Structurally Enhanced Foundations: A Functional Solution to Thaw Strain in Frozen Sand and Gravel

by ldon R. Shaw, P.E.,

Part of: Permafrost Foundation: State of the Practice


Some building sites with perennially frozen soil profiles are developed using nonelevated, conventional-appearing foundation systems. These sites consist of frozen sands and gravels and frozen silts recently thawed in geologic time. This construction is feasible and economical if non-catastrophic thaw strain does not cause significant distress to a building's foundation system. Frozen sand and gravel soil profiles are among the most non-homogenous dealt with in arctic geotechnical engineering. Boundaries between perennially frozen soils and recently thawed soils are typically inclined. Fingers and pockets of frozen ground are observed within areas that are otherwise non-permafrost. Typical exploration is limited in scope. A reasonable number of exploratory borings made to some economical depth at a given site may fail to detect a finger of frozen ground intruding within an otherwise non-permafrost location. The discovery of limited frozen ground within a given site is a strong indicator of other limited pockets in some proximity.

Subject Headings: Frozen soils | Gravels | Strain | Soil stress | Permafrost | Geotechnical engineering | Foundations


Return to search