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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Impacts of Material Engineering Properties on Slope Wash and Stability in Fine-Grained Bedrock Slopes at Fossil-Bearing Sites, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA

Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, SD 57701, USA
Geosciences 2018, 8(7), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8070267
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
Engineering properties of bedrock materials at Badlands National Park were used to develop models for Park managers to assess slope erosion and stability for fossil resource protection. Six fully instrumented sites were used to document slope conditions. Bedrock consisted of Oligocene White River Group rocks. Bulk erosion rates correlated to grain size with silty-sandy materials producing higher mass erosion rates as a function of the silt-to-clay ratio and plastic index. Data indicated that as grain size decreased, plastic index increased leading to a decrease in erodibility. These parameters were used to construct a grain-size proxy, ψ, that was substituted for grain size, D, in Bagnold’s entrainment equation and provided significant improvement in calculation of critical entrainment velocities for fine-grained materials. Hydraulic analyses of slope and pediment surface processes indicated surface roughness was a controlling factor and materials washed from rough steep slopes were effectively transported across smooth low-angle pediments with slope-to-pediment angle ratios of nearly 6:1. Slope stability modeling of ten slopes produced high factors of safety for all slopes, even under saturated conditions and was attributable to clay cohesion. All results were used to construct models that predicted years until net slope erosion equaled 2.5 cm (1 inch). Using these results, Park managers were advised to visit erosion-prone sites on a 1- to 6-year schedule, based on site geology and slope aspect, to adequately protect critical fossil resources from destruction. View Full-Text
Keywords: badlands; erosion; slope processes; fine-grained materials; entrainment velocity badlands; erosion; slope processes; fine-grained materials; entrainment velocity
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Stetler, L.D. Impacts of Material Engineering Properties on Slope Wash and Stability in Fine-Grained Bedrock Slopes at Fossil-Bearing Sites, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA. Geosciences 2018, 8, 267.

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  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.20944/preprints201807.0072.v1
    Link: https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/201807.0072/v1
    Description: Impacts of Material Engineering Properties on Slope Wash and Stability in Fine-Grained Bedrock Slopes at Fossil-Bearing Sites, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
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