Blast densification: Multi-instrumented case history

Guillermo A. Narsilio*, Juan Carlos Santamarina, Tamara Hebeler, Robert Bachus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A comprehensive blast densification field study was conducted at a test site in South Carolina to densify a loose soil layer at a depth between z=8-13 m. The study included extensive laboratory and field characterizations and four carefully monitored blast events. Results revealed that densification is not an instantaneous phenomenon; underlying time-dependent processes involve resedimentation, drainage of excess pore pressure as the granular skeleton deforms and the effective stress recovers, and secondary settlement effects, which do not involve excess pore pressure dissipation. The degree of densification decreased in successive blasting events, and the soil gradually evolved toward an asymptotical terminal density associated with blast densification. The blasting sequence and detonation delays appeared to have a minor effect on shear-induced movements. The increase in penetration resistance manifested 2 years after four blasting-drainage events. Instead, surface settlement using standard surveying techniques, subsurface deformation assessment, and subsurface pore fluid pressure monitoring provided valuable, real-time indicators of the soil response to the blasting events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-734
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Blasting
  • Measurement
  • Settlement
  • Soil liquefaction
  • Soil stabilization
  • South Carolina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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