Ground surface settlement of loose sands densified with explosives


  • Carlos Alberto Vega-Posada Universidad de Antioquia
  • David Guillermo Zapata-Medina Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • Edwin Fabián García-Aristizabal Universidad de Antioquia


Blast densification, sands, gassy sands, field performance, settlements


This paper presents the results of a blast densification program conducted at a sanitary landfill located in South Carolina, U.S., to densify a liquefiable loose sand layer deposit and thus increase its resistance to liquefaction and flow during a seismic event. Five zones were selected for improvement, and a total of four blasting passes were implemented at each zone. Additionally, preblast CPT soundings were performed to determine the location of the loose sand layer, and thus define the distribution of the explosives. Topographic surveys were conducted along the centerline of the long direction to measure the ground surface settlements before and after each blast event. Measurements of ground surface settlements indicated that, regardless of the initial "apparent" decrease in penetration resistance commonly measured by standard verification tests, blast densification is an effective technique to increase the soil density. At the tested zones, the final relative densities varied from 65% to 91%. At these densities, the improved sand layer is not considered susceptible to liquefaction and flow, and a dilative response will be expected during a seismic event.   

= 22 veces | PDF (ESPAÑOL (ESPAÑA))
= 19 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Carlos Alberto Vega-Posada, Universidad de Antioquia

Facultad de Ingeniería

David Guillermo Zapata-Medina, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Departamento de Ingeniería Civil

Edwin Fabián García-Aristizabal, Universidad de Antioquia

Facultad de Ingeniería


S. Ashford, K. Rollins, J. Lane. “Blast-induced liquefaction for full-scale foundation testing.” Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. Vol. 130. 2004. pp. 798-806.

K. Rollins, J. Anderson. “Cone penetration resistance variation with time after blast liquefaction testing.” D. Zeng, M. Manzari, D. Hiltunen (editors). Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics. Vol. IV GSP 181. Ed. ASCE Labrary. Sacramento, USA. 2008. pp 1-10.

Z. Solymar. “Compaction of alluvial sands by deep blasting.” Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 21. 1984. pp. 305-321.

W. Camp, P. Mayne, K. Rollins. 2008. “Cone penetration testing before, during, and after blast-induced liquefaction.” D. Zeng; M. Manzari, D. Hiltunen (editores). Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics. Vol. IV, GSP 181. Ed. ASCE Labrary. Sacramento. USA. 2008. pp. 1-10.

A. Narsilio, J. Santamarina, T. Hebeler, R.Bachus. “Blast Densification: Multi-Instrumented Case History.” Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. Vol. 135. 2009. pp. 723-734.

G. Thomann, D. Hryciw. 1992. “Stiffness and strength changes in cohesionless soils due to disturbance.” Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 29. pp. 853-861.

C. Hall. “Compacting a dam foundation by blasting.” J Soil Mech. and Found. Div. ASCE. Vol. 88. 1962. pp. 33-51.

U. La Fosse. Improvements by Deep Blasting: Marine Corps Reserve Training Center. Westover Air Reserve Base. Company Report, GeoDesign, Inc. Massachusetts, USA. 2002. pp.148.

V. Raju, G. Gudehus. Compaction of loose sand deposits using blasting. Proc. Proceedings, 13rd International Conference on soil mechanics and foundation engineering. New Delhi, India. 1994. pp. 1145-1150.

Z. Solymar, B. Iloabachie, R. Gupta, L. Williams. “Earth foundation treatment at Jebba dam site.” Journal of Geotechnical Engineering. Vol. 110. 1984. pp.1415-1430.

A. Wild. “Tower foundations compacted with explosives.” Electr. World. Vol. 66. 1961. pp. 36-38.

W. Gohl, M. Jefferies, J. Howie, D. Diggle. “Explosive compaction: design, implementation and effectiveness.” Geotechnique Vol. 506. 2000. pp. 57-665.

W. Narin Van Court, J. Mitchell. “Soil improvement by blasting Part 1.” Explosives Engineering. Vol. 12. 1994. pp. 34-41.

GeoSyntec Consultants Inc. Ground improvement results of optimized blast densification program. Oakridge Sanitary Landfill, Dorchester, SC, Final Report - Project Number GD3397. Prepared for USA Waste Services, Inc. Atlanta. USA. 2005. pp.75.

F. Kulhawy, P. Mayne. Manual on estimating soil properties for foundation design. Cornell University. Final report. New York, USA. 1990. pp. 291.

R. Bachus, T. Hebeler, J. Santamarina, M. Othman, G. Narsilio. Use of field instrumentation and monitoring to assess ground modification by blast densification. Proceedings, 15th Great Lakes Geotechnical/ Geoenviromental Conference, Applications of geotechnical instrumentation for performance evaluation of constructed facilities. Indianapolis, USA. 2008. pp. 15.



How to Cite

Vega-Posada, C. A., Zapata-Medina, D. G., & García-Aristizabal, E. F. (2014). Ground surface settlement of loose sands densified with explosives. Revista Facultad De Ingeniería Universidad De Antioquia, (70), 9–17. Retrieved from

Most read articles by the same author(s)