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

Factors controlling the seasonal variation in soil water content and pore water pressures within a lightly vegetated clay slope
Factors controlling the seasonal variation in soil water content and pore water pressures within a lightly vegetated clay slope
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.
clays, monitoring, pore pressures, slopes, suction, vegetation
0016-8505
429-446
Smethurst, J.A.
8f30880b-af07-4cc5-a0fe-a73f3dc30ab5
Clarke, D.
9746f367-1df2-4e0e-8d71-5ecfc9ddd000
Powrie, W.
600c3f02-00f8-4486-ae4b-b4fc8ec77c3c
Smethurst, J.A.
8f30880b-af07-4cc5-a0fe-a73f3dc30ab5
Clarke, D.
9746f367-1df2-4e0e-8d71-5ecfc9ddd000
Powrie, W.
600c3f02-00f8-4486-ae4b-b4fc8ec77c3c

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).

Record type: Article

Abstract

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.

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More information

Published date: May 2012
Keywords: clays, monitoring, pore pressures, slopes, suction, vegetation
Organisations: Infrastructure Group, Civil Engineering & the Environment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 74190
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/74190
ISSN: 0016-8505
PURE UUID: d21c3e86-fead-4a03-99b4-a21b9876d21c
ORCID for D. Clarke: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5433-5258
ORCID for W. Powrie: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2271-0826

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 13:20

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