to soft clays and sands. Naturally this consideration can only be made when the
fabric and water conditions are known, namely after preliminary consecutive sampling, and
the installation of standpipe piezometers. The other point follows a paragraph which one
would endorse and I quote : ‘As each boring proceeds and fresh and changing information is
obtained, a story unfolds which can be of a fascinating nature to those who enjoy digging deep
into the earth, and the gradual obtaining of evidence and the building up of a case for the
prosecution of a future work is an act of real civil engineering’. However, he then con-
tinued ‘small clues and pieces of evidence are easily missed if the foreman and supervisors
have not some civil engineering experience’. Prior to this he stated, ‘The importance of
descriptive work by the foreman must be instilled into him’.
In the discussion Cooling (1949) had this to say: ‘The validity of investigations carried out in
the laboratory rests solely on the quality of samples obtained and on how far they are represen-
tative of the stratum from which they are taken’. He went on to describe the American system
of consecutive sampling and added, ‘Whilst a good boring foreman is invaluable on any job,
a great deal seemed to be left to his discretion in the matter of choosing representative samples.
Is it wise that so much responsibility should devolve on one man without a reasonable means
of checking his judgement? That is particularly the case where important thin beds are en-
countered in alluvial soils’. This view must now be upheld especially when one considers that
a foreman is not a qualified civil engineer with soil mechanics training and in any event he
cannot be expected to give a relevant description of disturbed lumps of clay as they come off the
auger. Harding had stated that in the laboratory the samples must be examined: but as long
as material in a tube may be required for mechanical tests only the ends of the samples or the
jar samples can be examined, and these have normally been available only at infrequent
locations in depth. More often than not the final reported log is essentially that written by the
The reason why Cooling’s warning could not be followed was that no one knew at that time
what the significance of the fabric was apart from that of thick coarse layers, or what action
220 P. W. ROWE

should be taken after detailed soil examination. Applications of the principles of soil
mechanics were only just beginning to gain acceptance and major advances were being made
using the simplest and cheapest techniques.
Terzaghi (1939) referred to cohesive soils exclusively as ‘clay’ although he did not fail to
mention that ‘homogeneous beds of clay are very rare’ and that the essential prerequisite for
selecting representative samples consists in securing complete data on the variation of at least
one property of the soil along several vertical lines’. There is more than a hint here of my
present objective. But one must not lose sight of the fact that since the years immediately
preceding and following the Second World War a great deal of work has had to be done on the
behaviour of uniform clay and on the development of testing techniques, and a great deal of
field observations and correlation with element test data has had to be collected before taking
a completely fresh view of site investigation objectives.
Where consecutive sampling is practised on the North American continent and qualified
soils engineers examine the samples, the descriptions show a distinct improvement over those
presently accepted in Britain, but little direct use of these improved descriptions has been made
in the selection and testing of representative specimens. In this context it may be relevant to
comment on a few of the statements to be found in the chapter on soil exploration in the revised
(1967) edition of the well-known text by Terzaghi and Peck. They state that ‘the amount of
soil testing and the refinements in the techniques for performing tests are often quite out of
proportion to the practical value of the results’. This will remain true as long as small
specimen tests are conducted irrespective of fabric. Their remarks are particularly applicable
to Class C work. A small structure may only justify one or two exploratory borings and if the
strata are erratic, or large sampling is ruled out on the basis of cost, it may be preferable to use
conservative judgement based on fabric examination than to fill a test report with erroneous
small specimen test data from unrepresentative specimens. They state that in the case of ‘a
fairly homogeneous layer of clay a considerable amount of soil testing by expert laboratory
technicians may be justified’ but it may be recalled that Terzaghi pointed out much earlier
than such clays rarely existed. On the other hand they state that in the case of ‘a deposit
composed of pockets and lenses of sand clay and silt the amount of testing would add very
little information that could be obtained merely by determining the index properties of several
dozen representative samples’. This statement depends critically on whether the sand and
silt is really isolated in pockets and lenses or whether it is interconnected via permeable fabric,
this being a matter for investigation by consecutive sampling and the correlation of in situ
tests and field performance of similar sites. One must also bear in mind that index tests refer
to remoulded properties which are quite misleading in regard to in situ permeability and short
term strength.
Terzaghi (1961) stressed repeatedly the importance of patterns of stratification and fissures.
He drew attention to the occasional lack of identity of the results of properly conducted shear-
ing tests on so-called undisturbed samples of clay with the shearing resistance of untouched clay
deposits and stated that there must be a generally accepted method for describing soils
(Terzaghi, 1936).
My own experience leads me to the conclusion that the presence of free silt and sand demands
detailed fabric study in relation to the geology and that the possibility of high mass permeability
must now be investigated with in situ tests and carefully selected large samples. The suggestion
that ‘additional data of far greater significance . . . can be secured . . . by means of simple
subsurface soundings’ is still true for sands, and for alternating beds of sands, silts and clays
of a metre or so in thickness, but now requires qualification for clays. As an argument
against detailed testing, Terzaghi and Peck show erratic variation in water content in a stratum

