Geophysical and geotechnical characterization of shallow subsurface soil: a case study of University of Peshawar and surrounding areas

Abstract

The proper design and successful construction of engineered structures require determination of the engineering properties of the soil. These properties, however, are conventionally determined in the laboratory using soil samples collected from the construction site. The collection of soil samples is generally an expensive and time-consuming activity, while the extraction of an undisturbed soil sample is difficult. Furthermore, there are wide variations in the temporal and spatial properties of soil and their accurate evaluation requires high-density sampling. Recently, electric resistivity surveying has attracted much attention. It is commonly applied in the analysis of engineering sites, as it is rapid, cost-effective, and non-destructive. Based on this hypothesis, electrical resistivity was measured at four boreholes in the areas surrounding the University of Peshawar using standard methods of resistivity survey, i.e., Schlumberger electrode configuration. The resistivity data that was obtained by vertical electrical sounding (VES) from the fieldwork was correlated with geotechnical data obtained through the analysis of soil samples in the laboratory. Electrical resistivity had an inverse relationship with gravimetric moisture content and cohesion, with the highest regression coefficients observed in the case of GYM-UAP and Girls’ Hostel-UAP (R2 = 0.97 and 0.96) boreholes, respectively. Moreover, electrical resistivity had a significant linear correlation with the angle of internal friction and standard penetration test-N (SPT-N) values, with the highest regression coefficient of GYM-UAP (R2 = 0.99) and Girls’ Hostel-UAP (R2 = 0.95), respectively. In conclusion, the obtained relationships between electrical resistivity and different geotechnical properties could be adopted for the assessment of geotechnical properties of soils, especially when many samples are difficult to obtain.

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Funding

Financial support and research facilities were provided by the National Centre of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar, 25120, Peshawar, Pakistan.

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Correspondence to Allah Ditta.

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Responsible Editor: Zeynal Abiddin Erguler

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Islam, I., Ahmed, W., Rashid, M.U. et al. Geophysical and geotechnical characterization of shallow subsurface soil: a case study of University of Peshawar and surrounding areas. Arab J Geosci 13, 949 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-020-05947-x

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Keywords

  • Cohesion
  • Angle of internal friction
  • Electrical resistivity
  • Correlation
  • SPT-N
  • Geotechnical properties