Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Collapsing Soil Hazards

  • Andrew J. StumpfEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_70


Hazards of collapsible or metastable soils


Collapsing soil hazard. A major hazard to natural land, disturbed ground, or engineered structures worldwide resulting from the structural collapse of constituents in soil. In most cases, collapse occurs following the wetting and loading of unsaturated materials (unconsolidated sediments), but soils with higher moisture content such as quick clays may undergo collapse as well. Collapsible soils also include those sediments that contain perennial ice or permafrost that has subsequently melted.


Collapsing soils are not a local problem, but rather a worldwide phenomenon occurring on a variety of landscapes under different subsurface conditions. Soils may collapse catastrophically, but often signs of impending failure remain undetected especially in remote areas or on land modified by humans. The rate of collapsibility in soils depends on a number of factors such as their internal structure, moisture content and...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research InstituteUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA