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A geologic investigation of foundation

failures in small buildings in Tucson, Arizona

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Authors Crossley, Robert William, 1946-

Publisher The University of Arizona.

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Link to Item http://hdl.handle.net/10150/554059


A GEOLOGIC INVESTIGATION OF FOUNDATION FAILURES IN

SMALL BUILDINGS IN TUCSON, ARIZONA

by

Robert W. Cross!ey

A Thesis Subm itted to the F a c u lty o f the

DEPARTMENT OF MINING AND GEOLOGICAL ENGINEERING

In P a r t ia l F u lf illm e n t o f the Requirements


For the Degree o f

MASTER OF SCIENCE
WITH A MAJOR IN GEOLOGICAL ENGINEERING

In th e Graduate C o lleg e

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

19 6 9
STATEMENT DY AUTHOR

T h is th e s is has been su b m itte d in p a r t ia l f u l f i l l m e n t o f r e q u ir e ­


ments f o r an advanced degree a t The U n iv e r s ity o f A rizo n a and is d e p o site d
in the U n iv e r s ity L ib r a r y to be made a v a ila b le to borrow ers under ru le s
o f th e L ib r a r y .

B r ie f q u o ta tio n s from t h is th e s is are a llo w a b le w ith o u t s p e c ia l


p e rm is s io n , p ro v id e d th a t a c c u ra te acknowledgment o f source is made.
Requests f o r p e rm issio n f o r extended q u o ta tio n from o r re p ro d u c tio n o f
t h is m a n u s c rip t in whole o r in p a rt may be g ra nted by th e head o f the
m ajor departm ent o r th e Dean o f th e Graduate C olle ge when in h is judgm ent
th e proposed use o f th e m a te ria l is in the in t e r e s t s o f s c h o la rs h ip . In
a l l o th e r in s ta n c e s , however, p e rm issio n must be o b ta in e d from the a u th o r.

SIGNED: Lu~

APPROVAL BY THESIS DIRECTOR

T h is th e s is has/been approved on th e d a te shown below:

DR. W ./JZ LACY Date


W
P rofessc
fe s s o r o f
M ining and G e o lo g ic a l E n g in e e rin g
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The w r i t e r is g r a te fu l to Doctor W. C. Lacy who suggested th is

to p ic and served as th e s is a d v is o r, and to Doctor W. C. P e ters and

D octor 0 . F. Abel who served on the com m ittee. Data on subsurface

geology by M r. R. W. D a v is , Mr. R. S t r e i t z , and Mr. E. F. Pashley was

e s s e n tia l to th e a n a ly s is o f r e s u lt s , as were the h y d ro lo g ic maps

provided by The U n iv e r s ity o f A rizo n a Department o f A g r ic u ltu r a l Engineer­

in g . The w r i t e r a lso wishes to acknowledge in fo rm a tio n and suggestions

by members o f the C i t y 's In s p e c tio n s Department and by se v e ra l lo c a l

engineers and c o n tra c to rs .

iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS............................................................................................ vi

ABSTRACT......................................................................................................................... v iii

1. INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................... 1

1.1 Purpose................................................................................................ 1

CM CM
1 .2 Procedure.........................................
1 .3 Previous Work................................

CO
2. GEOGRAPHY OF THE TUCSON BASIN................

CO LO ID VO
2.1 The Basin and Range Province
2 .2 The Tucson B a s in .........................
2 .3 Geology o f the Ranges..............
2 .4 The Basin F i l l ..............................

3. INVESTIGATION OF FOUNDATION PROBLEMS IN TUCSON........................... 9

3 .1 E x p la n a tio n o f Terms................................................................. 9
3 .2 R esu lts o f In v e s t ig a t io n ........................................................ 10
3 .3 P o ssib le E x p la n a tio n s ............................................................... 11

4. GEOLOGIC HISTORY OF THE TUCSON BASIN................................................ 14

4.1 The P a le o zo ic E ra ........................................................................ 14


4 .2 The Mesozoic E ra ................................................................. 14
4 .3 The E a rly T e r t ia r y P e rio d ...................................................... 15
4 .4 The Basin and Range Orogeny.................................................. 16
4 .5 P ost-O rogenic A c t i v i t i e s in the Tucson B asin............ 19
4 .6 The P le is to c e n e Epoch............................................................... 21
4 .7 Recent G eologic H is t o r y ........................................................... 22

5. INFLUENCE OF GEOLOGY AND HYDROLOGY ON FRACTURE PATTERNS.... 24

5.1 Role o f T e rra c e D e p o s its ......................................................... 24


5 .2 Role o f C o lla p s in g S o i l ........................................................... 28
5 .3 Role o f C a lic h e ............................................................................. 30

iv
V

TABLE OF COHTENTS-Continued

Page

5 .4 Role o f Ground Water D e p le tio n ........................................... 31


5 .5 Role o f Basement Geology and T e c to n ic A c t i v i t y . . . . .43
5 .6 R esults o f the G eologic In v e s t ig a t io n ........................... 44

6. ENGINEERING ASPECTS OF FOUNDATION FAILURE...................................... 47

6.1 Ground I n s t a b i l i t y and the P u b lic .................................... 47


6 .2 Recommendations f o r Zoning and P la n n in g ....................... 49
6 .3 Recommendations f o r B u ild in g Codes.................................. 50
6 .4 Recommendations f o r U t i l i t i e s ............................................. 52
6 .5 Future Foundation Problems in Tucson.............................. 53

7. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS............................................................................... 56

REFERENCES 57
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

F igure Page

la . Cross S ectio n Showing T r a d it io n a l Basin and Range


C o n fig u ra tio n ............................................................................................ 4

lb . Map Showing G eologic Provinces o f the Southwest................ 4

2. Basement Depth Contour Map o f th e Tucson Basin (from


R. W. D a v is ).............................................................................................. 8

3. Map Showing Areas o f Foundation F a ilu r e s in Tucson............ 12

4. Map Showing F ra c tu re P a tte rn Superimposed on Terraces


in Tucson (T erraces by G. S m ith, 1 9 3 8 ).................................... 2G

5. Isopacheous Map Showing C a lic h e D is t r ib u tio n in Tucson


( a f t e r R. S t r e i t z ) ................................................................................. 32

6. Ground Water T ab le Contour Map (Based on Data from


Department o f A g r ic u ltu r a l E n g in e e rin g , 1 9 6 7 )..................... 35

7. Isopacheous Map o f Sediments Dewatered in Tucson from


1947 to 1967 (from Department o f A g r ic u ltu r a l Engineer­
i n g ) ................................................................................................................ 37

8. Cross S ectio n Through S e v e re ly F ractu red Area in Tucson


(subsu rface data by Robert S t r e i t z ) ........................................... 39

9. Cross S e ctio n Through S e v e re ly F ractu red Area (subsur­


fa c e data by Robert S t r e i t z ) ........................................................... 40

10. Cross S ection Through T ro u b le -F re e Area in Tucson


(subsu rface data by Robert S t r e i t z ) ........................................... 41

11. L ith o fa c ie s Map o f Dewatered Sediments (1 9 4 7 -1 9 6 7 )......... 42

12. S tr u c tu r a l Contour Map Showing Contact Between


R i l l i t o Beds and Q uaternary Basin F i l l (from P a s h le y ).. 45
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS-Continued

F igure Page

13. Map Showing Zones L ik e ly to Experience Land Subsi­


dence in .t h e F u tu re ............................................................................... 54

14. In t e n s it y P a tte rn o f B u ild in g Foundation F a ilu re s in In


Tucson, A riz o n a ........................................................................................ Pocket
ABSTRACT

B u ild in g s in c e r ta in areas in Tucson are s u b je c t to damage in

the form o f cracked fo u n d a tio n s , w a lls , and f lo o r s , The cause is

presumed to be d i f f e r e n t i a l movement r e s u ltin g from ground i n s t a b i l i t y .

During the summer o f 1968 the w r i t e r inspected small b u ild in g s

throughout Tucson, n o tin g the lo c a tio n and s e v e r ity o f cracks in w a lls

and fo u n d a tio n s . Zones o f g r e a te s t in t e n s it y o f fo u n d a tio n f a il u r e s

a re lo c a te d on the Cemetery T e rra c e and can be c o r r e la te d w ith la y e rs

o f subsurface sand from which ground w ater has been withdrawn w ith in

th e l a s t decade.

Ground i n s t a b i l i t y is r e la te d to re g io n a l and lo c a l geology.

The two m ajor causes o f fo u n d a tio n problems in Tucson a re b e lie v e d to

be (1 ) pockets o f low d e n s ity u n s ta b le s o ils which were deposited in a

w ate r d e f ic ie n t environm ent and which exp erien ce a g re a t loss o f

volume under c o n d itio n s o f s a tu r a tio n and lo a d in g , and (2 ) land su b si­

dence caused by increased e f f e c t i v e s tre s s on subsurface s t r a t a which

have been dew atered.

v iii
1. INTRODUCTION

L a te one summer a fa m ily retu rn ed from v a c a tio n to t h e i r fa s h io n ­

a b le e a s t Tucson home to f in d t h a t t h e i r backyard p a tio had been reduced

to a mass o f con crete ru b b le , a s id e w a ll had co m pletely c o lla p s e d , and

a p o rtio n o f th e fo o tin g s had s e t t le d more than a f o o t . The expensive

home la y on a te r ra c e above Pantano Hash. I t was a one s to ry s tr u c tu r e ,

o n ly a few years o ld , and b u i l t by a re p u ta b le c o n tr a c to r .

Many people have th e m istaken im pression t h a t fo u n d a tio n f a ilu r e s

must be ass o ciate d w ith v i s i b l y u n s ta b le t e r r a i n , such as swamps, peat

bogs, la n d -sh o re in t e r f a c e s , and regions s u b je c t to earthquakes and lan d ­

s lid e s . The s o ils o f the s e m i-a rid Southwest appear fir m and co h esive,

but they have caused havoc f o r c o n tra c to rs . A t times d e s e rt s o ils seem

s t a t i c and i n e r t , but under c e r t a in c o n d itio n s th ey become dynamic

m a te r ia ls . The s u rp ris in g number o f fr a c tu r e s in b u ild in g s throughout

Tucson w i l l t e s t i f y to t h is f a c t .

1.1 Purpose

Foundation f a il u r e s are becoming an in c re a s in g problem in

Tucson. The purpose o f t h is study is (1 ) to o u t lin e zones o f fo u n d a tio n

f a i l u r e s ; t h a t is to determ ine the lo c a tio n and s e v e r ity o f the problem ,

(2 ) to d is c o v e r the causes o f the f a i l u r e s , e s p e c ia lly t h e i r r e l a t i o n ­

ship to th e g e o lo g ic a l environm ent, and (3 ) to recommend en g in eerin g

s o lu tio n s to the problem.

1
2

1 .2 Procedure

During th e summer o f 1968 the w r i t e r inspected o n e -s to ry

b u ild in g s in a s e le c te d 38 square m ile area o f Tucson. A ll observation s

were made from s tr e e ts and s id e w a lk s , except in the case o f a few vacant

houses. Each tim e a cracked b u ild in g was s p o tte d , i t s lo c a tio n and

degree o f damage was noted on an enlarged s e c tio n map c a r r ie d on a c l i p ­

board. The r e s u lts o f each d ay 's f i e l d s tu d ies were analyzed in an

atte m p t to d is c o v e r a geographical p a tte rn to the f a i l u r e s . No atte m p t

was made to c o r r e la t e th e p a tte rn s w ith any o th e r param eters u n t il the

e n t ir e survey was com pleted, thus in s u rin g an unbiased p ic tu re o f the

problem as i t occurs in e x is tin g s tr u c tu r e s .

1 .3 Previous Work

A s im ila r survey o f fo u n d a tio n f a ilu r e s in Tucson was made

by W. S. P l a t t in 1959. The b u ild in g d e n s ity was not as g re a t then as

now, nor did the c i t y e n t a il as much la n d .


2. GEOGRAPHY OF THE TUCSON BASIN

The en g in eer t r e a t in g an e a rth science problem must f i r s t be

f a m i l i a r w ith the p h ysical geography o f the area in which he is w orking.

He should a ls o be aware o f th e events in the g e o lo g ic past which have

produced th e p resen t landscape.

2.1 The Basin and Range Province

Tucson is lo c a te d in a reg io n c h a ra c te riz e d by la rg e mountain

ranges s e p a ra tin g broad, f l a t b as in s . T h is physiographic province is

a p t ly named th e Basin and Range, and i t covers most o f Nevada and Southern

A riz o n a , and p a rts o f C a li f o r n ia , U tah , New M exico, and Texas as seen in

F ig u re l b . Most o f th e reg io n is a r id o r s e m i-a r id .

The t r a d it i o n a l concept o f th e Basin and Range Province holds

t h a t huge mountain blocks were tra n s e c te d by high angle border f a u lt s

along which th ey have been u p lif t e d w ith re s p e c t to th e basins. As a

r e s u l t , fr o n ts o f basin ranges are very long and s t r a ig h t and r e f l e c t the

p o s itio n o f the f a u l t r a th e r than any in te r n a l s tr u c tu r e . F l a t ero s io n a l

su rfaces extending out in to th e basin from the mountains are c a lle d

pedim ents. G en tly slo p in g a l l u v i a l fans f i l l the b asin s. T h is s im p li­

f ie d concept has been challenged by Pashley (1966 ) w ith regard to the

Tucson Basin as w i l l be discussed in Chapter 4.

3
4

F ig u re l a . Cross S e ctio n Showing T r a d it io n a l Basin and Range C o n fig u ra­


t io n .

: w C o lu m b ia
V.*.". *.y * P la te au

Basin and Range


Province
Rocky
\ Mountains
\\" ;Y

.Colorado Plateau

OTUCSON

F ig u re lb . Map Showing G eologic Provinces o f th e Southwest.


5

2 .2 The Tucson Basin

The c i t y o f Tucson occupies the n o rth ern p a rt o f a ty p ic a l

basin about 30 m iles long and 13 m iles w ide. It is bordered on th e north

by the Santa C a ta lin a M ountains, on the west by the Tucson M ountains, on

the eas t by Tanque Verde Ridge and the Rincon M ountains, and on the south

by the Santa R ita and Empire M ountains. I t s p r in c ip le drainage is the

Santa Cruz R iv e r which r is e s in M exico, crosses the border f iv e m ile s

e a s t o f Nogales, and flow s north 65 m iles to Tucson. From Tucson the

Santa Cruz flow s northw est u n t i l i t meets the G ila R iv e r southwest o f

Phoenix. Drainage w ith in the basin is provided by the in t e r m it t e n t

R i11i t o Creek and i t s two t r i b u t a r i e s , Tanque Verde Hash and Pantano

Wash. These streams c lo s e ly p a r a lle l th e basin fro n ts to c o lle c t r u n o ff

from the ranges. Annual p r e c ip it a t io n is about 10 inches on the basin

f lo o r and about 30 inches near the top o f the C a ta lin a s . W ith in th e

b a s in , stream development is poor due to scanty r a i n f a l l , small g ra d ie n ts ,

and the high p e rm e a b ility o f the upper basin f i l l .

2 .3 Geology o f the Ranges

The C a ta lin a , Tanque V erd e, and Rincon Mountains are com­

posed m ain ly o f a f o li a t e d g n e is s , p re v io u s ly b e lie v e d to have had a

Precambrian beg in n in g . The gneiss is banded and gives evidence t h a t i t s

source was cnce a s t r a t i f i e d sequence a t the s u rface o f th e e a r th .

Another strong argument f o r a sedim entary o r ig in o f the rock is la y e rs

o f m arble w ith in the g n e is s , which a re in te r p r e te d as remnants o f lim e ­

stone beds which su rvived those metamorphic processes from which the
6

gneiss was c re a te d . The age o f the o r ig in a l sediments is not known, but

potassium -argon d a tin g in d ic a te s t h a t u p l i f t had proceeded to a p o in t

t h a t metamorphism ceased by Upper O ligocene or Lower Miocene tim e .

An im p o rtan t s tr u c tu r a l fe a tu r e o f the C a ta lin a Gneiss is the

fo ld in g . Pashley i d e n t if ie d a s e rie s o f " la rg e p a r a l l e l , west tre n d in g ,

doubly plunging a n t ic lin e s and s y n c lin e s " and suggested t h a t these fo ld s

played an im p ortan t p a r t in the physiography o f the range. A t depth

th e gneiss d is p la y s l in e a t i o n , f o l i a t i o n , and f o ld s . A t sh allo w er depths

fo ld in g took place but i t was not conducive to lin e a tio n s .

The Tucson Mountains are composed m ostly o f Mesozoic and P aleo­

zo ic sedim entary rocks capped by T e r t ia r y v o lc a n ic u n it s . B a s a lt,

a n d e s ite , r h y o l i t e , and t u f f l i e conform ably above a complex o f blocky

boulders in a massive sandstone m a trix c a lle d th e Chaos Form ation. T h is

u n it was b e lie v e d by H o ra tio Brown to be th e r e s u lt o f an o v e rth r u s t,

but more re c e n t in v e s tig a to r s b e lie v e t h a t v o lc a n ic a c t i v i t y in th e

E a rly T e r t ia r y deposited the Chaos Member over th e Mesozoic sedim ents.

2 .4 The Basin F i l l

The s o -c a lle d "basement" in the Tucson Basin r e f e r s to th e

c o n ta c t between the very old igneous and metamorphic rocks and the

T e r t ia r y sediments which f i l l e d the basin during and a f t e r the Basin

and Range orogeny. M elton describes th re e sedim entary u n its common to

n e a rly a l l basins in Southern A riz o n a . The o ld e s t u n it l i e s unconform-

a b ly above the p r e - T e r t ia r y basement. In the Tucson B asin , these beds

are c a lle d th e R i11i t o Group (a ls o the Pantano Form ation on the e a s t


7

slopes) and c o n s is t o f a t h ic k s e c tio n o f c la s t ic c o n tin e n ta l m a te ria l

which has been h ig h ly deformed. Above th e R i l l i t o Form ation are the

T e r t ia r y and Q uaternary Basin F i l l sedim ents. These undeformed a l lu v ia l

fa n d e p o sits are th e products o f ra p id mechanical w eathering during the

cold stages asso ciated w ith the l a s t two periods o f g la c ia t io n . The

t h ir d u n it is th e l a t e P le is to c e n e and re c e n t a llu v iu m found as in n e r

v a lle y f i l l along streams or as a l l u v i a l fans along the p rese n t mountain

f r o n ts .

Beneath the c i t y o f Tucson sedim entary d ep o sits are on the o rd er

o f 2000 f e e t t h ic k . M agnetic and g r a v it y geophysical work compiled by

R. K. Davis (1967) in d ic a te s t h a t the basement depth reaches 7000 f e e t

in lo c a tio n s south o f th e c i t y (see F ig u re 2 ) . South o f the c i t y is a

basement scarp tre n d in g n o rth e a s t and crossing Black Mountain and D a v is -

Monthan A ir Force Base. Below th e scarp a llu v iu m thickn ess increases to

over 5000 f e e t . This depth p r e v a ils f o r about 15 m iles to th e v i c i n i t y

o f H e lv e tia Road where th e Sawmill Canyon f a u l t zone probably cuts the

basin f l o o r . South o f t h is f a u l t the basin f lo o r r is e s to meet th e

Santa R ita M ountains.

Broad basement slopes a re in te r p r e te d as pediments c u t on the

igneous or metamorphic m a t e r ia l. On the e a s t s id e o f th e Tucson Mount­

a in s , a smooth g r a v it y g ra d ie n t has been found, but r a th e r than a

pedim ent, i t has been a t tr ib u t e d to a spreading v o lc a n ic p i le i n t e r -

bedded w ith more and more a l l u v i a l m a te ria ls as one proceeds toward the

c e n te r o f the b a s in . South o f Black Mountain is a graben which may

a lso be f i l l e d w ith v o lc a n ic s .
8

iu C S O N

4 Mite*

’ 11 i - ________________ (from R» ^
Basement Depth Contour Map o f th e Tucson Basin
Figure 2
D a v is ).
3. INVESTIGATION OF FOUNDATION PROBLEMS IN TUCSON

It is common knowledge among engineers and c o n tra c to rs in Tucson

t h a t houses and small b u ild in g s in c e r ta in sec tio n s o f the c i t y seem

in v a r ia b ly to develop fo u n d a tio n f a ilu r e s r e s u ltin g in cracked w a lls ,

broken p la s t e r , and warped doors and windows. In o th e r areas a le s s e r

degree o f damage is re p o rte d , w h ile s t i l l o th e r areas seem to p resen t no

problems a t a l l . In o rd er to begin an a lyzin g p o s s ib le causes and cures

f o r th e problem i t is necessary to know both the lo c a tio n s and the

degree o f fo u n d a tio n f a il u r e s in the small b u ild in g s o f Tucson.

3.1 E x p la n atio n o f Terms

Three c la s s if ic a t io n s are used to denote in t e n s it y o f

fo u n d atio n f a i l u r e s : s tro n g , m oderate, and l i g h t . These terms r e f l e c t

a valu e judgment o f th e au th o r and re p re s e n t both the number o f b u ild ­

ings w ith fo u n d a tio n problems in an area and the magnitude o f those

problems. Since b u ild in g d e n s ity v a r ie s w ith in the c i t y , percentages

r a th e r than a b s o lu te numbers o f f a il u r e s become th e c r i t e r i a f o r d e te r ­

m ining the c l a s s if ic a t io n to which an area belongs.

" L ig h t" in t e n s it y c h a ra c te riz e s an area o f n o tic e a b le but minor

b u ild in g crac ks. Less than h a lf o f the s tru c tu re s in th e area show any

problem a t a l l . Adobe b u ild in g s e x h ib it small cracks a d ja c e n t to door

and window s i l l s . B ric k b u ild in g s show h a i r li n e cracks in the m ortar

jo in ts . In a l l b u ild in g s one, or a t most tw o, cracks are v i s i b le in

9
10

th re e o u ts id e w a lls . A r c h ite c tu r a l damage in s id e these homes m ight i n ­

clude small p la s t e r c ra c k s , but these could be t o le r a te d or cheaply

r e p a ire d .

"Moderate" in t e n s it y describ es an area where more than h a lf th e

s tru c tu re s show fo u n d a tio n problem s. I t may be th a t n e a rly a l l o f the

b u ild in g s have the sm all problems described by the " lig h t " in t e n s it y

term or t h a t a few er number show a more severe problem.

"Strong" in t e n s it y denotes the areas o f the c i t y w ith the w orst

fo u n d a tio n problem . In these neighborhoods v i r t u a l l y a l l o f the s tru c ­

tu re s a re damaged and many to an u n s ig h tly degree. In adobe b u ild in g s ,

cracks run from the ground le v e l to the r o o f , even in w a lls which are

not com plicated by doors o r windows. In b r ic k b u ild in g s , cracks occur

across th e b ric k s them selves, or i f along m o rtar j o i n t s , wide d is p la c e ­

ments r e s u l t . Damage to the b u ild in g s is severe. Doors and windows

are warped so t h a t c lo s in g them is d i f f i c u l t . Floors a re fle x e d and

may even c o lla p s e . P la s te r and bathroom t i l e are broken and d is p la c e ­

ment cracks in w a lls are d i f f i c u l t and expensive to r e p a ir . Wooden ro o f

beams y ie ld and ro o fin g m a te ria l cra c k s , r e s u ltin g in leakag e. In ex­

treme cases pipes may be bent or even broken. The maintenance o f e n t ir e

b u ild in g s becomes an expensive nuisance.

3 .2 R esu lts o f In v e s tig a tio n

The area examined in clu d es th a t p a r t o f th e c i t y e a s t o f

the Southern P a c if ic R a ilro a d tr a c k s , south o f Wetmore Road, the R i l l i t o

R iv e r , and W rightstown Road, n o rth o f the c i t y l i m i t s , and west o f


n
H arrison Road. The r e s u lts arc shown in d e t a il on F igure 14 and on a

sm a lle r sc a le on F ig u re 3 . The p a tte rn shows t h a t the lo n g es t tre n d

roughly p a r a lle ls the R i l l i t o along F o rt Lowell Road. Near A1vernon Way

the p a tte rn s h if t s s l i g h t l y to the south and becomes more sev ere. East

o f Swan Road is a la rg e but disconnected p a tte r n . Another area o f ex­

te n s iv e fou n d atio n damage occurs between 22nd S tr e e t and Davis-Monthan

A ir Force Base. Between Randolph Park and th e r a i lr o a d , patches o f

moderate and severe f a i l u r e occur.

V i r t u a l l y no s e c tio n o f th e c i t y is e n t i r e ly f r e e from tr o u b le .

Even in new suburbs e a s t o f Pantano Wash a few cracks have been noted.

In many places in the c i t y , a h an d fu l! o f s e v e re ly cracked b u ild in g s are

surrounded by v a s t undisturbed a re a s . The r e s u lts o f th e in v e s tig a tio n

ra is e many questions as to the meaning o f the p a tte r n s .

3 .3 P o ssib le Explanations

I t must be remembered th a t the r e s u lts shown on F ig u re 3

are s t r i c t l y a re p re s e n ta tio n o f what is showing in s tru c tu re s above

ground l e v e l . Any a tte m p t to read s o il or g e o lo g ic a l param eters on th e

map must be done i n d i r e c t l y . The age o f b u ild in g s , the m a te r ia ls used,

and the types o f foundations v a rie s from one neighborhood to a n o th e r,

and o b vio u sly these fa c to r s would have im p o rtan t in flu e n c e on th e degree

o f fo u n d a tio n f a i l u r e observed.

The f i r s t r e a c tio n o f a homeowner to fo u n d a tio n tro u b le is to

blame the c o n tra c to r. He is l i k e l y to assume t h a t poor m a te ria ls were

used and improper b u ild in g procedures implemented in o rd er to c u t c o s ts .


Prince Rd \.\*

Gront R d"^

I Brpqdw oy <

intensity pattern of b u i l d i n g
fractures

STRONG MODERATE LIGHT

F ig u re 3 . Map Showing Areas o f Foundation F a ilu r e s in Tucson.


