Factors controlling the seasonal variation in soil water content and pore water pressures within a lightly vegetated clay slope

Smethurst, J.A., Clarke, D. and Powrie, W. (2012) Factors controlling the seasonal variation in soil water content and pore water pressures within a lightly vegetated clay slope. Geotechnique, 62, (5), 429-446. (doi:10.1680/geot.10.p.097).


[img] PDF - Version of Record
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (3732Kb)


Seasonal cycles of soil water content cause shrinking and swelling in clay soils that can in turn contribute to strain-softening and progressive failure. This paper presents and analyses six years of field measurements of soil water content and pore water pressures in the upper layers of a lightly vegetated London Clay slope near Newbury, UK. The field observations are set in the context of a 40 year run of rainfall data for the site. Moderately extreme rainfall and drought events were experienced over the period 2003-2008, allowing almost the full variation in likely pore water pressures to be characterised. Pore water pressures were found to return to near hydrostatic during most winters. Variations in summer rainfall, particularly during June-August, are shown to have a large influence on the magnitude of the cycles of pore water pressure and effective stress. The 40 year rainfall dataset is used to calculate approximate return periods for the observed soil conditions and provides a benchmark for calculating the impacts of expected climate change on similar sites.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1680/geot.10.p.097
ISSNs: 0008-3674 (print)
1208-6010 (electronic)
Keywords: clays, monitoring, pore pressures, slopes, suction, vegetation
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Civil Engineering and the Environment
Faculty of Engineering and the Environment > Civil, Maritime and Environmental Engineering and Science > Infrastructure Research Group
ePrint ID: 74190
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2012Published
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2016 13:55
Long-term performance of geotechnical transport infrastructure
Funded by: EPSRC (EP/F063482/1)
Led by: William Powrie
1 October 2008 to 30 March 2013
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/74190

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics