A knowledge of past overburden thickness is useful for designing underground structures such as waste repositories. This study attempts to determine if a correlation can be made between a geologic estimate and two types of geotechnical calculations of past overburden thickness. In the Pierre-Hayes area, Late Cretaceous Pierre Shales is the only bedrock present, but clasts of the Miocene Ogallala Formation were found in the Pleistocene deposits, suggesting that rocks of the Ogallala Formation once covered this area. Based on the geologic estimate, the Ogallala surface was 1100 ft higher than the present surface. Of the two types of geotechnical data acquired for the Hayes site, the laboratory overconsolidation ratios indicate a past overburden thickness value of 2300 ft, whereas the in situ pressuremeter overconsolidation ratios indicate 1318 ft. We, therefore, believe that in situ determination is a better indicator of past overburden that the laboratory results. However, why the two test results differ to this degree is unknown at present.-from Authors
Additional publication details
Comparing geotechnical to geologic estimates for past overburden in the Pierre-Hayes, South Dakota area: an argument for in-situ pressuremeter determination ( USA).