13

In in d iv id u a l cases t h is may be t r u e , but th e e x te n t o f foundation

damage in Tucson is so g re a t t h a t t h is can be ru le d out as the m ajor

cause. An e x c e lle n t example is provided by the severe area e a s t o f

G rant Road and A1vernon Way. These sectio n s have been developed l o t by

l o t on a random basis f o r a t le a s t 30 y e a rs . There are b r ic k , adobe,

and concrete block s tru c tu re s b u i l t by scores o f c o n tra c to rs and y e t

alm ost a l l b u ild in g s o f every age and type show some stages o f founda­

tio n f a i l u r e .

The en g in eer w i l l im m ediately answer t h a t the s tru c tu re s have

s e t t le d or have s u ffe re d some o th e r s o r t o f d i f f e r e n t i a l movement. Thus

th e s o il beneath the b u ild in g s becomes the fo c a l p o in t o f in v e s tig a tio n .

Too o fte n , however, the c i v i l en g in eer con fines h is in v e s tig a tio n s only

to the s i t e in q u e s tio n . Because the w eig h t o f a one s to ry b u ild in g is

so s m a ll, he considers o n ly the top few f e e t in the s o il p r o f i l e . His

view o f the e a rth and i t s s o il cover is t h a t o f a s t a t i c body which

a cts o n ly when acted upon. For a widespread problem such as in Tucson,

knowledge o f th e p h y sic al geography o f the area is not enough. The

n a tu ra l processes which have acted and are s t i l l a c tin g upon the e a rth

must be understood. To t h is a th o u g h tfu l c o n s id e ra tio n o f the e f f e c t o f

man's a c t i v i t i e s must be added in o rd er to suggest e x p la n a tio n s and

s o lu tio n s f o r g e o lo g ic a l en g in e erin g problems.


4. GEOLOGIC HISTORY OF THE TUCSON BASIN

The w r it e r who would a tte m p t an h is t o r ic a l n a r r a tiv e is u s u a lly

confronted w ith the problem o f determ in ing the p o in t in tim e his s to ry

began. The g eo lo g ic h is to r y o f Southern A rizona and o f the Tucson Basin

began w ith t h a t o f th e e a rth i t s e l f . O b vio u sly, the f a r t h e r back in

tim e one goes, the s k e tc h ie r is the evidence o f what took p la c e . For

t h is reason, l i t t l e is f a c t u a l ly known o f the e a rth b efo re the beginning

o f the P a leo zo ic E ra.

4.1 The P a leo zo ic Era

The geography o f North America and o f the e a rth during th e

P aleo zo ic bore no resemblance to t h a t o f to d ay. The P a leo zo ic geology

o f A rizona is open to many in t e r p r e t a t io n s , and as m ight be expected,

th e re is l i t t l e c e r t a in t y o r agreement even among e x p e rts . G eological

events o f t h is era have been overshadowed by more re c e n t happenings in

the Basin and Range Province and w i l l not be discussed h e re . In te re s te d

students are r e fe r r e d to W ils o n 's (1962 ) resume o f A rizona geology.

4 .2 The Mesozoic Era

The Mesozoic geology o f A rizona has been summarized by

W ilson. During the T r ia s s ic and J u ra s s ic , seas invaded Northw estern

A rizona and l a t e r p o s s ib ly the southwestern p a r t o f th e s t a t e . South­

e as te rn A rizo n a was the scene o f c ru s ta l d eform ation and th e in v a s io n

o f in tr u s iv e magmas accompanied by some v o lc a n ic e ru p tio n s . R a d io a c tiv e

14
15

d atin g by Damon, E rickso n , and L iv in g s to n (1962 ) in d ic a te s t h a t deep-

seated metamorphism began e a r ly in t h is era to produce th e C a ta lin a Gneiss.

During the J u ra s s ic Period the Nevadan Orogeny began w ith the

u p l i f t o f the C o r d ille r a n G eosynclinal b e lt . T h is tro u g h , f i l l e d m ostly

w ith v o lc a n ic d e b ris , extended from Canada through Washington, Oregon,

C a lif o r n ia , and M exico.

C ru s ta l i n s t a b i l i t y in Southern A rizo n a continued in to th e

Cretaceous P e rio d , as evidenced by the widespread occurrence o f igneous

rocks o f t h is age. Potassium -argon d a tin g in d ic a te s t h a t the e a r l i e s t

fo ld in g o f th e C a ta lin a Gneiss began a t t h is tim e . The area around

Tucson must have been a shallow basin as a succession o f non-marine

and near shore sediments are found in the Santa R ita M ountains. These

u n its may be e q u iv a le n t to Cretaceous sedim entary rocks in the Tucson

Mountains.

I t was during L ate Cretaceous tim e t h a t the L arim id e R e vo lu tio n

sig n aled the r is e o f the Rocky M ountains. Longwell (1950) in s is t s t h a t

f a u lt in g which shaped th e Basin and Range began a t t h is tim e , although

it is commonly held t h a t m ajor movements began in m id-Cenozoic tim e .

4 .3 The E a rly T e r t ia r y Period

The e a r ly T e r t ia r y p erio d was a tim e o f maximum warmth and

h u m id ity. P a leo b o tan ic al work compiled by Barghoorn (1951) in d ic a te s

th e re was a w orldw ide d is t r ib u t io n o f t r o p ic a l and s u b tro p ic a l f l o r a .

F o s s ils in Miocene sediments on th e S ie rra Nevada g iv e evidence o f a

deciduous f o r e s t whose maximum e le v a tio n could not have been more than
16

2500 f e e t . R a in f a ll must have been p l e n t if u l in Southern A riz o n a , as

the S ie r r a Nevada was s t i l l low enough to adm it abundant m oistu re from

the P a c if ic . A f t e r the Pal eocene Epoch th e re was a gradual low ering o f

tem perature on th e e a rth which continued in to the ic e ages o f the

P le is to c e n e . This caused t r o p ic a l f l o r a to r e t r e a t southward as the

p o la r region became c o o le r. As the mountains o f th e Far West slo w ly

rose and d e p o s itio n o f co a s ta l p la in sediments moved th e shores o f the

G u lf o f Mexico f u r t h e r outw ard, r a i n f a l l in th e Southwest became i n ­

c re a s in g ly less abundant.

4 .4 The Basin and Range Orogeny

By the beginning o f the O ligocene Epoch the Rocky Mountain

Orogeny had p r a c t i c a l ly d ied o u t. The lo w -ly in g Colorado P lateau was

a t ap p ro xim ately the same e le v a tio n as regions to the west and south.

During the l a t e O ligocene or e a r ly Miocene (2 0 -3 0 m illio n years b efo re

p rese n t) a s e rie s o f dynamic g e o lo g ic a l events began to occur. The

southern end o f the S ie r r a Nevada began to r i s e , causing th e c lim a te in

Southern A rizona to change from subhumid to s e m i-a rid by the m id-M iocene.

By th is tim e th e f a u lt in g which would shape the Basin and Range Province

was in f u l l o p e ra tio n . In the l a t e Miocene the u p l i f t o f th e Colorado

P lateau began, s ig n a lin g the s t a r t o f the c u ttin g o f the Grand Canyon.

During the l a t e O ligocene th e o ld e s t p o s t- T e r t ia r y sedim entary

beds were deposited in the Tucson B asin. T h is p re -o ro g e n ic u n i t , l i k e

the o ld e s t beds in many b as in s , is a h ig h ly deformed thickness o f con­

t in e n ta l sediments and v o lc a n ic s deposited during a tim e o f c ru s ta l


17

i n s t a b i l i t y and a subhumid c lim a te . In the Tucson Basin t h is u n it is

lo o s e ly c a lle d the R i l l i t o Beds. Pashley d iv id e s the R i l l i t o Beds in to

th re e u n its . R illito Bed I is the o ld e s t and l i e s unconformably above

the igneous and metamorphic basement. I t co n tain s alm ost no m a te ria l

d erived from th e C a ta lin a G neiss; presumably i t is the remnant o f those

u n its ly in g above the g n e is s . R illito Bed I is a f ir m ly cemented i n t e r -

bedded conglom erate, sandstone, and mudstone w ith occasional beds o f

gypsum and v o lc a n ic ash. The pebbles in clu d e v o lc a n ic ro c k , pink

g r a n it e , lim estone and q u a r t z it e . The absence o f C a ta lin a Gneiss pebbles

is c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f R i l l i t o Bed I .

By the m iddle Miocene the Basin and Range orogeny has s ta r te d .

G reat outpourings o f la v a and t u f f took place in th e north and west

p a rts o f the p ro vin ce . The metamorphism o f the C a ta lin a Gneiss was

complete and fo ld in g was w e ll underway when block f a u lt in g and u p l i f t

began. The S ie rra s were n e a rly 3000 f e e t high and soon the P a c if ic

Coast ranges would begin r is in g .

During th e orogeny the o th e r members o f th e R i l l i t o Group were

d e p o sited . R illito Bed I I is a m oderately cemented conglom erate w ith

le s s e r amounts o f interbedded sandstone. The percentage o f C a ta lin a

Gneiss is g r e a te r . R illito Bed I I I con tains p in k is h -g ra y sandy con­

glom erate but is dominated by C a ta lin a Gneiss peb bles. The in c re a s e in

gneiss pebbles in each successive member has been c ite d as evidence o f

slow u p l i f t o f the ranges and gradual uncovering o f th e C a ta lin a G neiss.

R i l l i t o Bed I is h ig h ly deformed and f a u lt e d , r e f le c t in g c ru s ta l move­

ment a f t e r d e p o s itio n . R illito Beds I I and I I I are but m oderately


18

tilte d and deformed and show evidence o f ra p id d e p o s itio n under a hot

s e m i-a rid c lim a te . By the tim e bed I I I was deposited the cover o f

v o lc a n ic s and o th e r rocks above th e C a ta lin a Gneiss was removed. Pebble

com position and d is t r ib u t io n o f sediments in bed I I I in d ic a te s th a t the

streams were o r ig in a tin g in th e C a ta lin a , Tanque V erd e, and Rincon

M ountains.

The mechanism causing th e C a ta lin a , Rincon, and Tanque Verde

Mountains to r is e is in doubt. The e s ta b lis h e d concept holds t h a t the

C a ta lin a s were u p lif t e d along a s e rie s o f e a s t-w e s t tre n d in g normal

border f a u l t s . McCullough (1963 ) b e lie v e s these mountains were formed

as the r e s u lt o f a complex v e r t ic a l movement. The s tru c tu re in the

mountains is d escribed as a s e rie s o f lobes which are the r e s u lt o f

doming caused by re le a s e o f h ea t along f r a c t u r e in te r s e c tio n s . This

doming began not e a r l i e r than L a te P a le o z o ic , but n ot l a t e r than Lower

Miocene.

Pashley does not co n sid er th e id ea o f doming, but in s is ts th a t

the physiography o f the ranges is r e la te d to the fo ld s in the g n e iss .

He described a s e rie s o f " la rg e p a r a lle l w est-southw est tre n d in g , doubly

plunging a n t ic lin e s and s y n c lin e s " and showed t h a t topographic highs

were in the axes o f the a n t ic lin e s and topographic lows co incided w ith

th e axes o f th e s y n c lin e s . Of g r e a te r co n tro ve rs y is the mode o f d is ­

placem ent. Pashley claim s th a t th e re were two movements. The f i r s t ,

in m id -T e r tia r y tim e , co n sisted m ain ly o f fo ld in g and th r u s t f a u lt in g

which e le v a te d the C a ta lin a , Tanque V erd e, and Rincon Mountains to g ive

the basin i t s p resen t c o n fig u r a tio n . T h is was fo llo w e d by erosion and


19

d e p o s itio n o f the R i l l i t o Beds. A second movement in the la t e T e r t ia r y

or e a r ly Q uaternary re s u lte d in normal f a u lt in g and was resp o n sib le f o r

the s l ig h t amount o f fo ld in g and f a u lt in g in the R i l l i t o Beds I I and

III.

Some w r it e r s b e lie v e t h a t th r u s t f a u lt in g is im possible because

the re g io n a l s tre s s p a tte r n was t h a t o f ten sio n r a th e r than compression.

T h ru s tin g during the m id -T e r tia r y was p re v io u s ly used to e x p la in the

Tucson Mountain Chaos Member in which boulders o f P a leo zo ic rock in a

sandstone m a trix l i e above the L a te Cretaceous Amole Arkose. I t is now

b e lie v e d by Mayo (1966 ) t h a t the chaos was emplaced by masses o f r is in g

a n d e s itic magma. P o s itiv e p ro o f o f th r u s t f a u lt in g in the Tucson Basin

is la c k in g , and most g e o lo g is ts accept normal f a u lt in g as the mechanism

f o r u p l i f t o f the ranges in th e a re a .

