Variability and characteristics of eastern Saudi Sabkha soils



O. S. B.AI-Amoudi, S.A.Aiban & H. I.AI-Abdul Wahhab




Sabkha soils constitute relatively a large proportion of the eastern Saudi surficial soils. These soils possess low density and strength in their natural state. Many geotechnical problems are associated with these soils due to their high salt content and their susceptibility to strength loss and collapse upon wetting. Further, the heterogeneity of sabkha soils is reflected by their variable characteristics and layering of different constituents, even within the same site. Accordingly, the retrieval of representative samples tends to be a fundamental problem facing the geotechnical society.           In order to study the variability of sabkha soils and their engineering characteristics, samples were collected from 20 pits distributed all over the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. For each pit, the morphology of the sabkha was described and representative samples were taken for soil characterization and classification. In addition, compaction and CBR tests were conducted to determine the optimum moisture content from both density and strength perspectives. Results of this investigation indicate that sabkha soils in eastern Saudi Arabia exhibit significant variability and the strength is mainly dependent on the moisture content regardless of the dry density.