of Boston clay over a depth of 300 mm and 900 mm, respectively; but it has been seen that
this does not result in erratic pore pressure distribution and strength in the mass, because water
migration can occur over these distances during construction. Slow undrained tests on large
specimens can achieve a similar equalization of pore pressure to that which occurs in the field.
Terzaghi and Peck divide fabric into primary structure, which is formed at deposition and
secondary structure such as joints or slickensides that develop after deposition. In the latter
case they rely on judgement and ‘in some instances, on large scale field tests’. Here again
one has a meeting ground, for no one disputes the value of well planned in situ tests, and since
large field tests include large elements the possibility that increase in scale of specimen may re-
flect the influence of fabric would seem not to be denied, especially when one recalls that Peck
(1940) was the first to demonstrate an effect of specimen size on the strength of Chicago clays.
Peck (1962) warned that there was evidence for a causal relationship between the growth of
soil mechanics and the number of foundation and subsurface mishaps and that the practice of
subsurface engineering may suffer as long as engineers are content to make recommendations
for design and construction solely on the basis of borings, soil tests and calculations. This
and other warnings should not be forgotten, but much will always depend on the extent to
which the test data are representative and relevant and on how accurately the problems and
their boundary conditions can be defined. Given an adequate number of initial small diameter
borings, the majority of sites I have examined in Britain could be represented for all practical
purposes by a series of representative strata with properties based on relevant representative
samples and tests. Where this is either not possible or not practised for economic or other
reasons, the practical application of geotechnical science will remain severely restricted.
Fabric examination should also precede field tests which are likely to play a role of increasing
importance in the future. However, I have confined my attention to sampling for laboratory
testing, partly because this is the accepted basic approach to site investigation, and partly be-
cause I do not believe that in situ tests can ever replace completely the measurement of funda-
mental properties on representative elements under controlled boundary conditions.

Centrifuge model tests

In opening I remarked that the stress states of specimens should also be representative.
Elements in the ground are subject to a variable orientation of principal stress direction and
stress paths, and to a distribution of stress which varies with relative stiffness of different strata
and fill and which is modified by progressive failure. The centrifuge model technique which
Professor Schofield has recently pioneered and developed in Britain (Avgherinos and Schofield,
1969) takes these factors into account although at present it is not always possible to simulate
the stress paths and construction sequence.
Whereas small scale models subject to high gravitational fields are suitable for fundamental
studies of uniform soil, representative model behaviour requires large models of between 1 and
2 tonnes mass and low centrifugal factors, less than 100 for the following reasons.
Most sites contain at least two or three soil strata and each should be at least as large as a
250 mm dia. consolidation specimen 100 mm thick. Therefore the model composite founda-
tion may have to be at least 0.3 m deep.
Drainage blankets in fill can be set at 3 m spacing and be O-3 m thick. A smaller gravita-
tional factor than 100 is desirable since blankets 3 mm thick at 30 mm spacing are difficult to
form and control. Similarly the smallest model concrete sheet pile wall or bearing pile
practical is about 10 mm thick so that to model a field member 0.4 m thick requires the use of
only 40 gravities.
222 P. w. ROWE

