SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1962

Engineering Properties of Ocean Floor Soils


Increasing interest in use of the oceanic regions for various purposes necessitates development of ready means for determining variations in the supporting ability of sea floor soils. Some backlog of marine strength and consolidation information is available from foundation investigations for offshore shelf projects, and a few measurements have been made on deep-sea cores. Procedures to procure and test samples in near shore shallow waters have been developed; these are essentially modifications of the methods used on land. The techniques for investigating in normal oceanic depth waters are currently under examination. A sea floor soil program is comprised of preliminary site selection, bathymetric and sub-bottom survey, and core sampling, testing, and logging phases, each adapted to deep water circumstances. Measurement of shear strength of oceanographic cores by means of the laboratory vane appears to give acceptable results. Distinguishing the various abyssal muds and oozes can rapidly and accurately be done by X-ray diffractometry. Application of the seismologic approach and various types of in-place tests to deep-water soil investigations also show some promise.

Author Information

Smith, R.
U. S. Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory, Port Hueneme, Calif.
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 280–302
DOI: 10.1520/STP47046S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6904-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6598-4