4 .5 P ost-O rogenic A c t i v i t i e s in the Tucson Basin

Im m ediately a f t e r the u p l i f t o f the mountain blocks p e d i-

m entation began on th e slopes o f the C a ta lin a , Tanque V erde, and Rincon

M ountains. T h is p o o rly understood process occurs in areas o f scant

r a i n f a l l on slopes t h a t y i e l d e a s ily to w e a th erin g . Pediments a re ero ­

sion slopes c u t across bedrock and are u s u a lly veneered w ith a l lu v ia l

and re s id u a l g r a v e l. The continuous apron o f a l l u v i a l fans w hich, along

w ith the pedim ent, make up the piedmont slope o f a range is c a lle d a

b ajada. Pediments meet the mountain slope a t a d i s t i n c t angle r a th e r

than g e n tly slo p in g as in th e case o f a l l u v i a l fa n s . The pediment on

the C a ta lin a Mountains tru n c a te s both th e gneiss and th e deformed


20

T e r t ia r y sedim ents. The manner in which pediments develop has not been

c le a r ly determ ined but they are described as bedrock surfaces over which

products from r e t r e a t in g mountain fro n ts are tra n s p o rte d to the b asin s.

The M iddle P lio cen e saw a c lim a te o f g r e a te r a r i d i t y but m ild e r

tem peratures than e x is t today. During th is p erio d the a n c e s tra l d r a in ­

age in the Tucson Basin seemed to be blocked, p o s s ib ly as a r e s u lt o f

v o lc a n ic outpourings near the northw est co rn er o f the b a s in . In the

c e n tra l basin a body o f sand, s i l t , and gravel were deposited in an g u lar

unconform ity over the r e c e n tly deformed R i l l i t o Beds. These sediments

are c a lle d the basin f i l l dep o sits and were d e riv e d to a g re a t e x te n t

from the R i l l i t o Form ation.

During the m iddle and L a te P lio cen e and E a rly P le is to c e n e n e a rly

a l l o f the basins in the eas te rn p a r t o f the province were the scenes

o f la rg e standing bodies o f w a te r. I t is c e r ta in t h a t lakes occupied

basins around S a ffo rd and H i11 cox, but i t is b e lie v e d by M elton th a t

lakes were not p resen t in the E lo y , S a lt R iv e r , and o th e r Western A rizona

basins. It is not c e r ta in where the westernmost edge o f the la k e b e lt

la y . Although i t has n ot been e s ta b lis h e d t h a t th e re were any la rg e

lakes in the Tucson B asin , some d ep osits o f uniform sand and s i l t in

the basin f i l l seem to have a la c u s tr in e c h a ra c te r. Lakes were p l e n t i ­

f u l in the Basin and Range u n t il th e m iddle P lio c e n e . By t h is tim e th e

c lim a te in Southern A rizona was very d ry , but c o ld e r than now. By l a t e

P liocene the w ater a v a ila b le f o r lakes became ve ry scarce and evapora­

tio n began to exceed rep len ish m en t. Today s a l t la y e rs in basin f i l l s

g ive evidence o f these a n c ie n t la k e bottoms.


21

4 .6 The P le is to c e n e Epoch

The s a l i e n t fe a tu r e o f the P le is to c e n e Epoch, which includes

the p resent day, is the ic e ages. The P le is to c e n e began between one and

two m illio n years ago as a r e s u lt o f worldwide co o lin g c lim a te s and the

accompanying fo rm a tio n o f la r g e ic e sh eets. Four tim es g la c ia t io n ad­

vanced and r e tr e a te d across North Am erica. Although none o f the g la c ia ­

tio n s ever reached as f a r south as A riz o n a , the extreme c lim a te s played

a p a r t in the physiography o f the Basin and Range.

During the tim es o f maximum g la c ia l advance so much o f the w o rld 's

w ater was locked up in th e ic e sheets t h a t sea le v e l was about 400 f e e t

lower than i t is to d ay. Thus, th e d is ta n c e from the Tucson Basin to the

source o f w a te r f o r p r e c ip it a t io n (th e P a c if ic Ocean and the G u lf o f

M exico) were g r e a t ly in c re a s e d . Thus, th e ic e ages in A rizo n a were very

cold and ve ry d ry . The la k e s in th e e as te rn basins became in c re a s in g ly

in t e r m it t e n t and b efo re the beginning o f the t h ir d g la c ia l advance, they

became e x t in c t . The t h ir d and fo u r th g la c ia l stages (th e I l l i n o i a n and

Wisconsin G la c ia tio n s ) were tim es o f f r i g i d tem p eratu res, f r o s t a c tio n ,

and ra p id mechanical w eatherin g in th e Basin and Range. I t was during

t h is tim e th a t the Q uaternary te r ra c e d ep osits were l a i n disconform ably

over the a l l u v i a l basin f i l l d e p o s its . A t some tim e during t h is perio d

th e darning o f th e a n c e s tra l d rain ag e in the Tucson Basin was ended,

probably as a r e s u lt o f the flo o d s caused by m e ltin g ic e and snow on

th e h ig h er m ountains. A t the clo se o f th e W isconsin Age (p o s s ib ly

2 0 ,0 0 0 yea rs ago) the sedim ent supply increased g r e a t ly , and the maximum
h e ig h t o f the basin f i l l was reached. R a in f a ll was c y c lic and during

the very dry s p e lls , the th re e or fo u r c a lic h e zones were developed

beneath the t o p s o il.

4 .7 Recent G eologic H is to ry

The l a s t two or th re e thousand years have been a tim e o f

erosion and d eg radation in the Tucson B asin. Four cycles o f erosion

and d e p o s itio n are recognized in the basin and th ey a re expressed in the

form o f te rra c e s c u t in the Q uaternary f i l l . The o ld e s t and h ig h es t

te r ra c e is th e U n iv e r s ity T e rra c e whose s u rfa c e may re p re s e n t th e top

o f the o r ig in a l v a lle y f i l l . The d ep o sits on the younger te rra c e s (th e

Cemetery T e rra c e , Jaynes Bench, and the Bottom land) c o n s is t o f re c e n t

fill, as they were b u i l t by excavatio n fo llo w e d by d e p o s itio n . Each

trough is narrow er and s h a llo w e r than the one b e fo re .

A t the beginning o f th e e ro s io n a l p e rio d R i l l i t o Creek was 1 - 1 /4

m ile south o f i t s p re s e n t p o s itio n . During th e f i r s t c y c le th e basin

stream s, which must have c a r r ie d a g re a te r r u n o ff than now, carved the

Cemetery T e rra c e and deposited th e s o il which caps i t . Follo w ing the

Cemetery d e p o s it, th e streams c u t Jaynes Bench in the deeper f i l l , as the

R i l l i t o m ig rated northw ard. T h is same c y c le was repeated to form the

flo o d p la in in which th e R i l l i t o and Santa Cruz R ivers flo w today.

The s o ils deposited on th e te r r a c e s , p a r t ic u la r l y on the two

most re c e n t ones, deserve s p e c ia l a t t e n t io n . They a re o fte n composed

o f uniform s i l t which is h e a v ily o rg a n ic . These s o ils were deposited

in such a way t h a t they have an u n u s u a lly low d e n s ity and t h e i r unique

s tru c tu re allo w s them to decrease in volume by as much as one t h ir d


23

under c e r ta in c o n d itio n s o f lo ad in g and s a tu r a tio n . These s o ils belong

to a group lo o s e ly c la s s if ie d as " c o lla p s in g s o ils ."

The l a s t chapter in the g eo lo g ic h is to r y o f th e Basin and Range

was w r it t e n by man. In th e m id -n in e te e n th cen tu ry ranchers a r r iv in g

from the e a s t found Southern A rizona covered w ith sacaton grass. T his

p la n t w ith i t s th ic k in te r tw in in g ro o t system kept the top f o o t o f s o il

m oist most o f th e y e a r. R e a liz in g t h a t the sacaton grass is superb

g razing m a te ria l f o r c a t t l e , the ranchers brought thousands o f stock to

the unfenced w ild e rn e s s . By the tu rn o f the cen tu ry the sacaton grass

was v i r t u a l l y gone as a r e s u lt o f ove rg ra zin g and m esquite, b lack brush,

and creosote bush had taken i t s p la c e . These new p la n ts do not have the

ro o t systems needed to p ro te c t the s o il from e ro s io n , thus g u lly in g has

been a problem in the Southwest ever s in c e . These g u llie s or arroyos

are e s p e c ia lly ap t to form in the re c e n t beds where the c o lla p s in g char­

a c te r o f the s o il aid s the process; but they c u t in to o ld e r v a lle y f i l l

as w e ll , p o s s ib ly fo llo w in g fra c tu re s in c a lic h e la y e r s .

Today man continues to tamper w ith h is g e o lo g ic environm ent.

The r e s u lts a re not always p le a s a n t and are seldom expected. The w ide­

spread occurrence o f fo u n d atio n f a il u r e s in Tucson is a case in p o in t.


5. INFLUENCE OF GEOLOGY AMD HYDROLOGY ON FRACTURE PATTERNS

What causes fo u n d a tio n fa ilu r e s ? I t is c e r ta in t h a t su b -su rface

co n d itio n s must p lay a r o le . G eologic fa c to rs c o n trib u tin g to the prob­

lem may be c o lla p s in g s o il a t the s u rfa c e , te c to n ic a c t i v i t y , and basin

subsidence due to groundwater d e p le tio n . Thus, the en g in eerin g prop­

e r t ie s o f the s o il and rock in th e Tucson Basin should be considered in

an attem p t to c o r r e la te them w ith the fou n d atio n f r a c tu r e p a tte rn s .

5.1 Role o f T e rra c e Deposits

The w eig ht o f a one s to ry b u ild in g has l i t t l e e f f e c t on

most s o ils , and the in flu e n c e o f t h is e x tra load dim inishes r a p id ly w ith

depth. For example, assume a house has dimensions o f 40 by 60 f e e t and

weighs 100 tons. I f the fo o tin g s are 18 inches w id e , the load is tra n s ­

m itte d to the s o il over 290 square f e e t . This is e q u iv a le n t to


2000 X 100
690 pounds per square fo o t o r 4 .8 pounds per square
290
in c h . Using a Boussinesq a n a ly s is f o r a long fo u n d a tio n in a s e m i - i n f i ­

n it e homogeneous is o tr o p ic e l a s t ic s o lid (which is an in e x a c t but

acceptable s u b s titu te in the case o f s o i l ) i t can be c a lc u la te d th a t

the in crease in s tre s s th re e f e e t d i r e c t ly below th e s u rfa c e is 1 /3 the

uniform fo u n d atio n pressure or 1 .6 p s i. Twelve f e e t beneath the s u rface

the e f f e c t o f th e surcharge is to in crease the pressure by b ut 0 .0 8

tim es the surcharge load or 0 .4 p s i.

24
25

I t is obvious t h a t the w eig h t o f a one s to ry b u ild in g causes

s ig n if ic a n t s tre s s in crease in o n ly the top few f e e t o f the s o i l . Thus,

the f i r s t suspect in seeking an e x p la n a tio n f o r fo u n d atio n f a ilu r e s is

the s u r f ic ia l s o il. U n fo r tu n a te ly , a thorough study o f the eng in eerin g

p ro p e rtie s o f the s u rfa c e s o ils in Tucson does n ot e x is t ; in d eed , such

an u nd ertaking would r e q u ire enormous tim e and la b o r . The o n ly s o il map

o f Tucson which is c u r r e n tly in use is Young's (1931) s o il map. Young

separated s o il u n its on the basis o f t h e i r a g r ic u ltu r a l c h a r a c te r is tic s

and these may or may not be r e la te d to the en g in e erin g p r o p e rtie s .

Young d id , however, a s s o c ia te s o il types w ith the va rio u s t e r ­

races in the c i t y . F ig u re 4 shows the f r a c t u r e p a tte rn superimposed on

a map o f th e te r r a c e s . I t is c le a r t h a t most o f the damage, e s p e c ia lly

the severe damage, occurs on the Cemetery T e rra c e . F a ilu re s are present

on the lim ite d p o rtio n o f Jaynes Bench covered by the su rvey, but the

U n iv e rs ity T e rra c e is f r e e o f a l l but s c a tte re d l i g h t c ra c k in g .

I t is not p o s s ib le to s ta te in the absence o f te s ts th a t s o ils

on th e U n iv e r s ity T e rra c e p rovide s tro n g e r fo u n d a tio n m a te ria l than those

on the o th e r te r r a c e s . The Cemetery T e rra c e encompasses a g r e a te r por­

tio n o f the c i t y and in clu d es more o f the re c e n t sm all c o n s tru c tio n .

Moreover many areas on the Cemetery T e rra c e are not plagued w ith founda­

tio n f a i l u r e s .

The s o ils capping the younger te rra c e s do, however, f a l l in to an

eng ineering c la s s i f ic a t i o n d i f f e r e n t from t h a t o f the U n iv e r s ity T e rra c e

s o ils . The U n iv e r s ity T e rra c e c o n ta in s , f o r the most p a r t , p r e -c o n s o li-

dated s o ils w h ile those on th e th re e d e p o s itio n a l te rra c e s are n orm ally


F igure 4.

