Deep Foundations In The Challenging Geology Of Central Florida

Kuhns, Gary
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
Central Florida is among the fastest growing urban areas in the United States, and its rapid development has required the steady construction of various types of civil engineering works. The karst geologic terrain and variable geotechnical conditions, however, present special challenges to the design and construction of deep foundations. The subsurface profile can be idealized as a surficial layer of Pleistocene sands, underlain by the highly variable Miocene-age Hawthorn Group, consisting of various combinations of sand, silt, clay, phosphate and highly weathered limestone. The Hawthorn Group is underlain by Eocene-age limestone that comprises the Floridan aquifer. Vast networks of solution cavities are present throughout the Eocene limestone, sometimes allowing downward raveling of the overlying soils and the creation of sinkholes. In some cases, the relic sinkholes can be filled with soft compressible organic soils extending to depths greater than 100 feet (30.5 m). Driven piles are frequently employed as a deep foundation alternative, although occasionally cast-in-place piles/shafts have also been used. Piles are often driven for bearing in the weathered limestone within the Hawthorn Group, but are sometimes installed as friction piles in the upper soil and intermediate geomaterials. Dynamic pile testing is routinely performed during pre-construction test pile programs, or during production for quality control and assurance purposes. This paper presents discussions on the design and construction aspects of deep foundations unique to Central Florida subsurface conditions and local practice. Foundation issues such as subsurface variability, soil setup, pile damage, negative skin friction, and sinkhole conditions are discussed with the aid of demonstrative case histories.
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