Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 482–493 | Cite as

Permeability and sedimentation characteristics of pleistocene fluvio-glacial deposits in the Dadu river valley, Southwest China

  • Guo-xiang Tu
  • Run-qiu HuangEmail author
  • Hui Deng
  • Yan-rong Li


There exist many fluvio-glacial deposits in the valley of Dadu River, Southwest China, which dates back to the Pleistocene. As some of the deposits are located within the seasonal water fluctuation zone of reservoirs, the seepage of groundwater acts as one of the key factors influencing their stability. Investigation into the sediment properties and permeability is, therefore, crucial for evaluating the sediment stability. In this study, in-situ permeability and sieving tests have been carried out to determine grain size distribution, correlations of permeability and hydraulic gradients, and relations between permeability and sedimentation properties. Test results indicate that the deposits are composed mostly of sands, gravels, cobbles and boulders, and the percentage of fines is less than 5%. The sediments have high densities, low porosities and natural moisture contents. At low hydraulic gradients, the seepage velocity obeys the Darcy’s law, while a non-Darcy permeability is observed with hydraulic gradient exceeding a certain value (about 0.5–0.7). The linear permeability coefficient ranges from 0.003 to 0.009 cm/s. Seepage failure occurs above a threshold between 1.1 and 1.5. The test data fit well with the non-linear permeability equations suggested by Forchheimer and Izbash. The non-Darcy permeability proves to be in accordance with the seepage equation suggested by Izbash with the power ‘m’ of about 0.6–0.7. The characteristic grain sizes of the studied deposits are found in a narrow range between 0.024 and 0.031 mm, which is much lower than the effective grain size (d 10).


Fluvio-glacial deposits Grain size distribution Linear and non-linear permeability Seepage failure 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guo-xiang Tu
    • 1
  • Run-qiu Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hui Deng
    • 1
  • Yan-rong Li
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geo-hazard Prevention and Geo-environment ProtectionChengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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