It has been mentioned that clays with fabric require testing times of several hours in order to
achieve the uniformity of pore water pressure that occurs in the field. Factors less than 100
are desirable for construction periods of one year if the testing time is to exceed one hour.
Boulder clay fills require a model width 2-4 times the free height in order to avoid side shear
effects even when using lubrication. Preconsolidated and plastic clays allow a width to height
ratio of unity, see Fuglsang (1971).
For these reasons a machine has been installed at the Simon Engineering Laboratories,
Manchester University which accepts a 2 tonne soil model over a working area of 1 m x 2 m
at 3.2 m radius, allowing model height up to 0.6 m with a maximum variation in the gravita-
tional factor of + 10% between the top and base of the model. The machine was designed to
operate at up to 200 gravities at a maximum peripheral speed of 170 m.p.h. Fig. 72 shows the
rotor arm in its pit beneath the control room. The machine rotates about a vertical axis on
the right of the picture in a bearing located at the base. A comparison of the field pore water
pressures in a clay blanket of a reservoir embankment with those observed in a model is made
in Fig. 73. Sampling has been conducted so far in open pits, but below 3-5 m, 1.2 m dia.
borings could be more economical and result in less sample disturbance. Undisturbed
samples weighing up to 900 kg, 1 m square, have been obtained to mode1 the natural foundation
Four stages in the preparation of a model of the proposed raising of Grimwith reservoir
embankment are seen in Fig. 74. The clay fill layers are compacted in a mould and laid over
each drainage blanket, see Fig. 74(a), using a suction pad to facilitate handling, Fig. 74(b).
Piezometer tips (Fig. 74(c)) in the centre of the clay layers are connected to rugged trans-
ducers, and the completed model of the downstream slope is seen in Fig. 74(d). The sandstone
strata underlying boulder clay in the foundation was modelled using porous concrete. The
model in its lightweight container is turned on end and lowered inside the strong container at
the end of the centrifuge arm, Fig. 72.
The technique is being applied at present to three reservoir schemes, a flood relief channel,
sheet pile walls, anchorage methods, diaphragm walls and earth pressures within a cellular
monolith. For success with natural deposits, model work preceded by fabric examination and
large specimen tests constitutes the ultimate test advantage from a flexible site investigation

Organization and financial arrangements

No progress is possible without a change in the financial arrangements for the conduct of
site investigation contracts.
Whenever a discussion at the Institution of Civil Engineers has turned on the importance of
site investigations there has never been a reasoned argument presented in favour of treating
the cost as a primary consideration. On the contrary, there are numerous recent published
opinions calling for more time and money to be spent on site investigation (Williams and
Mettam, 1971) more flexibility in procedure (Green, 1968) and more liaison between the soils
and design teams (Bridge and Elliott, 1967). Tomlinson and Meigh (1971) have stated that
more claims from piling contractors were due to poorly or inaccurately recorded ground con-
ditions than to any other cause. Nevertheless, the vast majority of investigations continue to
be conducted on the basis of overall competitive tender which necessarily requires the fastest
methods of drilling through the ground and the minimum of time spent on the examination of
ground conditions and the consideration of relevant test programmes. Dissatisfaction with
this situation was expressed by Harding (1942) and more recently in the U.S.A. by Osterberg

