Field and laboratory testing of St. Peter sandstone

M. Dittes, Joseph F Labuz

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17 Scopus citations


The purpose of this project was to evaluate mechanical properties of St. Peter sandstone by in situ testing, and to compare the field data with laboratory results. Direct shear tests were conducted to evaluate the strength-dilatancy behavior, and thin-section microscopy was used to help explain the significant friction angles associated with the material. St. Peter sandstone is nearly cohesionless, but it possesses a friction angle of 57-63° at low confinement. The large angle of internal friction at failure may be due to locking of sand particles or to postdepositional quartz overgrowths. Tests on pulverized densely packed sand and loosely packed sand were conducted in the same manner as the intact specimens and yielded friction angles of about 42 and 34°. Pressuremeter tests were performed in situ and the results were interpreted using an elasto-plastic analysis in terms of total stresses. By appropriate consideration of system stiffness, Young's modulus was found to be about 0.5 GPa, slightly lower than the laboratory value, although unload-reload cycles were not attempted. Assuming associative behavior, the friction angle was estimated to be at least 56°.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-380
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2002


  • Dilatancy
  • Laboratory tests
  • Rocks
  • Sand
  • Shear tests


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