Structure and Mechanical Properties of the Dueñas Clay Formation (Tertiary Duero Basin, Spain): An Overconsolidated Clay of Lacustrine Origin

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Nespereira, José
Blanco, José Antonio
Suárez Barrios, Mercedes
Yenes, Mariano
Monterrubio Pérez, Serafín
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The Dueñas Clay Formation is considered an example of a deposit of lacustrine continental origin. It is formed mainly by overconsolidated clays and includes feldspathic arenites, and clayey and silty levels; however, in geotechnical projects it is considered a clay unit and treated as a whole. The structure of each level was assessed in the field, in thin sections, and by SEM in the case of the clayey level. In addition, identification, strength, deformation, and durability tests were undertaken according to the nature of the samples (grain size analysis, Atterberg Limits, point load test, direct shear tests, uniaxial compression tests, swelling pressure, and unidimensional consolidation tests). The durability test was used as a criterion for dividing the levels within the formation according to their behavior as soil or rock. It was observed that the proportion and type of carbonate cementation controls the way in which the material behaves, with sparithic cement increasing the strength. The clay levels are expansive due to the presence of smectite, which also influences their behavior under shear stress. In addition, the massive and laminar structure of the layers caused by the continental conditions, in addition to the processes of post-sedimentation, explain their low compressibility.
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