W e f m ore Rd
Tucson (T erraces by G. Sm ith, 1 9 3 8 ).
Map Showing F ra c tu re P a tte rn Superimposed on Terraces in

P r in c e fid

Speedway <J

— o
LEGEND

Bottomland
Broadway <

Joynes Bench

22nd St

Cemetery Terrace

University Terrace 36 th St
27

c o n so lid ated s o i l s . The term p re -c o n s o lid a te d r e fe r s to a s o il which

once bore a h e a v ie r load than i t does under i t s p resen t overburden p res­

su re. I t is a s o il which has been unloaded, p o s s ib ly as the r e s u lt o f

e ro s io n , g la c ia l a c tio n , or man-made e x c a v a tio n . In the case o f the

U n iv e rs ity T e rra c e , i t is l i k e l y t h a t several f e e t o f s o il have been

removed by sheet e ro s io n , because la rg e numbers o f boulders and cobbles

seem to have been l e f t behind as the s m a lle r p a r t ic le s washed away.

I f s ix f e e t o f s o il weighing 130 pounds per cubic fo o t have been

removed, th e s u rfa c e s o il has been p re -c o n s o lid a te d to a load o f 690 p s f ,

which was the load on our h y p o th e tic a l fo o t in g . Thus, we would not

expect the b u ild in g to s e t t l e much sin ce the s o il was once c o n so lid ated

under an e q u iv a le n t lo a d . (The s o il would have experienced p a r t ia l r e ­

bound fo llo w in g the e r o s io n .) Although i t is not known whether any s o il

in Tucson has experienced such a heavy p re -c o n s o lid a tio n load ( t h is

could be determ ined e x p e rim e n ta lly by c o rre c tin g c o n s o lid a tio n curves

by the Schmertmann M ethod), any amount o f p re -c o n s o lid a tio n would a c t as

a hedge a g a in s t s e ttle m e n t. Thus, we should not be s u rp ris e d to fin d

few er fo u n d a tio n problems on the U n iv e r s ity T e rra c e .

Most o f th e s o ils on the o th e r te rra c e s are norm ally c o n s o lid a te d ;

t h a t i s , th ey have never been under a g re a te r lo a d . Many o f these s o ils

were dep osited in a w ate r d e f ic ie n t environm ent and have uncommon

s tr u c tu r e s . Cohesionless s i l t s and f in e sands which s e t t l e out o f s t i l l

w ater o fte n have low er d e n s itie s due to an u n s ta b le honeycombed s tr u c tu r e .

S o ils such as these are l i k e l y to exp erien ce c o n s o lid a tio n when a load is

placed on them. S tru c tu re s placed on these te rra c e s are more s u s c e p tib le

to s e ttle m e n t.
28

In r e a l i t y , th e c o r r e la t io n between te rra c e s and s o il co n d itio n s

is more com plicated than has been presented h e re . During the process o f

development in Tucson th e re has been a g re a t deal o f c u t and f i l l in

o rd er to p ro vid e the g e n tle r slopes d es ired in an urban a re a . Man-made

fill cannot always be re c o g n ize d , and since i t s degree o f c o n s o lid a tio n

is unknown ( i t is probably s m a ll) , f i l l presents a problem. On the o th e r

hand, cu t surfaces are more s ta b le because t h e i r s o ils a re p re -c o n s o lid a te d .

5 .2 Role o f C o lla p s in g S o il

Many s o ils in the Southwest e x h ib it such a p p re c ia b le loss

o f volume upon w e ttin g and loading th a t they are c a lle d " c o lla p s in g

s o i l s ." They are a common phenomena among re c e n t d ep o sits in a r id and

s e m i-a rid c lim a te s . C o lla p s in g s o ils can have vario u s s tr u c tu r e s , but

are g e n e r a lly described as c o n s is tin g o f lo o s e ly packed g ra in s held

to g e th e r by c la y b in d e rs , cementing agents, s u rface te n s io n , and

p o s s ib ly e l e c t r o l y t i c bonds. The processes by which these s o ils are

deposited a re p o o rly understood, but tra n s p o rt in the w ate r d e f ic ie n t

environm ent must p la y a m ajor p a r t .

S o p h is tic a te d experim ents a re c u r r e n tly being conducted to d e te r ­

mine the m icroscopic s tr u c tu r e o f some c o lla p s in g s o ils . In the f i e l d it

is not always p o s s ib le to know whether a s o il is o f th e c o lla p s in g

v a r ie t y or n o t, even a f t e r s o il te s ts have been made. Two c lu e s , how­

e v e r, are d e n s ity and A tte rb e rg L im its . Because a c o lla p s in g s o il must

have a high void r a t i o , i t s dry d e n s ity is low er than norm al. S o il den­

s i t i e s have been recorded as low as 80 pounds per cubic f o o t , but any

f ig u r e below 120 p cf should arouse su s p ic io n .


29

A tte rb e rg L im its are values o f m o istu re co n ten t o f a s o il as i t

passes from one p hysical stage to an o th e r. The liq u id l i m i t (LL) gives

an in d ic a tio n o f th e w ater co n ten t above which the s o il becomes a viscous

l iq u i d . The p la s t ic l i m i t is an in d ic a tio n o f the w ate r co n ten t a t which

a s o il w i l l deform but not crack when s tre s s e d . The p l a s t i c i t y index

gives th e range o f w a te r contents through which a s o il is p l a s t ic ; i t is

the d iffe r e n c e between the LL and the PL.

From these param eters i t is p o s s ib le to deduce many th in g s about

a s o il. A c o lla p s in g s o il w i l l o fte n have a low LL and a sm all P I. T his

suggests th a t a sm all in c re a s e in w ate r co n ten t can cause a s o il to go

from i t s normal s ta te to a viscous l i q u i d , p r a c t i c a l ly bypassing the

p la s t ic s t a t e . A s l ig h t drop in the w ater co n ten t then causes the s o il

mass to become r ig id a g a in .

A ll s o ils c o n s o lid a te when loaded; some more than o th e rs . The

term " c o lla p s in g s o il" is reserved f o r those s o ils which do so most

s p e c ta c u la r ly . Many ve ry com pressible s o ils are found in the a r id

Southwest. A general r u le seems to be t h a t the younger the d e p o s it, the

more l i k e l y the s o il is o f the c o lla p s in g ty p e . The most v iv id example

in Tucson is a s u b d iv is io n e a s t o f S ilv e r b e ll Road and n o rth o f El Rio

Country Club. T h is developm ent, which is o u ts id e the re g io n o f the

su rvey, is on the Bottom land, and co n tains the most d is a s tro u s founda­

tio n f a ilu r e s in th e c i t y . Many homes have cracked so badly t h a t they

have had to be abandoned. S o il te s ts (A tte rb e rg l i m i t s , c o n s o lid a tio n ,

f i e l d d e n s ity , and d is p e rs io n ) run by g e o lo g ic a l en g in e erin g students

have shown th a t these houses were b u i l t on a sandy s i l t which appears


30

very fir m when d ry , but exp erien ces tremendous c o lla p s e under a combina­

t io n o f w e ttin g and lo a d in g . A p p a re n tly , the a d d itio n o f w ate r acts to

break the bonds which hold the lo o s e ly packed g ra in s to g e th e r. I f the

s o il is stressed or v ib r a te d a t t h is tim e the s tr u c tu r e may be destroyed

by c o lla p s e .

S o ils o f the c o lla p s in g v a r ie t y are l i k e l y to be found anywhere

in the c i t y , although not a l l may e x h ib it such extreme c o n s o lid a tio n as

the one j u s t d e s c rib e d . Undoubtedly, some o f the fo u n d a tio n f a ilu r e s are

r e la te d to t h is phenomena. I t is t h is w r i t e r 's b e l i e f , however, t h a t the

lo n g er a s u r f i c i a l s o il has been exposed, th e more l i k e l y i t has become

s ta b le . This is because lo n g er exposure to the elements o f n atu re would

a llo w e it h e r more o p p o rtu n itie s f o r the s o il s tru c tu re to d e n s ity or

g re a te r tim e f o r th e bonds which hold the u n s ta b le g ra in s to g e th e r to

stre n g th e n . On the basis o f e m p iric a l o b servatio n s th e n , a general r u le

m ight s ta te t h a t th e younger the s o il d e p o s it, the g r e a te r the danger o f

fo u n d a tio n problems.

5 .3 Role o f C a lic h e

C a lic h e is a common occurrence in th e s o il p r o f ile s o f the

s e m i-a rid Southwest. I t c o n s is ts o f sand and s i l t cemented w ith calcium

carbonate which has been dep osited by the p e rc o la tio n o f subsurface

w a te r. S tudies show t h a t c a lic h e forms a t the bottom o f the c a p illa r y

zone and proceeds upward. It is b e lie v e d by some in v e s tig a to r s t h a t th e

10 inches o f annual r a i n f a l l which the basin now re c e iv e s is not conducive

to the development o f c a lic h e ; t h a t the p rese n t la y e rs must have formed


31

during more a r id p e rio d s . The depth and th ickn ess o f c a lic h e v a rie s

w id e ly in th e Tucson B asin. In atte m p tin g to unravel the b a s in 's

s tr a tig r a p h y , Robert S t r e i t z examined hundreds o f w e ll logs kept by the

U n iv e r s ity o f A riz o n a 's Department o f A g r ic u ltu r a l E n g in e erin g . From

these he made an isopachous map o f th e c a lic h e la y e r which is shown on

F ig u re 5 . The f r a c t u r e p a tte rn is superimposed on t h is map.

I t would seem t h a t sin ce c a lic h e is as hard as many types o f

bedrock (ask any c o n tra c to r who must excavate i t ) t h a t i t s presence

would reduce the p r o b a b ilit y o f d i f f e r e n t i a l s e ttle m e n t, e s p e c ia lly i f

t h a t s e ttle m e n t is th e r e s u lt o f deep-seated c o n d itio n s . F ig u re 5 does

not bear t h is o u t. The severe area southwest o f 22nd S tr e e t and

C ra y c ro ft l i e s above th ic k c a lic h e , w h ile t h a t near G rant and A1vernon

has l i t t l e . The l i g h t crackin g on the U n iv e r s ity T e rra c e corresponds

w ith t h in c a lic h e . A p p a re n tly fo u n d a tio n f a il u r e s are in no way r e la te d

to the c a lic h e .

5 .4 Role o f Ground Water D e p le tio n

S o il is a th re e phase m a t e r ia l; i t co n tain s m a tte r in th e

s o lid , l i q u i d , and gaseous s t a te s . The volume o f a s o il mass c o n sis ts

o f th e s o lid m in eral p a r t ic le s and the in t e r s t ic e s (o r v o id s ) which con­

t a in a i r or w a te r or bo th . The pore w ate r has a g re a t in flu e n c e on the

s tre n g th p ro p e rtie s o f a s o i l .

I f the voids a re but p a r t i a l l y f i l l e d w ith w a te r, as in the s o il

zone above the w ate r t a b le , th e m o le c u la r a t t r a c t io n a t the boundaries

o f the th re e phases g iv e r is e to s u rface te n s io n . T h is fo rc e acts p a r a lle l


1
FORT LOWELL RD
VUiN1VUr< UN1c.r\YAL lUhtfcLi
C" — ^ 20 / ^
/ -------- ' io- < — 1 MILE-^
C ^ -O -
GRANT RD rw w h z^T) Z^X
- x l0 5 ^
y / (
C > \
r - - j
l t
\ \

L
U /

/ » -

BROADWAY V
J TO" \^ 5 0

K / 1
V
ND ST ^ ^ ~ 3 0 kj

1
22 1 -To-- ^ . ^
_____ 4 0 <Z k > LU

' ^ 5b H ^ c
laJ 60 w " x \ { o
5 h-
~V
H Z)
(f) to
/ I \o V <5 1 1 V I i 4 i M S

F ig u re 5. Isopacheous Map Showing C a lic h e D is t r ib u tio n in Tucson ( a f t e r R. S t r e i t z ) .


33

to the s u rface o f the w ater in a l l d ir e c t io n s , but i t s in flu e n c e on the

t o t a l s tre n g th o f the s o il is n e g lig ib le . Im m ediately above the w ater

ta b le or p h re a tic d iv id e , c a p il la r y a c tio n causes f u l l s a tu r a tio n o f the

s o il in a zone c a lle d the c a p illa r y f r in g e . The th ickn ess o f t h is zone

depends on the s iz e o f th e in t e r s t ic e s . Below the w a te r ta b le the s o il

is a two-phase system and the pore w ater behaves according to the laws

o f h y d ro s ta tic s .

In a s a tu ra te d s o il the n e u tra l s tre s s (u ) is equal to the product

o f th e u n it w eig ht o f w a te r tim es the h e ig h t (h ) o f the w ate r column.

The e f f e c t iv e s tre s s (o ) is t h a t p a rt o f the t o t a l s tre s s (o ) which is

c a r r ie d by th e s o il g ra in s . Thus, o = a + u. T h is is th e most im p o rtan t

r e la tio n s h ip in s o il mechanics. I t must be remembered t h a t w ate r can

o f f e r no shearing re s is ta n c e , thus a l l the shear s tre n g th param eters o f

a s o il depend upon the e f f e c t iv e s tre s s .