While it is necessary to agree beforehand with the Client the sum of money to be made
available for investigation, that sum should not be determined by specifying the number of
boreholes and forcing the Contractor to choose the quicker drilling method in order to be
competitive in his tender. For although there is always an opportunity for reappraisal or
even for a second stage investigation, all too often the results of the work conceived in the
absence of any knowledge of ground conditions finish up as the basis for design and construc-
tion. It does not help when, in the last resort, the Works Contractor reads that he should
have satisfied himself as to the nature of the ground during the few weeks or months at his
disposal for tender.
It is no solution to let a contract on a cost-time basis as this can lead to inefficiency on site
and lack of expenditure control. Neither does the allocation of provisional sums based on an
initial appraisal of the expected overall geology provide the necessary control on expenditure
as the detailed drilling and samphng for test purposes cannot be specified before examination
of the initial continuous samples.
An improved procedure would be for site investigation firms to draw up individual lists of
charges for all site operations, methods and depths of drilling, and sampling, and for site
supervision, laboratory testing and reports. This is done already for laboratory test opera-
tions and could be extended to site work. These would be revised from time to time but
otherwise they should be available for consideration before invitation to tender so that the
Engineer could examine the techniques available as well as their cost. There are a great
variety of drilling and sampling procedures in existence and the way would be open for firms to
compete in the quality and variety of the site operations they have to offer. This could
stimulate development in drilling, sampling and testing. In addition, those invited to tender
would submit a sum for going on site depending on distance, access, general site conditions
and period on site, and this sum may also reflect the availability of rigs and the desire to under-
take the work.
From the available knowledge of the geology and the proposed works the Engineer would
first estimate the minimum number of boreholes and site operations which he considers would
enable him to make an immediate progress report to the Client. He should also assess the
maximum work including field tests, and large sampling for model tests where appropriate.
He could then discuss his proposals with the Client indicating the possible range of expenditure
and obtain authority to proceed in steps so as to achieve the maximum information for the
minimum cost, which may have a set upper limit. These steps can also be made in the form of
primary and secondary explorations but the two should be contemplated as a whole from the
In general, lay members of a Board do not like to learn after six months have elapsed that
the conclusion of a site investigation is that a further investigation should be conducted.
However, a pause of a few weeks in site operations between the initial continuous or consecutive
sampling and the later detailed specification for test specimens would allow proper assessment
of the initial data and the more economic deployment of the necessary special drilling and
sampling equipment and thus facilitate the organization of concurrent investigations over a
wide variety of sites.
Such estimates could also be provided by the site investigation firm and would constitute a
proposal rather than a quotation.
The money to be devoted to investigation will vary widely with the site condition and
engineering problems but it may be useful to bear in mind the order of expenditure as a per-
centage of capital cost of recent works in Table 4. Some of these figures reflect only the sum
paid to the site investigation firm and do not include survey work, consultant’s fees and land
224 P. W. ROWE

and legal charges. Capital costs vary with the amount of architectural treatment. Other
variations are due to site conditions and the nature of the work and one notes the expected
above average expenditure on earth dams.
The influence of incorrect site investigation data on the final cost of a project is more diffi-
cult to assess. One can think of extreme cases where tenders have varied by 50% of the lowest
largely because of uncertainty in ground conditions. The omission or inclusion of sand drains
can affect costs by 2-5% and in a recent case 5% of the final cost on a building was wasted on
unnecessary foundation treatment. Claims up to 10% of the tender arising out of ground
conditions are not unknown. On this basis it would be difficult to argue that an increase of
expenditure by I*5’% of the earthwork and foundation cost or an average expenditure of 3%
would be wasted if examination of the first borings revealed the desirability of more extensive
explorations. This is roughly equivalent to a possible 50% increase on earth dam work and a
300% increase on structural foundation sites. On the other hand, the initial fabric examina-
tions especially associated with Class C investigations may show that no sampling is required
(Golder, 1970).
The cost of consecutive or continuous wet drilling and sampling is about double that of the
conventional procedure of taking 100 mm dia. samples 450 mm long every 1.5 m where only
30% of the borehole is sampled and far less is examined. The cost ratio is about 1.5 for dry
sampling above the water table. The cost of 260 mm dia. sampling is about 3-4 times that of
100 mm sampling but the volume of material per sample is 10 times greater. Testing a 250 mm
specimen in a hydraulic consolidation cell costs five times more than a conventional small
sample but the volume tested is 60 times greater. A 250 mm triaxial specimen has 150 times
the volume of a 38 mm specimen.

