March 3, 2020

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Leon Cortes Coauthored a Paper on Strength Anisotropy of Clays in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal

Leon Cortes (Illinois) coauthored a paper entitled "Stiffness and Strength Anisotropy of Overconsolidated Bootlegger Cove Clays" that was published in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal on January 7, 2020.

Leon's coauthors were David G. Zapata-Medina (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín), Richard J. Finno (Northwestern University), and Luis G. Arboleda-Monsalve (University of Central Florida).     

Leon is a staff engineer based in Illinois with experience in reviewing geotechnical data, performing geotechnical analyses, writing technical reports, and preparing and reviewing design drawings. Prior to Geosyntec, Leon worked as a design engineer for a geotechnical engineering company based in Medellin, Colombia, that specializes in consulting for urban construction.

Published since 1963, the Canadian Geotechnical Journal features articles, notes, reviews, and discussions related to new developments in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, and applied sciences.


This paper presents the evaluation of the stiffness and strength anisotropy of overconsolidated (OC) Bootlegger Cove Formation (BCF) clays at the Port of Alaska, formerly known as the Port of Anchorage. The stiffness and strength anisotropic material response was evaluated based on triaxial samples equipped with internal instrumentation including a submersible load cell and three subminiature LVDTs. Three sets of bender elements were used in this research to measure shear wave velocities for different propagation and polarization directions. The effects of reproducing the stress history of the soil deposit on the stiffness cross-anisotropic behavior of the material are discussed. The laboratory test results are compared to in situ measurements of shear wave velocities based on suspension logging, crosshole and downhole soundings. The results of the experimental program showed that BCF clay is a cross-anisotropic material. Mean stiffness anisotropy ratios ranged from 0.90 to 1.22 and 0.93 to 1.46 for lightly OC and OC conditions, respectively. Strength anisotropy ratios, defined as the ratio of undrained shear strength under triaxial extension to compression, varied between 0.8 and 0.5 with the strength anisotropy ratio decreasing with the overconsolidation level. It is found that reproducing the stress history of the OC soil deposit during the laboratory reconsolidation stage did not have a significant impact on the initial stiffness anisotropy ratios of the BCF clay.

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