Assume th e w a te r t a b le is 10 f e e t below the su rfa c e o f a s o il

weighing 100 pounds per cubic f o o t dry and 120 pounds per cubic fo o t

s a tu ra te d . A t p o in t A 10 f e e t below the w ate r ta b le the n e u tra l s tre s s

is 10 X 6 2 .4 = 624 p s f, and the t o t a l s tre s s is 10 X 100 + 10 X 120 =

2200 p s f. The s o il must then c a rry an e f f e c t iv e s tre s s o f 1576 p s f. If

the groundwater ta b le is drawn down 10 f e e t , th e n e u tra l s tre s s a t p o in t

A is z e ro , the t o t a l s tre s s is 20 X 100 = 2000 p s f, thus the e f f e c t i v e

s tre s s is 2000 p s f. The column o f dewatered s o il is now sub jected to a

g re a te r e f f e c t i v e s tre s s than b e fo re drawdown. In most s o ils t h is added

load w i l l cause c o n s o lid a tio n .


34

Subsurface a q u ife rs arc the only source o f w a te r in the Tucson

Basin and in most o th e r basins in the Southwest. Ground w ate r w ith ­

drawal has boon g r e a te r than the n a tu ra l recharge in most cases. As a

r e s u l t , dewatered la y e rs have co n so lid ated and ground surfaces have

subsided. A most s t r ik in g example is the h e a v ily i r r i g a t e d P icach o -E lo y

Basin between Tucson and Phoenix. H ere, e a rth fis s u r e s were re p o rte d as

e a r ly as 1927. U. S. Coast and G eodetic Survey le v e lin g showed the basin

subsided 3 .6 f e e t between 1905 and 1960 and 7 f e e t between 1905 and 1968.

D. E. Peterson stu d ied the area and concluded t h a t the subsidence was

due to increased e f f e c t iv e lo ad in g on c la y len ses.

U. S. G eological Survey and U. S. Coast and G eodetic Survey

le v e lin g data in d ic a te s t h a t th e re has been land subsidence in the

Tucson B asin. In the course o f the c ity -w id e su rvey, the w r i t e r observed

a few small fis s u re s in vacant lo ts near areas o f fo u n d a tio n f a i l u r e s ,

but they may have been due to d e s ic c a tio n r a th e r than subsidence. It

would be in te r e s tin g to know how the amount o f subsidence in s e v e re ly

fra c tu re d areas compares w ith t h a t in t r o u b le - f r e e a re a s . The a v a ila b le

survey l in e s , however, do not p ro vid e r e l i a b l e data sin ce they a re

u s u a lly not t ie d to s ta tio n a r y p o in ts . Lines run by the U n iv e r s ity o f

A rizona Department o f A g r ic u lt u r a l Engineering between w e lls in the c i t y

in d ic a te e le v a tio n changes in the o rd e r o f 0 .2 to 0 .6 inches over about

10 y e a rs . D iffe r e n tia l s e ttle m e n t o f t h is magnitude could cause lo c a l

fou n d atio n problems.

F ig u re 6 shows the ground w ater contours in 1967 superimposed on

the f r a c tu r e p a tte r n . The w a te r t a b le drops g e n tly across the c i t y


35

Flowing V/ells Rd

O ro c I e

Campbell Avc

Country Club

'Alvernon v/oy

Swan* Rd

Croycro ft Rd

VVilmont R<t

Figure 6. Ground Water T ab le Contour Hap (Based on Data from Department


o f A g r ic u lt u r a l E n g in e e rin g , 1 96 7).
36

toward the n o rth w est, but shows no c o r r e la t io n w ith the fo u n d atio n

f a ilu r e s .. One would expect the subsurface s t r a ta to have a wide range

o f p e r m e a b ilitie s , but they must not be so extreme as to cause abrupt

d e v ia tio n s in th e flo w l in e s , except p o s s ib ly e a s t o f Alvernon and south

o f Broadway.

One m ight expect a r e la tio n s h ip to e x is t between thicknesses o f

th e dewatered a q u ife rs and the in t e n s it y p a tte r n . It is reasonable t h a t

g re a te r drawdown should in c re a s e the lik e lih o o d o f subsidence. F ig u re 7

is an isopachous map o f sediments dewatered from 1947 to 1967. The map

shows t h a t th e re has been g r e a te r removal in the south and e a s t p o rtio n s

o f the c i t y du rin g the past few y e a rs . Whether th e re is a r e la tio n s h ip

between w ithdraw al and f r a c t u r e p a tte rn s is open to in t e r p r e t a t io n , but

th e w r it e r b e lie v e s t h a t a s u b tle c o r r e la t io n is p o s s ib le .

The r o le o f ground w ate r d e p le tio n in v o lv e s not o n ly th e t h ic k ­

ness o f sediments dew atered, but th e lit h o lo g y o f these u n it s . Never­

th e le s s , we should expect t h a t areas o f heavy w ithdraw al would be more

l i k e l y to have fo u n d a tio n problem s. F ig u re 7 shows g r e a te r w ithdraw al

near the general v i c i n i t y o f G rant and Alvernon (th e area o f most severe

f a i l u r e s ) and a ls o heavy w ithdraw al around 22nd and W ilm ot, which is

a ls o exp e rie n c in g d i f f i c u l t y .

The q u e stio n a r is e s as to th e r o le o f subsurface s tr a tig r a p h y .

The best work t h a t has been done on t h is s u b je c t is Robert S t r e i t z 's

th e s is (1962 ) in which he examined hundreds o f w e ll logs in the c i t y ,

and u t i l i z i n g the most re v e a lin g ones, prepared a fence diagram o f the


Flow ing W e lls Rd

W o tr
Oracle Rd
Contour In t e r v a l

Compbol I
10 F©

C ountry C lub

Alvernon

Swan Rd

Croycroft

‘V/l l.mont

Kolb Rd

Figure 7. Isopachcous Hep o f Sediments Dewatered in Tucson from 1947


to 1967 (from Department o f A g r ic u ltu r a l E n g in e e rin g ).
38

c i t y 's su b su rface. Three s e c tio n s from S t r e i t z 's work have been

s e le c te d by the au th o r and a re shown in Figures 8 , 9 , and 10. Figures

8 and 9 show s o il p r o f ile s through the two most troublesom e areas o f

th e c i t y , w h ile F ig u re 10 shows a l i n e across the U n iv e r s ity T errac e

where fou n d atio n s are s ta b le . In Figures 8 and 9 , the predominant u n it

being dewatered is a sand, w h ile t h a t in F ig u re 10 is a sandy c la y . A

d r i l l e r described (by personal communication) a w e ll near a damaged home

on H i!m o t Road as p e n e tra tin g th e w ate r ta b le in a u n it o f f in e w e ll -

rounded q u a rtz sand. It is p o s s ib le t h a t these subsurface sand la y e rs

have a low er than normal d e n s ity and the removal o f th e i n t e r s t i t i a l

w ater could cause s e ttle m e n t g r e a te r than would be experienced by a com­

p re s s ib le c la y la y e r . A ls o , the c o n s o lid a tio n o f the sand would be

much more ra p id than in the case o f c la y .

Using S t r e i t z ' s fence diagrams and ground w ater le v e l data from

the Department o f A g r ic u lt u r a l E n g in e e rin g , the w r i t e r prepared a l i t h o -

fa c ie s map o f sediments dewatered from 1947 to 1967. The map is shown

on F igure 11. T h is l it h o f a c ie s map must not be in te r p r e te d too l i t e r a l l y

because i t was necessary to e x tr a p o la te between lin e s on the fence diagram

and also because more than one u n it may have been dewatered du rin g th a t

tim e p erio d ( in which case the predominant u n it is shown). F ig u re 11

seems to in d ic a t e , however, t h a t a s iz e a b le p o rtio n o f the area a ffe c te d

by fo u n d a tio n f a il u r e s l i e s above la y e rs o f dewatered sand.


39

Fort lov.ell Rd

cracking

Heavy

Moderate

Light

Grant Rd

U*eO LEGEND

1 1 Co t i c he Clav
1

G rqve 1 Conglomer ote

— — — Water level 1948


s i® Sand
---- Water level 1967

F ig u re 8. Cross S e c tio n Through S e v e re ly F ra c tu re d Area in Tucson


(su b s u rfa c e data by R obert S t r e i t z ) .
40

CRACKING

Heavy

Moderate

Golf-Links Rd.

0 feet LEGEND

Caliche

iH Gr ove l

Sand

C lay
Water
level 1948
SCALE Water
leve I
Vertical Exaggeration 14.3 I I

F ig u re 9. Cross S e c tio n Through S e ve re ly F ra c tu re d Area (su b su rfa ce


data by R obert S t r e i t z ) .
41

Grant Rd

---- Av

LEGEND

Col i che Clay

G rave I

Water level 1948


Sand
Water Level 1967

F ig u re 10. Cross S e c tio n Through T ro u b le -F re e Area in Tucson (s u b s u r­


fa c e data by R obert S t r e i t z ) .
le g e n d
v>.

m
~ -

111Ik
p :::::: Grovel


m

G ra n t: Rd
E H ] Sand ••• • *• . •••-*,

C la y

SiE
■■
a 1 ®

C ampbol 1
m

m m

Broadway m

x
s
m 2 2 nd St ^ !; m m I * 6

mm 9 l

« m

F ig u re 11. L ith o fa c ie s Map o f Dewatered Sediments (1 9 4 7 -1 9 6 7 ).


43

5 .5 Role o f Basement Geology and T e c to n ic A c t i v i t y

T e c to n ic a c t i v i t y r e fe r s to any process o r mechanism which

r e s u lts in a d eform ation o f the e a r th 's c r u s t. Common examples a re

f a u l t i n g , f o ld in g , doming, and s in k in g . T e c to n ic a c t i v i t i e s may be

g ra d u a l, re q u ir in g g re a t s tre tc h e s o f g eo lo g ic tim e , o r they may be

sudden and c a ta s tr o p h ic , r e s u lt in g in a lt e r a t io n o f th e landscape and

lo c a l p ro p e rty damage. I f te c to n ic a c t i v i t y be the cause o f any founda­

t io n f a il u r e s in Tucson, then one must expect t h a t th e a c t i v i t y should

have been recorded im m ed iately proceeding the f a i l u r e .

P l a t t suggested t h a t a slow te c to n ic process m ight be resp o n sib le

f o r d i f f e r e n t i a l movements around th e p e rip h e ry o f the b a s in . He be­

lie v e s t h a t th e e n t ir e basin is subsiding (due to c o n s o lid a tio n ) and th a t

the g r e a te s t subsidence is in the c e n te r o f the basin where sediments are

t h ic k e s t . V e r t ic a l movements would be s m a lle r clo se to th e mountain

slo p e s , but s tre s s co n c e n tra tio n s would be g r e a t e r , r e s u ltin g in more

planes o f s lip p a g e . The th e o ry is re a s o n ab le, but t h is w r i t e r does not

fe e l t h a t th e re is enough evidence ( in the form o f e a rth c rac ks) to

a f f ir m t h is p o s itio n .

S everal m illio n yea rs ago the Basin and Range Province was an

a c tiv e re g io n a l te c to n ic b e l t . Pashley b e lie v e s t h a t even a f t e r the

mountains surrounding Tucson were l i f t e d in to t h e i r p re s e n t c o n fig u ra ­

t io n , movements (in c lu d in g a m ajor one) took place along the C a ta lin a

F a u lt. The f o ld in g and f a u lt in g in the R i l l i t o Beds gives evidence th a t

th e re was s ig n if ic a n t te c to n ic a c t i v i t y as r e c e n tly as the e a r ly Q u atern ary.


44

The basin f i l l above the R i l l 1 to Beds has not been d is tu rb e d ( t h is is

the s i g n if ic a n t d is t in c t io n between the two u n its ) suggesting t h a t te c ­

to n ic a c t i v i t y in the basin has g r e a t ly dim inished in re c e n t tim e .

F ig u re 12 is a s tr u c tu r a l contour map showing where Pashley

b e lie v e d to be the c o n ta c t between the basin f i l l and the top o f th e

R illito Beds. The g ra d ie n t is g e n tle and roughly p a r a lle ls the basin

p e rip h e ry . There seems to be no c o r r e la t io n w ith the f r a c t u r e p a tte r n .

S e n s itiv e seism ic instru m ents a t the Tucson M agnetic O bservatory

record about tw enty trem ors a month. These are c a lle d Tucson lo c a ls , and

i t has not been e s ta b lis h e d w hether any o f these shocks have an e p ic e n te r

in the b a s in . F a u lts a re a m ajor s tr u c tu r e in the mountain blocks

surrounding Tucson, but they are not b e lie v e d to have been a c tiv e r e ­

c e n tly . A m ajor shock was recorded in Tucson around 1880. Thus, the

p o s s ib ilit y o f an occasional lo c a l trem or in the Basin and Range should

not be co m p letely dism issed.

Any shock, w hether from a small seism ic tre m o r, th u n d e r, j e t

a ir p la n e s , o r o p e ra tin g m achinery could c o n trib u te to s e ttle m e n t. Energy

may be tra n s m itte d from g ra in to g ra in and cause rearrangem ent o f the

s o il s tr u c tu r e r e s u ltin g in le s s e r volume. T h is s it u a t io n would be most

l i k e l y to occur in th e low d e n s ity s o ils during tim es o f s a tu r a tio n .

