Geology 571-University of Calgary

Geology 571 – Engineering Geology

Soils – Part I (Midterm)

Geology (GLGY 571-UCAL) Soils

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Credits: Based on the excellent class notes provided by, Dr. Laurence R. Bentley during Fall 2014.
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Definitions and Key Concepts

The following list is based on the information from Geological Engineering textbook by Luis I. Gonzalez de Vallejo and Mercedes Ferrer (ISBN: 9780415413527). However, the definitions may have been re-worded, completely re-written or copied from open sourced projects to fit this particular course. Associated page number(s) are in parenthesis. Currently, the items are incomplete! This list may not even be updated until the end of 2014 Fall semester. Please use the above quiz for updated study guide.




activity(026,089): is the ratio of the plasticity index to the percentage of clay size particles.

anisotropic(041): preferred orientations that will change the behaviors of materials die to external forces.

Atterberg limits(024): The Atterberg limits are a basic measure of the critical water contents of a fine-grained soil, such as its shrinkage limit, plastic limit, and liquid limit.


Bernoulli’s theorem/principle(029):TBA

biological action(020): changes in soil (also rock) properties due to biological activities and breakdown of organic matter.

bulk density(027): the ratio of total mass to total volume, ρ

bulk unit weight(027): TBA


cementing agents(093): TBA

coefficient of permeability(030): k TBA

coefficient of uniformity(024): Cu TBA

cohesive soils(085): TBA

compression index(061): CcTBA

consistency(024): is the ratio of the water mass in the soil to the solid particle mass.

consolidation(023, 050): TBA

consolidation curve(071): TBA

critical hydraulic gradient(048):

chemical processes(020): changes in soil (also rock) properties due to chemical alterations.


Darcy’s law(031): TBA

deformability(021-23): a property in which a materials undergoes change from its original state.

degree of saturation(027): TBA

deviator stress(082): aka deviatoric stress.

discontinuity(???): TBA

dispersion(091): TBA

dispersion index(104): TBA

drained vs undrained(051): TBA

dry density(027): TBA


elevation head(029): is v2/2g where v is the discharge velocity at the point under consideration and g is the gravitational acceleration.

equipotential lines(34):


fall corn test(025): TBA

failure envelope(072): TBA

fine particle content(024): TBA

flocculation(091): TBA

flow lines(34):

frictional soils(085): TBA


geo-engineering(005): filed that deals with all aspects of egineering geology, rock mechanics, soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering.

geological engineering(004): the application of geological and engineering sciences to design and construction in civil, mining and petroleum engineering, and to environment.

geological model(015): a scientific model which repents the spatial distribution of materials, tectonic structures, geomorphologic and hydrogeologic data, and other characteristics of a given site and its area of influence.

geomechanical classification(008): a standardized quantification of engineering geological properties for construction applications.

geotechnical engineering(004):

geotechnical model(015): representation of spatial distribution of materials, tectonic structures, geomorphologic and hydrological data and other characteristics of a given area. They are used to predict the behaviors of geological materials before, during and after construction projects. Also read on geomecanical model(015) and ground behavior model(015).


hydraulic head(029): TBA

hydraulic gradient(31): the loss of piezometric head per unit length.


isomorphic substitution(088): TBA


liquid limit(024): TBA

liquidity index(030): TBA

loading conditions(051): read drained and undreained loading conditions.


oedometer test(065): TBA

oedometric modulus(068): TBA


physical processes(020): changes in soil (also rock) properties due to mechanical processes.

plasticity index(025): TBA

plastic limit(024): TBA

pore pressure(42): TBA

porosity(026): ratio of volume of voids to the total volume of soil n.

pressure head(029): TBA


relative index (density index)(028): TBA

residual soils(020): soils that developed in situ and remain in their original location.

residual strength(079):

rock mechanics(001): is a theoretical and applied science of the mechanical behavior of rock and rock masses.


saturated unit weight(027): TBA


shrinkage(102): TBA

shrinkage limit(024): TBA

soil mechanics(001): is a branch of engineering mechanics that describes the behavior of soils.

saturation(021): the volume of fluid(s) over a given mass.

specific gravity of solid soil particles(027): TBA

specific surface area(088): TBA

soil compression(041):

soil swelling(041):

swelling(102): TBA

swelling index(061): CsTBA


transported soils(020): soils that have been moved from the original location of formation.

triaxial test(079):


unit weight of solids(027): TBA

unit weight (specific weight)(027): TBA


velocity head(030): TBA

virgin compression line(057): TBA

void ratio(026): ratio of volume of voids to the total volume of soil, e.


water content(024, 27): TBA

weathering profile(020): is a vertical profile of weathering zones from surface to the subsurface. It is usually developed based on the data associated with physical and chemical weathering and biological actions.

Standing on the shoulders of giants