Table 4. Site investigation costs

Works / (a) % of capital (b) % of earthwork and

cost of works foundation costs
~ 1 0.89 I 1.14
Earth dams 1.40 2.10
i t 1.24 / 1.88
I 4 3.30 / 5.20
Embankments ~ 1 0.12 1 0.16
I 2 0.19 I 0.20
Docks ~ l 0.50 1.67
1 2 0.23 0.42
1 0.30 0.82
Major 0.17 0.68
Bridges I f 0.35 0.80
Minor i 4 0.50 1.30
! 5 0.12 0.26
Heavy 0.22 2.00
Buildings Light
/ : 0’05 i 0.50
Roads /1: 0.37 1.60
1.55 5.67
Green (1968) 0.2-0.6 -

Railways Green (1968) /y-- 0.6-2 / 3.5

Overall mean 0.7 1.5
~ /


G WI. I” Stratum C

Dllatont Black Cloy~y _ .._

.300 mm
.Orgon,r layered

Shell -
IL multi fractured
4 Shell ‘3 with sand A
inclusions and
dumngs and
0 2 mm thick at
b[l bmm mvzrvoIs_
.>LEVEL--- V -A-

A\ fme SAND
_ l”CI”510”5

0 Pxzometer locations
CF Clay Froct~on

Fig. 1. Abbreviated fabric descriptions, Grangemouth

Note. Arrows alongside Figs 2, 8, 13, 19, 20, 25, 28, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 51, 54, 55,
and 65 kdicute vertical direction, where rrlevmt.

INew BHJ midwayi



-I _Soft daa &y:oy~y

SILT Soft firm dark grey
with occasional pockets
of rend and sandy silt.
/ \‘

Soft dark grey




-2c -,’ Fig. 3. Conventional soil descriptions, Grangemouth

undralnrd shear strength

10 20 30 40 SO kN/m’
t- .I ~~-cf
_“‘k-2, TO-44 OD. - 50% PORE PRESSURE
‘Dry’ shell and ougrr
Dulling 1966

+ Loborotory vonr
l 0 Loborotory tnoxiol
. “ncon‘mrd comprrsrlon



c I I I I
0 100 200 300 400

Fig. 4. Comparison of undrained strength data, Grange- Fig. 5. Consolidation rate test data,
mouth Grangemouth
Fig. 6 (right). Conventional soil descriptions, Hardham Ol 03 STANDING WATER LEVEL IN

Fig. 7 (below). Geological section derived from fabric examination, with

settlement and ground water records, Hardham

A Soft Brown/Grey Mottled SILTY CLAY wth traces of Organtc Matter

B Soft Grey SILTY CLAY with traces of Organic Matter 160 13 m
C Soft Grey Organic SILTY CLAY with traces of Peat 145 12 12
D Soft Grey Mottled SILTY CLAY

Effective Stress I kN/m*)

Fig. 9. Permeability test data, stratum
4, Hardbam

Log,, Drawdown If0

Drawdown from +8-O 0.D K)
I.2 I.4 16
3 60 1111

Approximate unrecorded additional

ground settlement due to well pOinting

Fig. 10. Theoretical and observed settlements, Hardham




0 2m

Fig. 11. Conventional soil descriptionc, Chorlton

010 019
4 I
gy z 3 _S
_-_ _
r. .I,.’


