Comparative Study on Degradability Characteristics of Evaporitic and Carbonate Rocks from Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

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The slake durability index (SDI) test is a well know and extensively used to measure the degradability behaviour of rocks especially for weak rocks like mudstone, shale, evaporites, carbonates, etc. The degradability of rocks plays a critical role in engineering design process either on or in the rock mass for safe and sustainable structures. Evaporitic and carbonate rocks are vulnerable to physical, chemical and mechanical weathering, break down, as result of wetting-drying processes during the SDI test. Evaporites and carbonates are outcropped at the surface and subsurface of the Al Ain city, which is located on the south-eastern of Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at various level, and it is one of the rapid growing cities in the UAE. However, the detailed comparative data on the slaking behaviour of evaporites and carbonates are not available presently in the study area. Therefore, this paper provides a comparative study on the degradability characteristics of evaporitic and carbonate rocks in the city of Al Ain as well as comprehensive data for the study area. 142 rock blocks (∼ 40×40×40 cm3 in size), which represent evaporitic (48 blocks) and carbonate (94 blocks) rocks were collected from various accessible either surfaces outcrops or excavated areas from the study area. 48 and 94 slake durability test samples of evaporites and carbonates were prepared and slake durability tests were performed according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. Furthermore, their compositional and textural characteristics were examined using polarized-light microscope, X-ray diffractometry (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The degradability data for evaporite and carbonate rocks designate medium to very low and extremely high to very high values based on the classification after multiple cycling, Id1 to Id4, processes, respectively. The weight loss values from the first to the fourth cycles (Id1-Id4) of evaporite and carbonate samples are approximately 24-95 and 0.68-4.22 wt%. Obviously, evaporites are highly vulnerable compare to carbonates because of their differences in chemical and mineralogical structures and their reactions to the slaking fluid of distilled water. Hydration-dehydration effects on the evaporitic rocks may occur within short time compare to the carbonate rocks due to their natural occurrences. Thus, this study provide comparable and details information for the degradability characteristics of evaporitic and carbonate rocks, and likely improve the understanding of the durability of both rock types in the study area and elsewhere. Especially, such a reliable and inclusive information will compromise a practical guideline for engineers and decision makers to overcome difficulties on durability problems associated with evaporites and carbonates in the study area and elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012130
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 6 2021
Event7th World Multidisciplinary Earth Sciences Symposium, WMESS 2021 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: Sept 6 2021Sept 10 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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