Geotechnical engineering characterization of sediments at DSDP Leg 72 Holes

The hydraulic piston coring device (HPC-15) allows recovery of deep ocean sediments with minimal disturbance. The device was used during Leg 72 of the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) aboard the Glomar Challenger. Core samples were recovered from bore holes in the Rio Grande Rise in the southwest Atlantic Ocean. Relatively undisturbed sediment cores were obtained from Holes 515A, 516, 517, and 518. The results of shipboard physical property measurements and on-shore geotechnical laboratory tests on these cores are presented in this chapter. A limited number of 0.3 m cores were obtained and used in a series of geotechnical tests, including one-dimensional consolidation, direct shear, Atterburg limit, particle size analysis, and specific gravity tests. Throughout the testing program, attention was focused on assessment of sample disturbance associated with the HPC-15 coring device. The HPC-15 device limits sample disturbance reasonably well in terrigenous muds (clays). However, sample disturbance associated with coring calcareous sediments (nannofossil-foraminifer oozes) is severe. The noncohesive, granular behavior of the calcareous sediments is vulnerable to severe disturbance, because of the design of the sampling head on the device at the time of Leg 72. A number of modifications to the sampling head design are recommended and discussed in this chapter. The modifications will improve sample quality for testing purposes and provide longer unbroken core samples by reducing friction between the sediment column and the sampling tool.

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