The carbonate sediments found offshore on the North West Shelf of Australia can generally be described as silts with varying proportions of clay-sized and sand-sized carbonate particles. This paper investigates the undrained shearing response (as measured under simple shear and triaxial conditions) of two sediments with different grading curves. The importance of the fines content in controlling the density and hence dilatancy and undrained strength of the materials is demonstrated. The paper discusses the importance of fabric to the behavior of these soils and provides guidance on how undrained strengths of soils of this nature may be assessed with a knowledge of a material’s in-situ water content (or void ratio) and composition.

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