Date of Defense

Spring 4-29-2011



First Advisor

Ronald B. Chase, Geosciences

Second Advisor

Duane R. Hampton, Geosciences

Third Advisor

Alan E. Kehew, Geosciences


The Miami Park area in Van Buren County, Michigan is an excellent example of the type of composition and structure of a large percentage of the Great Lakes coastal region. The Miami Park bluffs are composed mostly of diamicton (glacial till) and sand, containing variable layers of impermeable lacustrine clay: this compositional mixture allows the Great Lakes coastal bluffs to be less table. Higher slope displacements along the Miami Park bluffs tend to occur during the freeze/thaw season, when temperatures drop below 0°C for inconsistent amounts of time. Minor freeze/thaw cycles within a season allow moisture in the shallow soil to freeze, barricading groundwater within the slope and increasing pore pressure. When the minor freeze/thaw episode is over the melt water and previously-trapped groundwater is released. These episodes have been documented to last from a few hours to a few weeks. Data was collected and analyzed for four wells: 2 located in the dewatering zone, where a slope was set up to lower the groundwater level of the bluffs; 2 located in the control zone.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only