Minding the geotechnical data gap: appraisal of the variability of key soil parameters for slope stability modelling in Saint Lucia

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Abstract

Identification of failure thresholds and critical uncertainties associated with slope stability often requires the specification of geotechnical parameter values for input into a physically-based model. The variation of these parameters (including mechanical soil properties such as effective friction angle and cohesion) can have a significant impact on the computed factor of safety. These uncertainties arise from natural variations in soils, measurement techniques, and lack of reliable information. Researchers may use statistical analysis coupled with numerical simulation to determine possible ranges of slope factors of safety and the relative influence of geotechnical and other parameters, such as topsoil depth and rainfall. This study investigates the variation of geotechnical parameters observed on the island of Saint Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean. A database of particle size distributions, in-situ moisture contents, Atterberg and direct shear box test results is compiled from 91 samples of tropical soils in Saint Lucia. A study of various probability distributions shows that the Weibull distribution may be favoured for the effective friction angle of the Saint Lucian soils considered based on the Akaike information criterion, employed as an estimator of the relative quality of statistical models dealing with the trade-off between goodness-of-fit and simplicity of the model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4851–4864
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment
Volume78
Issue number7
Early online date14 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Tropical soils
  • Friction angle
  • Probability distributions
  • Weibull distribution
  • Landslides
  • Saint Lucia

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