pp 1–18 | Cite as

Revisiting strength concepts and correlations with soil index properties: insights from the Dobkovičky landslide in Czech Republic

  • Jakub RoháčEmail author
  • Gianvito Scaringi
  • Jan Boháč
  • Petr Kycl
  • Jan Najser
Original Paper


Critical and residual states are key soil conditions relevant to slope stability. Evaluating the available shear strength in relation to these conditions is crucial for reliable stability analyses. However, limited availability of direct measurements in the usual engineering practice makes such evaluation seldomly straightforward. The issue is sometimes alleviated by utilising empirical correlations with soil index properties, more easily determinable, yet much care is needed in applying generic correlations to specific materials, as the related uncertainties might override their predictive capability. By analysing soil samples from the Dobkovičky landslide in Czech Republic, we discuss the extent to which some established correlations can be misleading, but also that relationships calibrated on site-specific data are not necessarily performing better. We then demonstrate that empirical models may fail to capture correlations if the sample set is rather homogeneous and noise from reasonable experimental uncertainties is introduced. Finally, we provide some guidelines on the use of different soil strength parameters, laboratory tests, and empirical relationships for slope stability analyses in engineering practice.


Residual shear strength Critical state Index properties Empirical correlation Slope stability Partial saturation 



The authors wish to thank SG Geotechnika, Gematest, and the laboratory of the Czech Geological Survey for providing part of the experimental data. The authors are grateful to the editor Prof. Anthony Leung, and to Dr. Anil Yildiz, and one anonymous referee for their helpful comments which contributed greatly to the current form of this work.

Funding information

This study is financially supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) under the Project 17-21903S. J. Roháč is supported by the Project 1488217 of the Grant Agency of Charles University (GAUK), G. Scaringi is financially supported by the Fund for International Mobility of Researchers at Charles University (project no. CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/16_027/0008495, key activity 1-PřF-GEOMOBIL).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology and Applied Geophysics, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Czech Geological SurveyPragueCzech Republic

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