A Probabilistic Approach to Karstic Foundation Variability

by D. V. Griffiths, P.E., Ph.D., (F.ASCE), Professor of Civil Engineering; Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, d.v.griffiths@mines.edu,
Don Dotson, CEng., D.Sc., (M.ASCE), Chief Designer; Geo-Structural Design Group, AMEC, Nashville, TN, don.dotson@amec.com,
Jinsong Huang, Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Research Fellow; Centre for Geotechnical and Materials Modelling, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia, jinsong.huang@newcastle.edu.au,
, Ph.D.

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2014, Vol. 18, Issue 6, Pg. 44-48

Document Type: Feature article


Karst is a landscape formed in soluble rocks caused by movement of water that has become slightly acidic. Limestone, dolomite, and gypsum are vulnerable to these influences and may be characterized by sinkholes, caves, and underground drainage systems. Such conditions clearly present particular challenges and uncertainties for foundation engineers. This article describes how probabalistic tools were used to assess the influence of randomly distributed underground voids and caverns on the performance of drilled shaft foundations in karst to support a factory expansion project.

Subject Headings: Karst | Foundations | Drainage systems | Voids | Uncertainty principles | Solubility | Sinkholes


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