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7.6 GEOSTATIC STRESSES

Stresses within a soil mass are caused by the self-weight of the soil and the external applied load. The stress patterns due to these effects are complicated. The magnitude of the subsurface stresses is affected by the presence of groundwater. Stresses induced by the overburden pressure are called geostatic stresses. This situation gives rise to simple stress calculations when the ground surface is horizontal, and there is no marked variation of the soil properties in the horizontal direction.

Hence, the vertical stress caused by the soil at a point below the surface is equal to the weight of the soil lying directly above the point. Considering the unit weight, γ, to be constant with depth, the vertical stress, σv due to overburden at a depth z from the ground surface is given as (Fig. 7.7.a)


  

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