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RE: Caliche Soil Bearing in UT

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I have worked with caliche in the Las Vegas area and can tell you that we literally were forced to use jack-hammers, (and I don’t mean cheesy electric 50 lb hammers either) to excavate the footing holes.  It regularly breaks teeth of hoe buckets.   It’s the hardest stuff I’ve ever encountered that isn’t rock.


That said, I would guess the answer to the question lies in the plan review.  Will the plan checker need an geotech-established bearing pressure?


From: Rich Lewis [mailto:seaint04(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2006 9:35 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Caliche Soil Bearing in UT


I’m working in the blind right now.  I have a project I’m starting in Varnel, Utah which is the NE corner of the state.  Some geotechnical work was done for perk test.  No official borings.  The person who did the perk tests bored down twice to 10 ft.  He said the soil is all Caliche.  I have not dealt with this type of soil before.  I understand it is a hard packed mixture of sand, clay and silt.  When the owner asked for a price for doing foundation geotechnical investigation the geotech said “Why would you need any additional information?  The ground around here will hold up any building”.


Can someone who has experience with caliche in the Utah area tell me if this stuff is wonderful for foundations?  What are typical bearing values for this stuff?  Are there any precautions in using it that I should be aware of?  Are geotech reports usually prepared or do you just put buildings up on it?


Thanks for your help.