The influence of the mineralogical composition of ultramafic rocks on their engineering performance: A case study from the Veria-Naousa and Gerania ophiolite complexes (Greece)

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Abstract

This case study investigates the influence of the mineralogical composition of ultramafic rocks derived from two ophiolite complexes from Greece (Veria-Naousa and Gerania) on their mechanical, physical and physicochemical properties. The investigated lithologies include lherzolite, harzburgite, dunite and olivine-orthopyroxenite with variable degrees of alteration. The ratio of secondary minerals to primary minerals (SEC/PR) of the studied ultramafic rocks shows good correlations with their physical, physicochemical and mechanical properties, suggesting that alteration has a negative effect on the engineering performance of the ultramafic rocks. Among the secondary minerals, serpentine plays the most critical role in determining the moisture content, the total porosity and hence the soundness of the host rocks, due to its phyllosilicate structure, which allows more water/solutions to be captured. The high percentage of serpentine creates surfaces of weakness, and as a result, it decreases the rock strength. The low microtopography of highly serpentinized rocks results in their reduced mechanical performance.

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Giannakopoulou, P. P., Petrounias, P., Rogkala, A., Tsikouras, B., Stamatis, P. M., Pomonis, P., & Hatzipanagiotou, K. (2018). The influence of the mineralogical composition of ultramafic rocks on their engineering performance: A case study from the Veria-Naousa and Gerania ophiolite complexes (Greece). Geosciences (Switzerland), 8(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8070251

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