Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geology)

First Advisor

Dr. Gerald A. Weisenfluh

Second Advisor

Dr. Edward W. Woolery


An empirically-based classification of lower Paleozoic carbonate-bearing rocks was created for field-based geotechnical applications. Geotechnical parameters were subsequently correlated to that classification. Seven hundred seventy-seven samples were used as the basis for the classification. Thirteen categories based on visual and tactile properties and a hydrochloric acid test were created. Samples were from central, north-central, and south-central Kentucky and represented the majority of Ordovician exposures in the state, and some Mississippian exposures. Few Silurian and Devonian units were included in the sample set. Geotechnical parameters, including density as well as elastic constants (shear and compression wave velocities, Poisson’s ratio, Young’s modulus, and shear modulus), were calculated for 113 representative samples from the classification. Compression strength testing was completed on 29 samples and the slake durability index was calculated for 18 samples. Testing values were correlated to the classification system in an attempt to use the classification as a predictive and comparative tool for geotechnical applications. Despite samples being heterogeneous and isotropic, each of the 13 categories behaved differently and predictably, with the sharpest contrast in siliciclastic and carbonate rocks.