Recovery of Strength Along Shear Surfaces in Clay Soils

  • Angelo DoglioniEmail author
  • Vincenzo Simeone


The residual shear strength as operative strength along the shear surface is commonly used for analyzing the stability of reactivated landslides. On this base, it is not possible to have brittle failure or progressive failure mechanisms. In fact, these kinds of phenomena claim for a recovery of strength along the shear surface, which is due to ageing effects during the quiescence time. Several tests on clay samples were performed using Bromhead ring shear apparatus to verify the presence of shear strength recovery. Tests showed that recovery of strength are present along the shear surface. Moreover, they proved the stress-stain behavior is characterized by a brittle failure after that the strength, along the shear surface, falls again to the residual value.


Residual strength Ageing Recovery of strength Shear surface Quiescent landslide Clayey soils Thixotropy 



We wish to thank Mr. Valerio Del Prete and Mr. Emanuele Fontana, who during their master Thesis work at the Engineering Faculty of Taranto, cooperated to arrange the tests presented by this work.


  1. Angeli MG, Gasparetto P (2003) Simple mechanisms for strength regain on the slip surface of stop-start mudslides. IC-FSM2003, vol 2, Sorrento, 11–13 May 2003, pp 151–158Google Scholar
  2. Angeli MG, Gasparetto P, Bromhead EN (2004) Strength-regain mechanisms in intermittently moving slides. In: Proceedings of the 9th international symposium on landslides, vol 1, Rio de Janeiro, Brasile, June 2004, pp 689–696Google Scholar
  3. Bromhead EN (1979) A simple ring shear apparatus. Ground Eng 12(5):40–44Google Scholar
  4. Carrubba P, Del Fabbro M (2006) Resistenza residua alla riattivazione del flysch di Cormons. Rivista Italiana di Geotecnica 1:28–51Google Scholar
  5. Cotecchia V (1986) Ground deformations and slope instability produced by the earthquake of 23 November 1980 in Campania and Basilicata. In: Proceedings of the international symposium on engineering geology problems in seismic srea, vol 5, Bari, pp 31–100Google Scholar
  6. D’Elia B, Esu F, Pellegrino A Pescatore TS (1985) Some effects on natural slope stability induced by the 1980 Italian earthquake. In: Proceedings of the 11th international conference on soil mechanics and foundation engineering, vol 4, San Francisco, pp 1943–1950Google Scholar
  7. Di Maio C (1996) The influence of pore fluid composition on the residual shear strength of some natural clayey soils. In: Proceedings of the 7th international symposium on landslides, vol 2. Balkerma, Trondheim, pp 1189–1194Google Scholar
  8. Gibo S, Egashira K, Ohtsubo M, Nakamura S (2002) Strength recovery from residual state in reactivated landslide. Geotechnique 52(9):683–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guerricchio A, Melidoro G, Simeone V (1996) Le grandi frane di Petacciato sul versante costiero adriatico (Molise). Mem Soc Geol Ital 51:607–632Google Scholar
  10. Hawkins AB, Mc Donald C (1992) Decalcification and residual shear strength reduction in Fuller’s Earth clay. Geotechnique 42(3):453–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lupini JF, Skinner AE, Vaughan PR (1981) The drained residual strength of cohesive soils. Geotechnique 31(2):181–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mitchell JK (1961) Fundamental aspects of thixotropy in soils. J Soil Mech Found Div Proc ASCE 126(1):1586–1620Google Scholar
  13. Osipov VI, Nikolaeva SK, Sokolov VN (1984) Microstructural changes associated with thixotropic phenomena in clay soils. Geotechnique 34(2):293–303Google Scholar
  14. Schmertmann JH (1992) The mechanical aging of soils. J Geotech Eng 117(9):1288–1330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Simeone V (1993a) Recovery of strength along shear surface in clay soils, where residual strength has been reached as a consequence of previous movements, In: 7th young geotechnical engineer’s conference, Böblingen,7–11 Sept 1993, pp 1.34–1.36Google Scholar
  16. Simeone V (1993b) Recuperi di resistenza lungo superfici di taglio in terreni argillosi, Gruppo Nazionale di Coordinamento per gli Studi di Ingegneria del C.N.R.- Attività di ricerca 1992–1993, pp 153–156Google Scholar
  17. Simeone V (2007) Recovery of strength along shear surface in clay soils. Geophysical Research Abstract, vol 9. 2007 EGU General Assembly 2007Google Scholar
  18. Skempton AW (1964) The long-term stability of clay slopes. Geotechnique 14(2):75–102Google Scholar
  19. Skempton AW (1985) Residual strength of clay in landslide, folded data and the laboratory. Geotechnique 35(1):3–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Skempton AW, Northey RD (1952) The sensitivity of clays. Geotechnique 14(2):77–101Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engineering Faculty of TarantoTechnical University of BariTarantoItaly

Personalised recommendations