Engineering Geology Field Manual

A prepared reference for someone engaged in field-oriented engineering geology or ... guide is written for basic engineering geology use.

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The soil is a clean gravel or clean sand if the percentages of fines are visually estimated to be 5 percent or less. A clean gravel or sand is further classified by grain size distribution. The soil is classified as a WELL GRADED GRAVEL (GW), or as a WELL GRADED SAND (SW), if a wide range of particle sizes and substantial amounts of the intermediate particle sizes are present. The soil is classified as a POORLY GRADED GRAVEL (GP) or as a POORLY GRADED SAND (SP) if the material is predominantly one size (uniformly graded) or the soil has a wide range of sizes with some intermediate sizes obviously missing (gap or skip graded).

If the soil is visually estimated to contain 10 percent fines, give the soil a dual classification using two group symbols. The first group symbol should correspond to a clean gravel or sand (GW, GP, SW, SP), and the second symbol should correspond to a gravel or sand with fines (GC, GM, SC, SM). The typical name is the first group symbol plus "with clay" or "with silt" to indicate the plasticity characteristics of the fines. For example, WELL GRADED GRAVEL WITH CLAY (GW-GC); POORLY GRADED SAND WITH SILT (SP-SM).

Refer to figures 3-2 and 3-3. Note that the Laboratory Classification follows different criteria. Procedures and Criteria for Visual Classification of Coarse-Grained Soils A representative sample containing less than 50 percent fines is identified as a coarse-grained soil. The soil is a gravel if the percentage by weight of gravel is estimated to be more than the percentage of sand. The soil is a sand if the percentage by weight of sand is estimated to be more than the percentage of gravel. The soil is a clean gravel or clean sand if the percentages of fines are visually estimated to be 5 percent or less.

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