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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 19, Number 5, December10 2019 , pages 393-405

Geotechnical characteristics and empirical geo-engineering relations of the South Pars Zone marls, Iran
Mohammad Azarafza, Akbar Ghazifard, Haluk Akgün and Ebrahim Asghari-Kaljahi

    This paper evaluates the geotechnical and geo-engineering properties of the South Pars Zone (SPZ) marls in Assalouyeh, Iran. These marly beds mostly belong to the Aghajari and Mishan formations which entail the gray, cream, black, green, dark red and pink types. Marls can be observed as rock (soft rock) or soil. Marlstone outcrops show a relatively rapid change to soils in the presence of weathering. To geotechnically characterise the marls, field and laboratory experiments such as particle-size distribution, hydrometer, Atterberg limits, uniaxial compression, laboratory direct-shear, durability and carbonate content tests have been performed on soil and rock samples to investigate the physico-mechanical properties and behaviour of the SPZ marls in order to establish empirical relations between the geo-engineering features of the marls. Based on the experiments conducted on marly soils, the USCS classes of the marls is CL to CH which has a LL ranging from 32 to 57% and PL ranging from 18 to 27%. Mineralogical analyses of the samples revealed that the major clay minerals of the marls belong to the smectite or illite groups with low to moderate swelling activities. The geomechanical investigations revealed that the SPZ marls are classified as argillaceous lime, calcareous marl and marlstone (based on the carbonate content) which show variations in the geomechanical properties (i.e., with a cohesion ranging from 97 to 320 kPa and a friction angle ranging from 16 to 35 degrees). The results of the durability tests revealed that the degradation potential showed a wide variation from none to fully disintegrated. According to the results of the experiments, the studied marls have been classified as calcareous marl, marlstone and argillaceous lime due to the variations in the carbonate and clay contents. The results have shown that an increase in the carbonate content leads to a decrease in the degradation potential and an increase in the density and strength parameters such as durability and compressive strength. A comparison of the empirical relationships obtained from the regression analyses with similar studies revealed that the results obtained herein are reasonably reliable.
Key Words
    Assalouyeh; marl; physio-mechanical properties; carbonate content; South Pars Zone
Mohammad Azarafza and Akbar Ghazifard: Department of Geology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

Haluk Akgün: Geotechnical Unit, Department of Geological Engineering, Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey

Ebrahim Asghari-Kaljahi: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran

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