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|Field investigations recently undertaken by Utah Development Company (U.D.C.) have been developed to allow the assessment of ground conditions relevant to the use of large bucket wheel excavators for pre-stripping overburden. "Bucketwheel diggability" predictions were made on the basis of a wedge test which was perform- -ed in the field on nominal 150 mm diameter drill core samples. Specific separation force (calculated from the wedge test results) for different rock horizons were theoretically related to the excavation rates of various sized bucketwheels, i.e., "bucketwheel diggability". The specific separation force was shown to vary with lithology, structure, weathering and moisture changes. By correlating these features between boreholes, an overall assessment of bucketwheel diggability was then made. The approach adopted to assess bucket- wheel diggability incorporated various levels of investigation. Initially, a reconnaissance stage provided information from widely spaced 150 mm cored holes to compare and contrast areas with differing bucketwheel digging char- -acteristics. The following stages progressive -ly added to this information, until finally, between hole correlations, allowed calculations to be made of volumes of materials of similar|