On the engineering geology of granite saprolite and its significance to the construction of Injaka Dam, South Africa.
Haskins, David Rodney.
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The intention of this work is to provide a deeper understanding of the engineering geological behaviour of granite saprolite and how this affects the engineering of such material, with specific reference to the construction of Injaka Dam in the north eastern portion of South Africa Whilst extensive investigation of weathered granites has been carried out internationally, very little detailed research on the nature of this material is documented locally. The construction of Injaka Dam afforded the opportunity to investigate the saprolite in detail. This study was initially submitted to the Department of Geology and Applied Geology at the University of Natal, Durban (renamed the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2004) to fulfill the requirement of a Master of Science degree in 200 I. Following this submission, and supported by recommendations made by the external examiners and the project supervisor, it was agreed to upgrade the work and submit this thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Intensive chemical weathering of granite at Injaka Dam site has resulted in the formation of thick saprolitic deposits overlying the weathered bedrock. The granite forms part of the 3 075 Ma Nelspruit Suite which has been intersected by the African erosion surface. The extensive, multicyclic period of weathering and erosion that formed this surface has resulted in deep (up to 35 m) chemical weathering of the underlying bedrock in this area. The construction of Injaka Dam on this material necessitated a thorough engineering geological investigation to understand the nature of the weathering and the possible influences it exerts on the engineering behaviour of the saprolite. This was accomplished by analysing the weathering of the granite and relating the effects of these weathering processes and changes to the engineering behaviour of the material. By applying various chemical and mineralogical indices to the weathered granite, the intensity of weathering and related changes could be quantified and compared with the engineering behaviour of the material. This was achieved by applying a series of engineering indices to the material and relating these to the quantified weathering changes. In this way tentative extrapolation of the engineering behaviour of the material could be gained and used to predict engineering performance. The resultant effects of the engineering behaviour of the material on the design and construction of the dam are also discussed.