Engineers Australia

Spacial variability of the soil at the Ballina National Field Test Facility

J.H. Li, J. Huang, M.J. Cassidy and R. Kelly


This paper investigates the soil properties, stratigraphy and spatial variability of the soils at the National Field Test Facility in Ballina based on extensive CPTU tests. The soil profile in this site consists of an alluvial crust over a relatively weaker layer of clay and underlain with a layer of sand and Pleistocene age stiff clay. The measured cone penetration resistance, sleeve friction and pore pressure for 26 CPTUs are presented along with the deployment of the CPTUs. The spatial variability in both vertical and horizontal direction of each layer of soils is explored based on the CPTU tests. An exponential autocorrelation function is found to best fit the autocorrelation coefficients. The scale of fluctuation in the vertical direction is 0.04 m in the alluvial crust layer, which is much smaller than that in the underlying clay layer, 0.15 m. The reason is that the clay was deposited under lower energy conditions compared to the more granular crust layers. The horizontal scale of fluctuation is 9.21 m in the alluvial crust layer and 4.92 m in the clay layer.