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Parameterization in Quick Clay Modeling – Introducing Stratigraphic Detail

Conference contribution
Authors Martin Persson
Rodney Stevens
Published in Abstracts and Proceedings of the Geological Society of Norway - 29th Nordic Geological Winter Meeting
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Keywords Quick clay, geohazard
Subject categories Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Quick clay landslides are a potential hazard in southwestern Sweden. While the general theory of formation is well developed, spatial modeling of the processes and different factors controlling the clay leaching and the resulting quick clay properties has largely been neglected. We suggest a modeling approach aiming to specify the relative importance of different factors and their spatial and stratigraphic variance related to quick clay formation. The model should ultimately combine stratigraphic data from more than 200 Swedish geotechnical site investigations. Together with quick clay theory and knowledge about sedimentary paleoenvironments and processes, the model will predict quick clay distribution, or at least sites with favorable conditions for its development. Identified factors have been grouped together in the following sets: groundwater flux, exposure to leaching, time available for leaching, textural character and geochemical properties of the pore fluid. These groups have been weighted by importance and further subdivided. The importance of each subfactor has been derived from stratigraphic, geotechnical and geomorphologic data using factor analysis. To be able to compare different factors, utility functions have been constructed to translate observed values into a uniform scale ranging from 0-1, where 0 indicates no elevated probability and 1 means that the factor range is optimum for quick clay formation. This step of the process is largely statistical. A single factor’s weight and utility score are multiplied to express the factor’s possibility to affect the system. When combining the weights and utilities for all factors the final score describes the possibility for leaching and thus quick clay development at a specific site. Utilizing knowledge of quick clay formation and stratigraphic data allows an improved landslide susceptibility modeling in areas with known or unknown prerequisites for quick clay formation. The factors ratings and the interdependence between them was, in part, used in selecting and refining these parameters for GIS modeling. Type settings with high probability for quick clay formation have been defined from the statistical factor weighting. The overall goal is to improve today’s landslide susceptibility mapping by quantifying the site-specific prerequisites for quick clay formation.

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