Estimating soil resistance at unsampled locations based on limited CPT data

  • Yongmin Cai
  • Jinhui LiEmail author
  • Xueyou Li
  • Dianqing Li
  • Limin Zhang
Original Paper


An assessment of soil properties at unsampled locations is a common requirement during the design of a geotechnical structure/system. Such an assessment is challenging due to inherent soil variability and the limited number of in situ tests currently available. Here we present a three-dimensional conditioned random field approach for the estimation of anisotropic soil resistance at unsampled locations based only on data from a limited number of cone penetration tests (CPT). The novelty of this work is that the measured CPT data at arbitrary locations can be combined with random field theory to update the estimated soil properties in three dimensions. The accuracy of the estimation can be improved significantly using the proposed method. A case study in Australia is conducted to illustrate the procedure and to assess the capability of the method. The results indicate that the mean values of the conditioned random fields are good estimates of the soil resistance at unsampled locations. The prediction error of the normalized cone penetration resistance is about 0.08 when there are only six CPT tests. A unique feature of this method is its ability to obtain high-resolution results of soil properties in three-dimensional space using a limited number of CPT tests.


Site investigation Random field Three dimensions High-dimensional posterior distribution Uncertainty 



The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51679060). This study represents part of the activities of the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems of the University of Western Australia.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yongmin Cai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jinhui Li
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xueyou Li
    • 3
  • Dianqing Li
    • 4
  • Limin Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringHarbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen)ShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems and ARC CoE for Geotechnical Science and EngineeringThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringThe Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong KongChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Key Laboratory of Rock Mechanics in Hydraulic structural Engineering (Ministry of Education)Wuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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