Effects of clay properties in the landslides genesis in flysch massif: Case study of Aïn Draham, North Western Tunisia

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Journal Article
Journal of African Earth Sciences, 2019, 151 pp. 146 - 152
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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Heavy rainfall in Aïn Draham province in the North-Western of Tunisia lead to the formation of some landslides which could poses danger to lives and properties. The geological outcrops of the region mainly consist of Numidian flysch rocks. In this study, field based 15 undisturbed samples were taken, from 11 boreholes drilled in 4 landslide points, to understand the real behaviour of soils when landslides occur. For this purpose, the geotechnical characterization of all samples was carried out. The grain size distribution shows that the clay and silt fractions prevail. The clay fraction ranges between 4% and 64% with an average of 40.4%, the silt fraction ranging from 19% to 71% averaging 39.8% and the sand fraction was between 6% and 44% with an average of 19.8%. The Casagrande plasticity chart indicates that 33.3% of samples were in the high plasticity group (CH group) and 66.6% having a medium to low plasticity. The water content varies between 12% and 31%. The direct shear strength test shows that the cohesions values range from 41 KPa to 77 KPa and the internal friction angle values range widely from 12° to 27°. A statistical approach was taken to determine the most important factors responsible for the decrease of the cohesion and friction angle which are in charge of slope failure. For this, a correlation matrix of all soil properties was done. The coefficients of correlation show that the clay fraction is the most correlated parameter to the cohesion with an index of −0.872. Unfortunately, the internal friction angle is very low correlated to all geotechnical parameters. The clay fraction, as the most correlated to the cohesion, and the water content, which depends on rainfall (landslide triggering factor), were considered as two independent parameters for the establishment of a multiple linear and non-linear regression models of the cohesion. The multiple linear model showed that the cohesion decrease with the increase of water content and especially the increase of clay fraction with coefficients of −0.083 and −0.441, respectively. The non linear model showed that the cohesion decrease exponentially and linearly with the increase of the clay fraction and water content, respectively. The statistical study of the effect of geotechnical parameters on the landslide triggering, shows that the clay formations and also the increases of soils clay fraction by alteration phenomena is the crucial factor in landslides genesis. During rainfall the increase of the water content of clayey soils decreases the shear strength of soils more and more.
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