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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2019-22
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2019-22
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Feb 2019

Research article | 06 Feb 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

Subsurface structures of a quick-clay sliding prone area revealed using land-river reflection seismic data and hydrogeological modelling

Silvia Salas-Romero1, Alireza Malehmir1, Ian Snowball1, and Benoît Dessirier1,2 Silvia Salas-Romero et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, 75236, Sweden
  • 2Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, 10691, Sweden

Abstract. Quick-clay landslides are common geohazards in Nordic countries and Canada. The presence of potential quick clays is confirmed using geotechnical investigations, but near-surface geophysical methods, such as seismic and resistivity surveys, can also help identifying coarse-grained materials associated to the development of quick clays. We present the results of reflection seismic investigations on land and in part of the Göta River in Sweden, along which many quick-clay landslide scars exist. This is the first time that such a large-scale reflection seismic investigation has been carried out to study the subsurface structures associated with quick-clay landslides. The results also show a reasonable correlation with the radio magnetotelluric and traveltime tomography models. The morphology of the river bottom and riverbanks, as e.g. subaquatic landslide deposits, is shown by side-scan sonar and bathymetric data. Undulating bedrock, covered by subhorizontal sedimentary glacial and postglacial deposits is clearly revealed. An extensive coarse-grained layer exists in the sedimentary sequence and is interpreted and modelled in a regional context. Individual fractures and fracture zones are identified within bedrock and sediments. Hydrological modelling of the coarse-grained layer confirms its potential for transporting fresh water infiltrated in fractures and nearby outcrops. The groundwater flow in the coarse-grained layer promotes leaching of marine salts from the overlying clays by slow infiltration and/or diffusion, which helps in the formation of potential quick clays. Magnetic data show coarse-grained materials at the landslide scar located in the study area, which may have acted as a sliding surface together with quick clays.

Silvia Salas-Romero et al.
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Silvia Salas-Romero et al.
Data sets

Land reflection seismic, hydrogeological and magnetic study of an area prone to quick-clay landslides in southwest Sweden, Swedish National Data Service, Version 1.0 S. Salas-Romero, A. Malehmir, I. Snowball, and B. Dessirier https://doi.org/10.5878/acbv-h350

Land reflection seismic, hydrogeological and magnetic study of an area prone to quick-clay landslides in southwest Sweden, Swedish National Data Service, Version 1.0 S. Salas-Romero, A. Malehmir, I. Snowball, and B. Dessirier https://doi.org/10.5878/md19-qw71

Land reflection seismic, hydrogeological and magnetic study of an area prone to quick-clay landslides in southwest Sweden, Swedish National Data Service, Version 1.0 S. Salas-Romero, A. Malehmir, I. Snowball, and B. Dessirier https://doi.org/10.5878/a8xn-fc97

Land reflection seismic, hydrogeological and magnetic study of an area prone to quick-clay landslides in southwest Sweden, Swedish National Data Service, Version 1.0 S. Salas-Romero, A. Malehmir, I. Snowball, and B. Dessirier https://doi.org/10.5878/19t9-js25

Silvia Salas-Romero et al.
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Short summary
Land-river reflection seismic, hydrogeological modelling, and magnetic investigations in an area prone to quick-clay landslides in SW Sweden provide a detailed description of the subsurface structures, such as undulating fractured bedrock, and a sedimentary sequence of intercalating leached and unleached clay, and coarse-grained deposits. Hydrological properties of the coarse-grained layer help understanding its role in the leaching process that leads to the formation of quick clays in the area.
Land-river reflection seismic, hydrogeological modelling, and magnetic investigations in an area...
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