Publication Date

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Laura Sullivan-Green


California, Engineering, Glacial Till, Glaciated Valley, Landsystems

Subject Areas

Civil engineering; Geological engineering; Geology


The engineering characteristics of glacial tills in the Sierra Nevada are difficult to determine due to the depositional nature of the material; however, testing methods unique to these dense materials can be utilized to obtain good engineering data. A literature review was conducted to determine testing methods and recommendations for engineering in glacial till. Further literature review revealed a significant amount of glacial deposits mapped by the USGS and CGS in the Sierra Nevada geomorphic province in California. Sierra Nevada glacial till field and lab data were obtained from Taber Consultants along with samples for further testing. Consequently, four significant conclusions were determined from testing and research. First, it was determined that Sierra Nevada glacial deposits may have large amounts of clay due to neoformation of the local volcanic rockform. As a result, plasticity and compressibility results ranged from low to high. Second, SPT N values for matrix material were correlated with depth. Third, unconfined compressive strength results for coarse-grained samples with no cohesive binding were independent of depth. Fourth, the matrix material dominated the engineering behavior of a given glacial till layer.