The problem of expansive soils is widespread throughout world. The countries that are facing problems with expansive soils are Australia, the United States, Canada, China, Israel, India, and Egypt. The clay mineral that is mostly responsible for expansiveness belongs to the montmorillonite group. Fig. 18.8 shows the distribution of the montmorillonite group of minerals in the United States. The major concern with expansive soils exists generally in the western part of the United States. In the northern and central United States, the expansive soil problems are primarily related to highly overconsolidated shales. This includes the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado (Chen, 1988). In Minneapolis, the expansive soil problem exists in the Cretaceous deposits along the Mississippi River and a shrinkage/swelling problem exists in the lacustrine
deposits in the Great Lakes Area. In general, expansive soils are not encountered regularly in the eastern parts of the central United States.

In eastern Oklahoma and Texas, the problems encompass both shrinking and swelling. In the

Los Angeles area, the problem is primarily one of desiccated alluvial and colluvial soils. The weathered volcanic material in the Denver formation commonly swells when wetted and is a cause of major engineering problems in the Denver area.

The six major natural hazards are earthquakes, landslides, expansive soils, hurricane, tornado and flood. A study points out that expansive soils tie with hurricane wind/storm surge for second place among America's most destructive natural hazards in terms of dollar losses to buildings.

According to the study, it was projected that by the year 2000, losses due to expansive soil would exceed 4.5 billion dollars annually (Chen, 1988).

Figure 18.8 General abundance of montmorillonite in near outcrop bedrock
formations in the United States (Chen, 1988)

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