5 .6 R esults o f th e G eologic In v e s tig a tio n

I t would appear t h a t th e u n s ta b le s u rfa c e s o ils and ground

w ater d e p le tio n are e q u a lly re s p o n s ib le f o r the fo u n d a tio n f a il u r e s in

Tucson. The case f o r u n s ta b le s u rfa c e s o il is strengthened by the f a c t


• v : v s . . v ; . r ? ^ ' " • . ’’r •’ ' V5 , v * f - v ' - i >

'PrTncV Rd

Fort Cowett ^Rd

2200
Grant Rd

. .S p e e d w a y 2000

.*: :

Broadway

CONTOUR INTERVAL
100 FEET
22nd St

SCALE
3 MILES

'3 6 tS S*

F ig u re 12. S tr u c tu r a l Contour Map Showing C o ntact Between R i l l i t o Beds and Q uaternary Basin
F i l l (from P a s h le y ).
46

th a t problems occur more fr e q u e n tly on the re c e n t d e p o s itio n a l te r r a c e s .

I f su rface s o ils were the complete answer, however, we would expect

b u ild in g s to s e t t le soon a f t e r th ey a re b u i l t since the s o ils are

m ainly sands and s i l t s . Comparison o f the w r i t e r 's work w ith t h a t o f

P l a t t in 1959 in d ic a te s t h a t new p a tte rn s a re form ing in e s ta b lis h e d

areas p re v io u s ly f r e e o f f a i l u r e s .

It is the w r i t e r 's b e l i e f t h a t subsidence is o cc u rrin g in the

Tucson Basin as a r e s u lt o f ground w ate r w ith d ra w a l. U n its p re s e n tly

being dewatered are Late T e r t ia r y and E a rly Q uaternary basin f i l l

d e p o s its . The u n its causing s e ttle m e n t are sands and s i l t s ; th ey are

probably th e remnants o f small lakes v/hich f i l l e d w ith wind blown s e d i­

ment during th e f i r s t two ic e ages. These lakes may s t i l l have con­

ta in e d w ater w h ile they were f i l l i n g , thus the s o ils have abnorm ally

low d e n s itie s . They were covered during the ra p id d e p o s itio n o f the

I l l i n o i a n and Wisconsin Ages. The la c u s tr in e beds have probably been

submerged from the tim e o f d e p o s itio n . The removal o f th is w ate r by man

has caused ra p id c o n s o lid a tio n o f the sand (sand and s i l t w i l l exp erien ce

most o f t h e i r c o n s o lid a tio n w ith in a very s h o rt tim e , w h ile a c la y r e ­

q u ire s y e a r s ). T h is s e ttle m e n t not o n ly causes d i f f e r e n t i a l d is p la c e ­

ments o f su rfa c e s o i l s , but may g en erate shock waves which cause the

s o il aggregates above th e w a te r t a b le to occupy a le s s e r volume. Thus,

subsidence may t r ig g e r p a r t ia l c o lla p s e o f low d e n s ity s o ils .


6. ENGINEERING ASPECTS OF FOUNDATION FAILURES

An en g in e er uses knowledge gained from s c i e n t i f i c in v e s tig a tio n s

to solve problems c o n fro n tin g mankind. The two most im p o rta n t param­

e te rs in any en g in e erin g p r o je c t are people and money. The eng ineer

must always keep in mind t h a t the u ltim a te goal o f h is work is to improve

th e h e a lth , w e lf a r e , and s a fe ty o f the p u b lic , b ut t h a t h is ideas w i l l

not be successful unless th ey are econom ically f e a s ib le .

Foundation f a i l u r e s , land subsidence, and u n stab le s o il could

a f f e c t a l l th e people in Tucson. W hile cracked w a lls and broken p la s te r

may seem m inor annoyances in l i g h t o f o th e r problems c o n fro n tin g the

p u b lic to d a y , th e ground i n s t a b i l i t y problem in Tucson is serio u s and

should be o f in t e r e s t to a l l persons engaged in planning and b u ild in g in

th is c i t y .

6.1 Ground I n s t a b i l i t y and th e P u b lic

Many p e o p le , in c lu d in g p u b lic o f f i c i a l s , are r e lu c t a n t to

b e lie v e t h a t th e phenomena described in the previous chapters c o n s titu te

a hazard to the p u b lic . W hile fo u n d a tio n f a il u r e s in o n e -s to ry b u ild ­

ings are extrem ely u n lik e ly to r e s u lt in in ju r ie s o r loss o f l i f e , ground

i n s t a b i l i t y could g iv e r is e to o th e r dangers. In 1963 a d is a s tro u s

exp losion occurred in the basement o f a c le a n in g e s tab lish m en t in Tucson,

r e s u ltin g in sev eral i n ju r i e s and deaths. The a c c id e n t was found to be

the r e s u lt o f sev eral leaks in th e gas l in e serv in g th e e s ta b lis h m e n t.

47
48

In c o u rt, the u t i l i t y company was found to be n e g lig e n t, but i t is not

unreasonable to s p e cu late t h a t d i f f e r e n t i a l s e ttle m e n t may have played

a p a r t in causing the le a k s . I f a heavy b u ild in g such as t h is were to

experience d i f f e r e n t i a l s e ttle m e n t, the u t i l i t y lin e s (which are prob­

a b ly embedded in the c o n c re te ) would be stressed and could c ra c k .

Underground u t i l i t y lin e s o f a l l types would be in danger in

zones o f s tre s s c o n c e n tra tio n caused by basin subsidence. Besides gas

le a k s , the g r e a te s t t h r e a t to the p u b lic would come as a r e s u lt o f

fra c tu re d sewer lin e s . Raw sewage could s in k through e a rth fis s u r e s and

p o llu te the c i t y 's w ate r supply.

The p u b lic is v i r t u a l l y unaware t h a t ground i n s t a b i l i t y is a

problem in Tucson. When severe crackin g develops in t h e i r homes, i n d i ­

vid u al owners become u pset; when a tragedy such as a t th e c le a n in g p la n t

occurs, th e re is a demand f o r in v e s tig a tio n ; and should the c i t y ever be

forced to announce t h a t the b a s in 's w ater supply needs a d d itio n a l t r e a t ­

ment because o f p o llu t io n , the p u b lic would be dismayed. Since th e re is

o b viously no a l t e r n a t iv e to the c o n tin u a tio n o f ground w ate r w ithdraw al

in Tucson, land subsidence w i l l con tinue in the f u t u r e . In a d d it io n , low

d e n s ity s o ils which cause fo u n d a tio n problems in even o n e -s to ry , s in g le ­

fa m ily d w e llin g s are being in c r e a s in g ly discovered in areas o f new

c o n s tru c tio n in the c i t y . For these reasons, i t is im p o rtan t t h a t

en g in e e rs , a r c h it e c t s , c i t y p la n n e rs , and p u b lic o f f i c i a l s become aware

o f the e x te n t o f the problem and t h a t they a n t ic ip a t e fu tu r e develop­

ments.
49

6 .2 Recommendations f o r Zoning and Planning

The Tucson Zoning and Planning Commission oversees expan­

sion o f the c i t y by d e lim itin g c e r t a in areas f o r s p e c if ic types o f urban

and suburban developm ent. The commission cen ters i t s a t te n tio n on the

s o c ia l and environm ental aspects o f b u ild in g lo c a tio n s . A t the p rese n t

tim e i t makes no atte m p t to in c lu d e s i t e s u i t a b i l i t y (based on ground

c o n d itio n s ) in i t s c o n s id e ra tio n s . T h is should change; a s p e c if ic a t t i ­

tude toward b u ild in g on each o f the fo u r te rra c e s should be adopted.

b u ild in g o f permanent s tru c tu re s should be p ro h ib ite d on the

Bottomland T e rra c e , not o n ly because o f the p r o b a b ilit y o f fin d in g c o l­

la p sin g s o i l , but a ls o because t h is te r ra c e is s u b je c t to flo o d in g . The

small percentage o f land covered by such a r e s t r ic t i o n could be used f o r

p arks , g o lf courses, farm ing and ra n c h in g , and m obile home s it e s .

Jaynes Bench in clu d es o n ly a small percentage o f the p rese n t c i t y ,

but i t is more p re v a le n t on the southeast s id e where many new s u b d iv is io n s

are being b u i l t . The lo c a l governments should work in coo p eratio n w ith

th e U n iv e r s ity o f A rizo n a and w ith lo c a l en g in e erin g firm s to make a

d e ta ile d s o il study o f the area south o f Tanque Verde Wash between

Pantano Wash and Old Spanish T r a i l . The s o ils should be te s te d to d e te r ­

mine t h e i r b eh avior under s a tu r a tio n and lo a d in g . P la te -b e a rin g te s ts on

dry s o ils in th e f i e l d are i n s u f f i c i e n t ; s o ils must be loaded w h ile

s a tu ra te d . Zones found to c o n ta in c o lla p s in g s o ils could be d e lim ite d

and fu tu r e b u ild e rs would be advised o f t h e i r n a tu re . Areas o f excep t­

io n a lly weak s o il should be p ro s c rib e d .


50

Zoning on the Cemetery T e rra c e presents a problem. Most o f the

f a ilu r e s occur h e r e , but subsidence may be the m ajor cause. In the

absence o f co n clu sive s o il te s ts i t is not recommended t h a t zoning

r e s t r ic t io n s be made a t t h is tim e . If in fo rm a tio n concerning p rese n t

f a i l u r e p a tte rn s is made a v a ila b le to re s p o n s ib le c o n tra c tin g and en­

g in e e rin g fir m s , many o f them m ight take steps to p reve n t problem s.

The U n iv e r s ity T e rra c e has few fo u n d a tio n problems and no zoning

r e s t r ic t io n s are needed. Local f a il u r e s may occur on th is te r ra c e i f

b u ild in g s are placed on uncompacted f i l l . For a l l m ajor b u ild in g s , a

s o il re p o rt should be made.

6 .3 Recommendations f o r B u ild in g Codes

The In s p e c tio n s Department o f th e C ity o f Tucson demands

b u ild e rs comply w ith th e 1964 Uniform B u ild in g Code o f the In te r n a tio n a l

Conference o f B u ild in g O f f i c i a l s , Pasedena, C a lif o r n ia . It is expected

th a t the 1967 e d itio n o f t h is same code w i l l be adopted. T h is n a tio n a l­

ly used code is probably s u f f i c i e n t f o r most phases o f c o n s tru c tio n , but

because o f i t s widespread use i t cannot take in to account s p e c ia l problems

o f the v a rio u s l o c a l i t i e s . A few m inor addenda are o c c a s io n a lly added by

the c i t y to meet lo c a l problem s, but w ith regard to fo u n d a tio n s , a

thorough revamping is needed.

For a o n e -s to ry , s in g le - fa m ily d w e llin g , the code re q u ire s th a t

fo o tin g s be 16“ w id e , 8" t h ic k , and 12" below grad e. In a severe area

south o f Tucson, the c i t y has made the a r b it r a r y requirem ent t h a t fo o tin g s

be 24" wide and 18" below grade. I f land subsidence be the cause o f t h is
51

p a r t ic u la r problem , then in c re a s in g th e s iz e and depth o f th e fo o tin g s

serves no purpose.

O f f i c i a l s in the c i t y In s p e c tio n s Department i n s i s t t h a t founda­

tio n f a il u r e s are not so severe a problem in Tucson as to j u s t i f y

s t r i c t e r b u ild in g r e g u la tio n s . I f th e problem should become so severe

in the fu tu r e (a not u n lik e ly occurrence) t h a t a c tio n was demanded,

th e fo llo w in g p o lic ie s should be consid ered. In areas o f low d e n s ity

o r " c o lla p s in g s o i l " , th e fo u n d a tio n m a te ria l should be s t a b iliz e d . It

is not s a tis fa c t o r y sim ply to warn owners not to w ater clo se to the

fo o tin g s , because th e s o il r a th e r than the w ate r is th e v i l l a i n . W hile

i t is tru e t h a t s a tu r a tio n is th e c a t a ly s t which causes low d e n s ity

s o ils to c o lla p s e , a homeowner has the r ig h t to expect t h a t he can lan d ­

scape h is p ro p e rty w ith o u t having his house c ra c k . The most p r a c tic a l

method o f ground s t a b i l i z a t i o n is to p re -lo a d the s o il and a t the same

tim e s a tu ra te i t , thus d r a s t i c a l ly reducing the void r a t i o b efo re e r e c t­

ing the fo o tin g s .

In areas where subsidence is causing f a il u r e s s tro n g e r founda­

tio n s arc needed. This problem o r ig in a te s a t d ep th, so tre a tm e n t o f th e

s u rface s o ils is o f no v a lu e . The b u ild e r must in s te a d seek a s tr u c tu r e

which can absorb d i f f e r e n t i a l movements w ith o u t being damaged. Frame

b u ild in g s meet t h is need as do b u ild in g s paneled w ith aluminum s id in g .

These m a te r ia ls are not p o p u la r, however, as the p u b lic demands b ric k

and con crete s tr u c tu r e s . But b r ic k and co n crete cannot c a rry te n s io n a l

s tre s s and o f f e r no y i e l d . T h e re fo re , the masonry b u ild in g s must be so

constructed as to s e t t l e w ith o u t c ra c k in g .
51

p a r t ic u la r problem , then in c re a s in g th e s iz e and depth o f th e fo o tin g s

serves no purpose.

