Relationship between electrical resistivity and basic geotechnical parameters for marine clays

Michael Long, Shane Donohue, Jean-Sebastien L’Heureux, Inger-Lise Solberg, Jan Steinar Rønning, Romaric Limacher, Peter O'Connor, Guillaume Sauvin, Magnus Romoen, Isabelle Lecomte

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    60 Citations (Scopus)
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    Recently, considerable efforts have been made in the attempt to map quick clay areas using electrical resistivity measurements. However there is a lack of understanding regarding which soil parameters control the measured resistivity values. To address this issue, inverted resistivity values from 15 marine clay sites in Norway have been compared with basic geotechnical index properties. It was found that the resistivity value is strongly controlled by the salt content of the pore fluid. Resistivity decreases rapidly with increasing salt content. There is also a relatively clear trend of decreasing resistivity with increasing clay content and plasticity index. Resistivity values become very low (˜5 O·m) for high clay content (>50%), medium- to high-plasticity (Ip ˜ 20%) materials with salt content values greater than about 8 g/L (or corresponding remoulded shear strength values greater than 4 kPa). For the range of values studied, there is poor correlation between resistivity and bulk density and between resistivity and water content. The data studied suggest that the range of resistivity values corresponding to quick clay is 10 to 100 O·m, which is consistent with other published limits. A comparison is made between two-dimensional electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and resistivity cone penetration test (RCPTU) data for two of the sites and the two sets of data show similar trends and values irrespective of scale effect.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1158-1168
    Number of pages11
    JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
    Issue number10
    Early online date17 Sep 2012
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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