AbstractStatic liquefaction of mine tailings has been the interest of many studies as these materials are generally deposited in a loose condition and stored at high saturation ratios. Yet few researchers have investigated the behavior of mine tailings in stress paths involving extensional consolidation or shearing in extension. In this study, the results of a set of experiments aimed at investigating the static liquefaction behavior of saturated loose gold mine tailings samples in triaxial compression and extension shear tests are described. Monotonic tests are carried out on isotropically and K0-consolidated samples to assess the effect of stress-induced anisotropy and mode of shearing on the instability and critical state behaviors of tailings. The comparison of undrained extension and compression shearing behaviors of samples consolidated to similar densities and stress conditions show a profound difference in their undrained shearing responses. This is attributed to the angular shapes of tailings particles that amplify the effects of particle orientation and sample fabric, as well as microstructural changes induced by different loading paths. Postliquefaction and yielding undrained shear strengths and effective friction angles from different modes of consolidation and shearing are examined. In both undrained compression and extension tests, tailings samples exhibit a limited liquefaction behavior after yielding, followed by a strain-hardening (dilative) behavior. Differences in tailings behavior under different loading directions and anisotropic stresses indicate the importance of considering the effects of these phenomena on the stability analysis of mine tailings dams.

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