O f f i c i a l s in the c i t y In s p e c tio n s Department i n s i s t t h a t founda­

tio n f a il u r e s a re not so severe a problem in Tucson as to j u s t i f y

s t r i c t e r b u ild in g r e g u la tio n s . I f th e problem should become so severe

in the fu tu r e (a not u n lik e ly occurrence) t h a t a c tio n was demanded,

th e fo llo w in g p o lic ie s should be consid ered. In areas o f low d e n s ity

o r " c o lla p s in g s o i l " , th e fo u n d a tio n m a te ria l should be s t a b iliz e d . It

is not s a t is fa c t o r y sim ply to warn owners not to w ate r clo se to the

fo o tin g s , because th e s o il r a th e r than the w ate r is th e v i l l a i n . W hile

i t is tru e th a t s a tu r a tio n is the c a t a ly s t which causes low d e n s ity

s o ils to c o lla p s e , a homeowner has the r ig h t to expect th a t he can lan d ­

scape h is p ro p e rty w ith o u t having his house c ra c k . The most p r a c tic a l

method o f ground s t a b i l i z a t i o n is to p re -lo a d the s o il and a t the same

tim e s a tu ra te i t , thus d r a s t i c a l ly reducing th e void r a t i o b efo re e r e c t­

ing th e fo o tin g s .

In areas where subsidence is causing f a il u r e s s tro n g e r founda­

tio n s are needed. This problem o r ig in a te s a t d ep th , so tre a tm e n t o f th e

su rface s o ils is o f no v a lu e . The b u ild e r must in s te a d seek a s tr u c tu r e

which can absorb d i f f e r e n t i a l movements w ith o u t being damaged. Frame

b u ild in g s meet t h is need as do b u ild in g s paneled w ith aluminum s id in g .

These m a te ria ls are not p o p u la r, however, as the p u b lic demands b ric k

and con crete s tr u c tu r e s . But b r ic k and co n crete cannot c a rry te n s io n a l

s tre s s and o f f e r no y i e l d . T h e re fo re , the masonry b u ild in g s must be so

constructed as to s e t t l e w ith o u t c ra c k in g .
52

F ra c tu re s in b ric k and masonry appear not because the s tr u c tu r e

has s e t t le d , but because th e s e ttle m e n t has not been equal over the

e n t ir e p e rim e te r o f th e b u ild in g . It is d i f f e r e n t i a l movement which

causes stresses to develop in the fo u n d a tio n . I f these stresses a re

g re a te r than can be absorbed by the fo u n d atio n m a t e r ia l, they w i l l seek

re le a s e in the form o f cracks which may spread from the fo o tin g s to the

w a lls and f lo o r s . To avoid t h is s itu a tio n foundations must be strong

enough to w ith stan d stre s s e s caused by d i f f e r e n t i a l movements.

S te e l r e in fo r c in g must be placed in th e tre n ch fo o tin g s which

serve as fou n d atio n s f o r most o n e -s to ry b u ild in g s in Tucson. The r e ­

in fo rc in g in the fo o tin g s must be t ie d to r e in fo r c in g in the f lo o r s and

stem w a lls so t h a t a l l p a rts o f th e s tr u c tu r e which tra n s m it load to the

s o il behave as a u n it . In Tucson most homes have f l a t - s l a b concrete

f lo o r s ; a few inches o f g rave l are placed on grade and the con crete is

poured over i t . B u ild e rs should use hogwire or some o th e r w ire mesh to

p ro te c t the s lab from c ra c k in g , but i t is most im p o rtan t t h a t the mesh

be t ie d to the s te e l in th e fo o tin g . O th e rw ise, the f lo o r s m ight move

s e p a ra te ly from the fo o tin g s and th e o u tsid e w a lls .

6 .4 Recommendations f o r U t i l i t i e s

Ground i n s t a b i l i t y poses a s p e c ia l hazard f o r b u ried u t i l i t y

lin e s . W hile long s te e l pipes can absorb much s tre s s w ith o u t b re a k in g ,

problems may occur a t the in t e r f a c e between th e b u ild in g and the ground.

I f the pipe is imbedded in the c o n c re te , i t is l i k e l y to be sheared i f


53

the b u ild in g exp eriences d i f f e r e n t i a l movement. For t h is reason, ap er­

tu re s in the f lo o r should be provided f o r a l l indoor plumbing and o th e r

u tilit ie s should e n te r the house above the fo u n d a tio n .

The e f fe c ts o f s e ttle m e n t on sewer lin e s is in doubt. S u re ly ,

la rg e d iam eter c la y pipes would crack i f sub jected to deep-seated e a rth

cracks and land subsidence. The p u b lic can probably ta k e some co m fo rts ,

however. Small cracks would tend to clog w ith s o lid m a tte r , p reve n tin g

f u r t h e r seepage. I f o n ly a small amount o f sewage seeped in to th e e a r th ,

i t would move s lo w ly and be reduced under anaerobic c o n d itio n s b efo re

reaching th e w a te r t a b le . The o n ly suggestion t h a t can be made is th a t

i f ever obvious e a rth cracks are observed ( s im ila r to those in th e

Picacho B asin) then sewer lin e s in t h a t area should be unearthed and

re p a ire d .

6 .5 Future Foundation Problems in Tucson

The ground i n s t a b i l i t y problem in Tucson has been observed

and documented f o r sev eral y e a rs . There is no doubt t h a t i t w i l l worsen

as good b u ild in g s ite s become s c a rc e r and ground w ate r continues to be

withdrawn w ith o u t rep lacem en t. The in t e n s it y p a tte rn o f b u ild in g

fo u n d atio n f a il u r e s w i l l change in tim e.

The w r i t e r expects t h a t w ith in the next few yea rs many more cases

o f fo u n d atio n f a i l u r e w i l l be re p o rte d in th e new s u b d iv is io n s e a s t oi

Pantano Wash, t h is as a r e s u lt o f c o n s o lid a tio n o f low d e n s ity s o ils .

F igure 13 shows areas in which land subsidence is l i k e l y to co n tin u e .

This p r e d ic tio n , based on S t r e i t z ' s fence diagram s, shows where th e sand


Fort Lov/ell Rd;. -^1 M ile —»

'll!

it
1

HIiiiIBIS

P
o
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< G ra n t Rd

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H! I ii
I s* Avo

or

Speedway
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i
' Hiv?' s%
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Broadwov 1 TJ
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F ig u re 13. Map Showing Zones L ik e ly to Experience Land Subsidence in th e F u tu re .


55

u n it supposed to be one o f the p r in c ip a l causes o f tro u b le remains below

the w ater t a b le . More problems may be expected in the v i c i n i t y o f Kolb

Road south o f Broadway. D i f f e r e n t i a l land subsidence and accompanying

e a rth cracks are l i k e l y to occur where the w a te r ta b le begins cascading

due to the sharp in c re a s e in the pediment slope (see Figures 6 and 1 2 ).

I t is not l i k e l y t h a t the area surrounding downtown Tucson w i l l e x p e r i­

ence s ig n if ic a n t fo u n d a tio n problems u n t il th e w ate r ta b le drops a hundred

o r so f e e t .
7. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

F ie ld in v e s tig a tio n s have provided d e ta ile d in fo rm a tio n on the

lo c a tio n and in t e n s it y o f fo u n d a tio n f a il u r e s in .T u cso n . A study o f

the geography and g e o lo g ic h is to r y o f the basin have convinced the

w r it e r th a t ground i n s t a b i l i t y is the r e s u lt o f two sep arate phenomena;

low d e n s ity s u rfa c e s o ils and deep-seated land subsidence aggravated by

ground w ater rem oval.

F ra c tu re s in w a lls and flo o r s are an expensive nuisance to home-

owners, w h ile broken u t i l i t y lin e s p resen t a hazard to the p u b lic .

S tronger c o n s tru c tio n is needed to counter these problem s, which w i l l

continue in the f u t u r e . E x ten siv e .fr a c tu r e p a tte rn s have been c o rre la te d

w ith a subsurface sand u n it which has been s lo w ly dewatered f o r the past

decade. Newer homes in th e sou theast are being b u i l t on te rra c e s w ith a

h is to r y o f u n s ta b le s o i l .

P o s s ib ly , the most im p o rtan t step to be taken a t t h is tim e is to

inform the general p u b lic o f the n atu re and r a m ific a tio n s o f the problem ,

and to p rovide a r c h it e c t s , e n g in e e rs , and planners in Tucson w ith a l l the

te c h n ic a l in fo rm a tio n a v a ila b le r e la t in g to lo c a l ground i n s t a b i l i t y .

56
REFERENCES

Anderson, R. Y . , Cenozoic c lim a te in the a r id Southwest; 1962 A rizo n a


G eo lo g ic al S o c ie ty D ig e s t, V o l. 5 , pp. 2 5 -3 5 .

Barghoorn, E. S . , 1951, Age and environm ent: a survey o f North American


T e r t ia r y f lo r a s in r e l a t i o n to Paleoecology; Journal o f P a le o n t­
o lo g y , V o l. 2 5, pp. 7 3 6 -7 4 4 .

Brown, W. H . , 1939, Tucson M ountains: an A rizo n a Basin Range ty p e ;


G e o l. Soc. o f Am. B u l l . , V o l. 50, pp. 697 -7 5 9 .

Damon, P. E . , E ric k s o n , R. C . , and L iv in g s to n , D. E . , 1962, K-Ar d a tin g


o f Basin and Range u p l i f t , C a ta lin a M ountains, A riz o n a ; N uclear
Geophysics, N .A .S .-N .R .C . P u b!. 1075, pp. 113 -1 21.

D a vis , R. W ., 1967, A geophysical in v e s tig a tio n o f h y d ro lo g ic boundaries


in the Tucson B asin , Pima County, A rizo n a ; U n iv e r s ity o f
A rizo n a Ph.D. T h e s is , 61 pp.

K id w ai, Z . U . , The r e la tio n s h ip o f groundwater to a llu v iu m in the Tucson


a re a , A riz o n a ; U n iv e r s ity o f A rizo n a M .S. T h e s is , 1957, 53 pp.

Lacy, W. C . , 1964, G eo lo g ic al causes o f fo u n d a tio n f a i l u r e in the area o f


Tucson, A riz o n a ; AIME T ra n s a c tio n s .

Longwel1 , C. R . , 1950, T e c to n ic th e o ry viewed from the Basin Ranges;


G e o l. Soc. Am. B u l l . , V o l. 6 1 , pp. 4 1 3 -4 3 3 .

McCullough, E. J . , 1963, A s tr u c tu r a l study o f th e Pusch Ridge-Romero


Canyon a re a , Santa C a ta lin a M ountains, A riz o n a ; U n iv e r s ity o f
A rizona Ph.D. T h e s is , 67 pp.

Maddox, G. E . , 1960, Subsurface geology along northw est R i l l i t o Creek;


U n iv e r s ity o f A rizo n a M .S. T h e s is , 232 pp.

Mayo, E. B . , 1966, P re lim in a ry r e p o r t on a s tr u c tu r a l study in the Museum


Embayment, Tucson M ountains, A rizo n a ; A rizo n a G eo lo g ic al S o c ie ty
D ig e s t, V o l. 8 , pp. 1 -3 2 .

M e lto n , M. A . , 1965, The geomorphic and p a le o c lim a tic s ig n ific a n c e o f


a l l u v i a l d ep o sits in Southern A rizo n a ; Journal o f Geology,
Jan u ary, pp. 1 -2 8 .

57
58

Pashley, E. F . , 1966, S tru c tu re and s tr a tig r a p h y o f the C e n tra l Northern


and Eastern p a rts o f the Tucson B a sin , A rizo n a ; U n iv e r s ity o f
A rizo n a Ph.D. D is s e r ta t io n , 268 pp.

P l a t t , W. S . , 1963, Land s u rfa c e subsidence in the Tucson a re a ; U n iv e r­


s i t y o f A rizo n a M.S. T h e s is , 37 pp.

Sm ith, G. E. P . , 1938, The physiography o f A rizo n a v a lle y s and the


occurrence o f ground w a te r; U n iv e r s ity o f A rizo n a A g r ic u ltu r a l
Experim ent S ta tio n B u ll. 77.

S t r e i t z , R . , 1962, Subsurface s tr a tig r a p h y and hydrology o f th e R i l l i t o


Creek-Tanque Verde Wash a r e a , Tucson, A riz o n a ; U n iv e r s ity o f
A rizona M .S. T h e s is , 57 pp.

W ilson, E. D . , 1962, A resume o f th e geology o f A riz o n a ; A rizo n a Bureau


o f Mines B u ll. 171.

Young, F. 0 . , e t a l . , 1931, S o il survey o f the Tucson a re a , A rizo n a ;


U. S. Department o f A g r ic u lt u r e , S e rie s 1931, No. 19.
north

5 : \ v

'r - :

FIGURE 14

INTENSITY PATTERN OF BUILDING


FOUNDATION FAILURES
IN

TUCSON, ARIZONA

STRONG

MODERATE
I MILE

LIGHT

ROBERT CPOSSLEY Ji
1968 o^

e m t
I9 i> ?