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Geophysical and geotechnical characterization of a sensitive clay deposit in Brownsburg, Québec

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The results of a geophysical and geotechnical investigation in a sensitive clay deposit affected by numerous landslide scars in Vases Creek Valley near Brownsburg, Quebec, Canada are presented herein. The main objective of this investigation was to assess the suitability of electrical resistivity measurements in marine clay deposits for mapping out areas prone to flowslides. In addition to a 1.6 km-long electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) carried out perpendicular to the axis of the Vases Creek Valley, six piezocone penetration tests and five boreholes with sampling were also performed along the geophysical survey line. Moreover, standard geotechnical parameters and pore water salinity, as well as electrical resistivity of undisturbed clay samples were measured in the laboratory. According to the correlations found between the remoulded shear strength, the pore water salinity and the electrical resistivity, clay samples with salinity below 6.2 g/l are characterized by remoulded shear strength below 1 kPa and electrical resistivity above 2.8 and 10 m measured respectively in the field and in the laboratory. In such conditions, sensitive clay deposits can be prone to flowslides if all other criteria are also met. Based on this resistivity limit value, only one small area of nonsensitive clay was identified in the interpretative stratigraphic cross-section assessed from the field investigation. Otherwise, the deposit is entirely composed of sensitive clay. The ERT is a promising geophysical tool for the delineation of areas prone to large landslides in eastern Canada

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chapitre d'ouvrage