SClJlC 0 20m ._*’ SANDSTONE

Fig. 12. Geological section derived from fabric examination, Chorlton

Fig. 16 (right). Correlation of consolidation rate data with
fabric type for alluvial deposits

‘E FIG. 2 I&#



0 IO 20 30 40 kN/m’




200 300 400




Fig. 17(a). Wide scatter in undrained

shear strength of small specimens
82 ,, PIEZOMETERS 2.1 m
(b) Uniformity of pore water pressure
ibl in mass of natural soil foundation


IO 20 30 40 kN/m,’
I B’b/sq.‘n.
2 3 4 5 I6 :p





12 100 mm (4 I” TUBEI
Fig. 18. Improvement in the shear strength- SAMPLER 260mm DIA.
depth profile using large specimens of an
alluvial deposit 8
252 P. W. ROWE

Calculated from Mean

E In Situ Permeability Data
and Laboratory Comprcrribility
.-6 \

5 102 %

: Horizontal Flow
s 250 mm
E cell Sp~cinrn
z 10 Data
.u Vertical Flow

Convrntional 75 mm Specimen test doto

100 200 300 400

Meon Vertical Effective Strasr kNlmc

Fig. 32. Consolidation rate data on London clay,


Steady Seepage P,ezometr,c Levels Bank completed Oct. 69

I” Foundation at TWL reached May 70
Upper row A0
Seepage pressure wthm
Lower row CD
I m of fanalstablllsed
“0IU.S on May 70




7 8 9 10 II 12 I 2 3 4 5 6 7
,969 1970

Fig. 33. Comparison of pore pressures in fill and foundation of London clay, Ardleigh

One comparison based on 20 holes, 20 m deep, including full time site supervision by a
qualified engineer, showed a 65% increase in the combined cost for drilling, sampling and
testing in one clay area, the increase as a percentage of the overall investigation and report
being 20%. However, the volume of material tested and the length of cores examined was
nine times greater.
For shallow building foundations, consecutive sampling could be limited in depth, or it may
be cheaper to examine the fabric in situ from pits and trenches. The overall increase in cost
depends mainly on the chosen extent of consecutive sampling, on the degree of supervision and
on more detailed reports. Prices would also reflect an increase in capital investment on equip-
ment. Against this there would be tighter control on the number and depth of the borings,
there could be a reduction in the cost of handling and storage of samples, and the laboratory
space may be utilized by providing benches for more detailed examination of a typical bore-
hole. In time the experience gained by fabric examination correlated with field performance
would result in a reduction in the amount of testing work that has to be repeated for a given
geological stratum.
It is not my intention to replace one routine with another. There will always be extensive
use for dry shell and auger drilling without special sampling for Class C work especially in
known areas which may only entail confirmatory borings. Nevertheless, it is difficult to
defend a case for the omission of even one consecutively sampled hole in any class of work if an
investigation is to be made because the ground conditions are unknown. This is especially
important in Class C work where excavations are later to be taken below ground water
An incentive to revision along these lines is to be found in the Report on Contracting and
Civil Engineering since Banwell sponsored by the National Economic Development Office.
They concluded ‘that there should be much closer identification of the Engineer with the
results of the investigation and an end to the practice of disclaiming responsibility for factual
information on ground conditions made available to tenderers for the main contract’. They
also added that ‘competitive tendering based on price alone is inappropriate to sub-soil
investigation work’.
One advantage of the proposed system is that the relevance of sampling and testing to design
and construction is considered during the investigation rather than after completion ofa report.
Where an Authority proposes to put works out to a number of contractors on a design and
tender basis, on the results of a single investigation it is essential that the contractors or design
consortia should be selected at an early stage and should be invited to comment on the investi-
gation in progress. This is already practised by the C.E.G.B. for example on power station
sites but elsewhere all too frequently firms are presented with a report which does not contain
data relevant to their design proposals.
There is considerable potential expertise available in both site investigation firms and among
consultants which could be made more effective this way. I believe that the involvement of
engineers in the relation between geology, soil properties and design while acting in a super-
visory position on site investigations where drilling and sampling decisions have to be taken
would prove a rewarding and creative experience. In addition specialist techniques, for
example of field measurement, finite element analysis, non-linear consolidation theory and
both element and model testing available in the Research Stations and the Universities could
be brought to bear on relevant problems at an early stage. More effective use could be made
of the literature published by the British Geotechnical Society. Such collaboration would
surely enhance the objectives of the Institution of Civil Engineers and carry us further down
the path that Rankine sought to tread.
.- - - -
T- Size fraction I
Fig. Site Era LL PL _ -1 Pm nQ. at u’ = 100 kN/m2, Visual fabric
c Si Sa 1t/m3 m2/MN
(_ --
_iT _- I
2(b) 3rangemouth iRecent A 15 65 20 1.85 0.60 Clayey siIt with medium coarse sand in layers
Alluvium 5-100 mm thick at 1 m intervals

