Results of investigations into the stability of coal mine spoil consisting of thick clay, saturated sand, and shale overburden in an areal strip mine are presented. Atterberg limits, particle size distributions, and compaction tests were performed to provide index characteristics of the materials. Unconsolidated undrained and consolidated undrained triaxial compression test results on 10·2 cm diameter samples of compacted shale and shale-soil mixtures were used to investigate the short-term and the long-term conditions respectively of the spoil slope. There is evidence that the failure envelope of mine spoil made up of shale or shale-soil mixture is curved. However, stability analyses reveal that the use of strength parameters defined by a linear Mohr-Coulomb envelope yields results that are comparable with those obtained when the non-linear failure envelope is used, provided that such strength parameters are defined at the operating normal stress level on the failure surface. The study illustrates a very good case of spoil instability resulting from very thick overburden soils of low strength and high water content. Results show that the key to achieving stability in such areas lies in an almost total segregation of the soils from the rocks.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 05/1987; 12(3):289 – 300. DOI:10.1002/esp.3290120307