Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky, Brian Marker

Characterization of Soils

  • Abdul ShakoorEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73568-9_48


Engineering behavior of soils; Engineering properties of soils


A soil is a loose, unconsolidated agglomeration of mineral particles that can be easily separated by hand pressure or by immersion in water (Johnson and DeGraff 1988) and that can be excavated without blasting (West 1995). Geologically, soils are the products of mechanical and/or chemical weathering of rocks (Marshak 2013).


Soils are one of the most widely encountered materials in engineering construction. Many engineering structures are either made of soil material (earth dams and levees) or founded on soils (buildings) or located within soils (tunnels and other underground structures). The design and stability of these structures depends on the engineering properties of soils involved.

Based on their origin, soils are categorized as residual or transported (Holtz et al. 2011). Residual soils remain at their place of origin, whereas transported soils are carried away from their place of...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyKent State UniversityKentUSA