(f) B 70 31 25 60 15 1.72 0.70 ?edal black clayey silt with fine sand partings
(0.2 mm) at 5 mm intervals
Hardham Alluvium r 6.5 28 27 - - l-47 1.02 4pedal mottled sandy silty clay with horizontal
and vertical rootlets and occasional thin silt
sand seams. Parts easily on fine sand filled
desiccation fissures
_ ____ _.~ -~ -
w 2 65 31 32 65 3 1.50 1.23 4pedal mottled grey-brown sandy silty clay
with small vertical rootlets, desiccation fissures
with open voids and channels showing
illuviation cutans

W 3 51 29 25 - 1.27 1.92 4pedal peaty brown-grey silty clay with high

organic content (37%) horizontally orientated.
Wood up to 75 mm. Large open channels
and voids
__~ -- -
(4 4 57 28 48 51 1 1.37 0.75 Pedal grey silty clay with small fissures
and silt intrusions. Occasional silt and fine
sand on bedding planes and slight organic
____ --
(4 5 34 16 - - I.58 0.29 Apedal dense sandy silty clay, with coarse uni-
form texture. No voids or organic matter
_I_ /__ __-
I3 Chorlton Alluvium Y- 22 14 52 34 1.75 0.60 Apedal sandy silty clay with coarse open texture
with thin silt and fine sand layers and silt
clusters. Vertical rootlets near surface of
____- ____
19 Lodalen Late glacial 33 20 40 60 - 1.91 - Uniform grey silty clay? remoulded by natural
ancient slide action, with pronounced swelling
-_ -- -- _I_

20 Gateshead Glacial lake 62 1 21 27 - 1.95 0.27 Apedal brown laminated clay with occasional
silt dustings on laminations and siIt partings ‘d
0.2-l mm
-_ -. _I_ _‘_ -~ 3
23 Covenham Boulder clay 41 / 17 25 35 35 2.10 0.15 Boulder clay with chalk and sandstone inclu-
I sions. Vertical rootlets and silt sheets in F
I desiccation fissures m

25(a 1 Grimwith Boulder clay 30 17 23 26 28 2.08 0.20 Graded sandstone-sand-silt-clay



- - - -
Size fraction
Fig. Site Era LL PL PS, ly at u’= 100 kN/m’, Visual fabric
tim” m2/MN
__Si I_Sa -1:
43 vlraddesdon ;Kimmeridge 63 26 44 56 1.98 0.22 ,Grey and light brown stiff fissured silty clay
having peds 6-25 mm neatly accommodated.
Horizontally bedded with selenite crystals 6-
12 mm thick and neatly accommodated in
9ncholme 4mpthill and 59 21 64 36 2.10 0.09 Dark grey weathered silty calcareous laminated
t4 Valley Oxford shale bedded 2-10 mm. Fissures at l(r
40 mm spacing with silt sized groups of clay
particles on ped faces, and open bedding
planes. Marine relics

46 Zhurchdown 1Lower Lias - 2.05 0.20 Grey weathered laminated fissured calcareous
silty clay shale, bedded 5-15 mm, forming
peds 5-40 mm with calcareous siltstone layers.
Brown staining on fissure faces
New Red
Loughborougl 2 Keuper marl - 2.18 1.1* Red brown mudstone forming peds 5-20 mm
neatly accommodated,, weathered to silt size
groups of clay particles in places at ped
boundaries (Class II-III)
New Red
Moira marl 18 38 60 2 2.15 0.22 Dark red brown weathered calcareous silty
clay having planes of weakness forming peds
5-75 mm neatly accommodated with lac sur-
faces. Peds weather progressively upwards to
silt sized groups of clay particles. Siltstone
layers 6-25 mm thick, slightly argillaceous

