Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 944–954 | Cite as

Shear strength of extremely altered serpentinites based on degree of saturation (Ankara, Turkey)

  • Koray UlamişEmail author


The term “mélange” has several definitions due to the origin, tectonic and petrographical features. The geotechnical engineering behaviors of mélanges are either dominated by different kinds of intact rock blocks or matrix material. Landslides were encountered within the serpentinite matrix of Ankara Mélange, which is a typical bimrock mass. The residual sections of the extremely altered serpentinites are sandy soils. Such soils undergo rapid change of saturation, leading to shear strength reduction. Undisturbed and disturbed samples were obtained from the outcrops for shear box tests. Geochemical and petrographical composition of the serpentinites were determined by XRF (X Ray Fluorescence), XRD (X-ray diffraction) and thin section inspections, in order to outline the alteration process. Based on field observations, physically decomposed core stones exist beneath 40–120 cm thick residual green and grey-dark grey residual sandy soil. Physical and mechanical properties of the soils were tested with particular emphasis on residual shear strength parameters. Disturbed samples were remolded by standard compaction. The field work was completed during both rainy and summer seasons. Disturbed samples were prepared using phase diagrams in order to attain varying saturation degree. Two distinct sandy soil groups were determined through classification tests. The volumetric compression and/or expansion of the loose and dense samples were also considered based on the angle of dilatancy. A series of consolidated and drained shear box tests were conducted with ascending degree of saturation. The reduction of effective apparent cohesion, internal friction angle and dilatancy angle were determined to obtain a threshold of the degree of saturation. All the sand samples had zero residual internal friction angle and/or apparent cohesion after reaching 70% degree of saturation.


Mélange Serpentinite Shear strength Saturation Dilatancy Ankara 


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This work was supported by the Scientific Project Branch of Ankara University (Project no: 13B4343004).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological EngineeringAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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