Location

New York, New York

Session Start Date

4-13-2004

Session End Date

4-17-2004

Abstract

The evaporative and sedimentary environment that has prevailed over the southern shores of the Arabian Gulf region (eastern Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates) has produced salt-encrusted flat areas known in Arabic as “sabkha”. Building activities on sabkha areas have posed problems and challenges to the construction industry triggered primarily by the excessive salts present in both the sediments and their shallow ground waters. The paper sheds light on the general setting of sabkha, including: its development, its geology, its hydrogeology and the make up of its sediments. In general, sabkha sediments are cemented and uncemented layers of sand /silt material, interbedded with pockets of clay and mud, where calcium carbonate and more recent digenetic minerals (gypsum, anhydrite) serve as the principal cementing agent. The geotechnical aspects of sabkha are addressed with particular reference to building foundations. Simplified soil profiles from selected sabkha sites with Standard Penetration Test Results are shown. The effectiveness of some soil densification methods, as a means of improving engineering properties of sabkha sediments, is explored. Arrival at appropriate foundation recommendations hinges on a properly conducted site investigation, consistent with field conditions, with a geochemical component as an essential part of the investigation. The most likely problems created by chemical changes within sabkha sediments are: settlement and strength loss due to solution of flowing ground water, and the creation of a chemically aggressive environment in foundations.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Fifth Conference

Publisher

University of Missouri--Rolla

Publication Date

4-13-2004

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2004 University of Missouri--Rolla, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Apr 13th, 12:00 AM Apr 17th, 12:00 AM

Foundations over Salt-Encrusted Flats (Sabkha): Profiles, Properties, and Design Guidelines

New York, New York

The evaporative and sedimentary environment that has prevailed over the southern shores of the Arabian Gulf region (eastern Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates) has produced salt-encrusted flat areas known in Arabic as “sabkha”. Building activities on sabkha areas have posed problems and challenges to the construction industry triggered primarily by the excessive salts present in both the sediments and their shallow ground waters. The paper sheds light on the general setting of sabkha, including: its development, its geology, its hydrogeology and the make up of its sediments. In general, sabkha sediments are cemented and uncemented layers of sand /silt material, interbedded with pockets of clay and mud, where calcium carbonate and more recent digenetic minerals (gypsum, anhydrite) serve as the principal cementing agent. The geotechnical aspects of sabkha are addressed with particular reference to building foundations. Simplified soil profiles from selected sabkha sites with Standard Penetration Test Results are shown. The effectiveness of some soil densification methods, as a means of improving engineering properties of sabkha sediments, is explored. Arrival at appropriate foundation recommendations hinges on a properly conducted site investigation, consistent with field conditions, with a geochemical component as an essential part of the investigation. The most likely problems created by chemical changes within sabkha sediments are: settlement and strength loss due to solution of flowing ground water, and the creation of a chemically aggressive environment in foundations.