Explosive Compaction of Granular Soils and In Situ Liquefaction Testing Using Sequential Detonation of Explosives

W. Blair Gohl1, Todd Martin2 and Ron J. Elliott3

1Explosive Compaction Inc., 14613 64th Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, V3S 1X6.

2AMEC Earth and Environmental Ltd., 2224 Douglas Road, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, V5C 5A9.

3Pacific Blasting and Demolition Ltd., 3183 Norland Avenue, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, V5B 3A9.


This paper documents the successful application of explosive compaction technology for the densification of granular soils using case history data from a number of sites. The data include densification projects in urban areas, for dam foundations and for offshore structures. The paper provides general background information on the theory of explosive compaction of soils, design considerations, and the densification results achieved.

An offshoot technology using the sequential detonation of explosives is also described to evaluate in situ the seismic liquefaction potential of soil. This method is based on the use of a number of blast pulses to generate shearing strains within a test volume of soil, having similar strain magnitudes (or cyclic shear stress ratios) as a design level earthquake.

Keywords: Explosive compaction; blast densification; liquefaction testing.

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