Probabilistic soil identification based on cone penetration tests

B. C. Jung, P. Gardoni, G. Biscontin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In geotechnical engineering, soil classification is an essential component in the design process. Field methods such as the cone penetration test (CPT) can be used as less expensive and faster alternatives to sample retrieval and testing. Unfortunately, current soil classification charts based on CPT data and laboratory measurements are too generic, and may not provide an accurate prediction of the soil type. A probabilistic approach is proposed here to update and modify soil identification charts based on site-specific CPT data. The probability that a soil is correctly classified is also estimated. The updated identification chart can be used for a more accurate prediction of the classification of the soil, and can account for prior information available before conducting the tests, site-specific data, and measurement errors. As an illustration, the proposed approach is implemented using CPT data from the Treporti Test Site (TTS) near Venice (Italy) and the National Geotechnical Experimentation Sites (NGES) at Texas A&M University. The applicability of the site-specific chart for other sites in Venice Lagoon is assessed using data from the Malamocco test site, approximately 20 km from TTS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-603
Number of pages13
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • In situ testing
  • Site investigation
  • Soil classification
  • Statistical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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