Evaluation of mechanical and petrophysical properties of the karst limestone became essential to avoid future risks in the construction of new urban cities built on limestones. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate the impact of karsts phenomena on engineering properties of limestone foundation bed at Ar Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Three hundred core plugs were obtained by rotary drilling at depths ranging from the ground surface to 20 m collected from 24 boreholes in two sites: (1) karst limestone (KL) at Al Aziziyah district and (2) massive hard limestone (HL) at Hittin district in Ar Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia. Petrographic, SEM, EDX, and XRD analyses are used to identify the mineralogical composition and microstructures of limestone samples. The petrophysical properties included the ovendry density, P-wave, and porosity where the mechanical properties covered the uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), point load strength index (PLI), and rock quality designation (RQD) for the karst and hard limestone samples. KL is characterized by 17.11% total porosity, 14.71% water absorption, 32.1 MPa UCS, 1.70 g/cm3 ovendry density (γ dry), 51% weathered RQD, 5.49 MPa medium shear strength, and low modulus of deformation of the plate loading test. HL showed 11.63% total porosity, 9.45% water absorption 43.1 MPa UCS, 2.50 g/cm3 ovendry density (γ dry), 78% hard to fresh rock affinity RQD, and 9.93 MPa high strength and high modulus of deformation of the plate loading test. For the water absorption (%), KL at Al Aziziyah district showed a range of 12.85–17.80% averaged 14.71%. HL at Hittin district varied between 7.04 and 11.29% with an average of 9.45%. KL proved to be dense with ovendry density (γ dry) averaged at 1.70 g/cm3 while HL showed very dense affinity of 2.50 g/cm3. KL clarified a UCS range from 22.5 to 40.1 MPa and an average of 32.1 MPa while HL showed a range from 35.4 t o 48.1 MPa with an average of 43.1 MPa. KL is moderately weathered with RQD average of 51% while HL showed a hard to fresh rock affinity of 78%. Point load test clarified a medium shear strength with 5.49 MPa for KL and high strength of 9.93 MPa for HL. Plate loading tests indicated low and high modulus of deformation for KL and HL, respectively. Results of petrographical analyses and XED of limestone samples showed that the strength parameters of samples mostly composed of micrite (mudstone/wackestone) and dolomite in hard limestone of Hittin district. In Al Aziziyah district (KL), the samples mostly consist of foraminifera and high amount of calcite as in karst limestone (wackestone/packstone). Rock mechanical tests with combination of fabric analyses have shown that strength parameters depend not only on the amount of karst but also on the amount of allochem. Major geomechanical differences between the two types of limestone provide the proper base for prioritizing areas to alleviate future risks and sustainable urban planning for decision makers. The karstic limestone, therefore, is considered as an acceptable foundation bed for light engineering structures. However, for heavy structures and buildings, improving the foundation bed strength by grouting, cement injection, and mat foundations is necessary to avoid future failure risks.
Arabian Journal of Geosciences – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 9, 2017
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