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Publication - Dr Flavia De Luca

    Minding the geotechnical data gap

    appraisal of the variability of key soil parameters for slope stability modelling in Saint Lucia


    Shepheard, C, Vardanega, P, Holcombe, EA, Hen-Jones, R & De Luca, F, 2019, ‘Minding the geotechnical data gap: appraisal of the variability of key soil parameters for slope stability modelling in Saint Lucia’. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment, vol 78., pp. 4851?4864


    Identification of failure thresholds and critical uncertainties associated with slope stability often requires the specification of geotechnical parameter values for input into a physically-based model. The variation of these parameters (including mechanical soil properties such as effective friction angle and cohesion) can have a significant impact on the computed factor of safety. These uncertainties arise from natural variations in soils, measurement techniques, and lack of reliable information. Researchers may use statistical analysis coupled with numerical simulation to determine possible ranges of slope factors of safety and the relative influence of geotechnical and other parameters, such as topsoil depth and rainfall. This study investigates the variation of geotechnical parameters observed on the island of Saint Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean. A database of particle size distributions, in-situ moisture contents, Atterberg and direct shear box test results is compiled from 91 samples of tropical soils in Saint Lucia. A study of various probability distributions shows that the Weibull distribution may be favoured for the effective friction angle of the Saint Lucian soils considered based on the Akaike information criterion, employed as an estimator of the relative quality of statistical models dealing with the trade-off between goodness-of-fit and simplicity of the model.

    Full details in the University publications repository