Blasting Densifies Sand

by Zoltan V. Solymar, (M.ASCE), Asst. Chf. Geotechnical Engr.; Moneco Consultants Ltd., St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada,
James K. Mitchell, (F.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1986, Vol. 56, Issue 3, Pg. 46-48

Document Type: Feature article


Constructing the Jebba Dam on Nigeria's Niger River required in-place densification of large volumes of loose sand to record depths of up to 131 ft. Vibrocompaction was used in the top 82-98 ft, with blasting below that. Blasting resulted in significant surface settlements and a concurrent reduction in penetration resistance of the sand. Significant increases in penetration resistance were measured over a period of several months following blasting and vibrocompaction. The completed embankment dam is performing as expected, and foundation settlements are well within the design estimates.

Subject Headings: Soil settlement | Blasting effects | Sandy soils | Embankment dams | Dam foundations | Load and resistance factor design | Foundation settlement | Foundation design | Niger River

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