Abstract

Equations to calculate the modulus reduction curve (G/Gmax-γ) and material damping ratio curve (D-γ) of calcareous clay and clayey carbonate mud of the Bay of Campeche and Tabasco Coastline are developed. This was achieved using a database of 156 resonant column tests and 468 strain-controlled cyclic direct simple shear tests performed in clays with 10 % ≤ CaCO3 ≤90 %. The effects of carbonate content (CaCO3), mean effective confining pressure (σm), plasticity index (PI), and overconsolidation ratio (OCR) on the shape of the modulus reduction and material damping ratio curves are shown based on the available laboratory data and the equations developed to calculate these curves. It is shown that as CaCO3 increases, the normalized shear modulus (G/Gmax) curve tends to shift downward and the damping ratio (D) curve tends to shift upward; as σm and PI increase, the G/Gmax curve tends to shift upward and the damping ratio curve tends to shift downward; and the value of OCR has practically no effect on the position of the curves. The validation of the calculated values of G/Gmax and D shows the best predictions are found at low shear strains for G/Gmax and at large shear strains for D, falling within ± 25 % of the measured values, and shows that due to limitations in the model at large strains (γ > 1 %) for G/Gmax and at low strains (γ < 0.05 %) for D, the calculated values fall within ± 50 % of the measured values. The equations developed to calculate the curves of G/Gmax-γ and D-γ of calcareous clay and clayey carbonate mud are recommended for preliminary or perhaps even final seismic site response evaluations. However, considering the scatter of the data points around the curves, the equations should be used with caution, and parametric and sensitivity studies are strongly recommended to assess the importance of this scatter. In large critical projects, direct experimental determinations of G/Gmax and D for the soils of interest are suggested to be more appropriate.

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