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Engineering properties of sensitive lake marls in Switzerland


Lake marl constitutes one of the most problematic soils in Switzerland. In the paper, typical geological profiles are given and are supplemented by the relevant soil properties including grain size distribution, plasticity, natural water content and unit weight. Typically, these soils have a high content of calcium carbonate and a high index of liquidity. The shear strength, being of main interest, is discussed on the basis of vane and triaxial tests. The results show, that the effective friction angle is quite high, but that these soils exhibit a significant sensitivity due to their flocculated structure. Several catastrophic events took place in connection with building activities on lake marls in Switzerland. They are illustrated by the spectacular slope failure which occurred in the city of Zug.


Ramholt, Tom and Bucher, Felix

Index Terms:

Soil; SoilGroup; Lake Marl; Shear Strength

Further Information:

Date published: 1998