Geotechnik der Moränen

  • Friedrich Grube
Conference paper


The geotechnical properties of moraines are generally considered to be more or less uniform. Frequent observations at building sites, however, have proved the contrary.

The petrographic composition of glacial sediments is extremely variable. All rock- and earth-material eroded and transported by ice is indicated as moraines. Distinction is made between moraines of distant and local origin. Moraines of distant origin in Northern Germany consist of rock and soil from Scandinavia and the Baltic. In basal tills such material evolved by lodgement or melt-out. Sole tills contain the total sheared and compressed local rock material. The composition changes after short distances.

On the other hand, the petrographic composition of ground moraines is only subordinately influenced by local material and therefore much more uniform over great distances. Till of the Drenthe-Glacial from Juetland and Schleswig-Kolstein can easily be mistaken for a ground moraine of Lower Saxony and the Netherlands of the same period.

The youngest, sandy tili of the Warthe-Glacial compares with the Drenthe- moraines, but is found only at the lower Elbe, in NE-Lower Saxony and in Schleswig-Holstein. The tili of the Niendorf-Formation (Middle Saale Glacial) is rieh in clay, lime and flint. The darkgrey Elstermoraine is characterized by low lime-content and high stiffness. It is found in deep excavations only.

A main target of all mappings for foundation engineering purposes is to distinguish the different morphologic (drumlins etc.), genetic and stratigraphic types of moraines as to their influences on project and design. Thickness, facies and other relevant geotechnical parameters can be presented according to the selected scale. The usual soil mechanical parameters require refinements and additions in order to describe the ränge of properties of the ground moraines.

Critical experiences have been made very often in foundation engineering with the uncalculable occurrance of foundlings and erratic blocks of different rock types. The dark tili of the Elster Glacial is often highly Consolidated and causes problems during excavation or anchoring measures. The Niendorf tili is stable in slopes but difficult to excavate. The tili of the Drenthe-, Fuhlsbuettel- (Warthe-) and Weichsel Periods have proved to be critical due to their varying stiffness. Shear failures in the Drenthe tili have caused considerable damage, and the Fuhlsbuettel tili as well as the Pudasjärvi tili in Finland are known for their pseudothixotropic behaviour (pudding moraine).

The reasons for these variable geotechnical properties are manifold. First of all, the petrographic and geochemical parameters are of great importance. Furthermore, the degree of weathering, the diagenetic and the glacial consolidation have to be mentioned. Experience has shown that also the stratigraphic position of the tills is of considerable importance for the engineering geological assessment. Concluding studies are in progress.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Friedrich Grube
    • 1
  1. 1.Geologisches Landesamt Schleswig-HolsteinKielGermany

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