55(a: Staunton 22 29 - 0.10 Light grey weathered mudstone having hard
(b Harold peds 3-20 mm cemented with interpedal
medium-fine silt. Fine coal layers. Peds
difficult to prize apart
20 28 - 0.08 Dark grey weathered fissured shale having hard
! peds 10-70 mm with interpedal coarse silt and ‘d
sand peds easily prised apart 3
- - - i
* Small sample value too high (Davis 1971). :
The Author is indebted to the following firms and organizations for their help in the collec-
tion of field records and for permission to publish work done on their behalf: R. H. Cuth-
bertson and Associates, Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, North East Lines Water Board,
North West Sussex Water Board, North West Road Construction Unit, The City Engineer and
Surveyor Manchester Corporation, The Manchester Ship Canal Company, Medway Water
Board, Mott Hay and Anderson, The Nuclear Power Group, Rendel, Palmer and Tritton,
River Dove Water Board, Rofe, Kennard and Lapworth, South Staffordshire Water Com-
pany, Sunderland and South Shields Water Company and Taylor Woodrow Construction
Limited. Particular recognition is given to the beneficial association with Edgar Morton and
Certain soil samples were supplied by Dr M. E. Barton, Dr A. G. Davies, Mr C. W. Isher-
wood, Professor A. N. Schofield and Mr T. R. M. Wakeling. Dr J. A. Cheetham, Dr G. P.
Karunaratne and Dr A. P. Tyrrell contributed to the study of soil fabric. The 260 mm sampler
was developed in conjunction with Soil Mechanics Limited who also supplied the photograph
of the Delft continuous sampling rig. Other large sampling rigs have been developed by
Foundation Engineering Ltd and by Geo-Research Ltd.
The centrifuge construction and operation has been financed partly by the Universities of
Manchester and Salford, and partly by the Water Resources Board. Mr C. Lowe gave
valuable advice on macrophotographic techniques and was responsible for the film shown at
the Lecture. The centrifuge models for the film were made and tested by Messrs W. Craig,
G. Pavlakis and W. J. Rigden. Professor R. Peck, Drs K. Peaker and I. M. Smith and Messrs
A. C. Meigh, S. Serota, M. J. Tomlinson and T. R. M. Wakeling made valuable comments on
parts of the Lecture in draft form.

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300 P. W. ROWE

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MR TOMLINSON said that when the British Geotechnical Society instituted the annual Rankine
Lectures it was hoped that they would publicize current research in theoretical soil mechanics
and at the same time demonstrate its importance to engineering practice. Those ideals had
been truly followed by Professor Rowe in his Rankine Lecture. Mr Tomlinson believed that
Professor Rowe’s research at Manchester University was of outstanding importance because it
was directly related to the practical problems of site investigation. It was particularly oppor-
tune because of the work of the British Standards Committee which had been working on the
revision of the Code of Practice for site investigations. Professor Rowe’s work would
undoubtedly have an impact on this Committee’s findings.
The research was of great value because it dealt with soils as they had been formed by
nature, with all their natural inconsistencies. So much of the research on soil mechanics done
in laboratories was performed on uniform artificially deposited soils and neglected one prin-
cipal factor-the variability of naturally formed materials. Soil mechanics should be a
practical science and Professor Rowe’s lecture had shown that research could be done in a
practical and realistic way.
Much of the lecture had been challenging and controversial. Those who knew Professor
Rowe would not expect anything less from him. It was a great pleasure to thank Professor
Rowe for all his work in assembling the impressive range of facts and figures and for his
forthright courage in challenging established ideas and practices. The Lecture would have a
considerable influence on the way in which site investigations would be made in the years to

The vote of thanks was carried by acclamation.