Characterizing a weathering profile over serpentinite in the Senaling area, Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus

Author : John Kuna Raj
Publication : Warta Geologi
Page : 55-65
Volume Number : 48
Year : 2022

Warta Geologi, Vol.
48, No. 2, August 2022, pp. 55–65


Characterizing a
weathering profile over serpentinite in the Senaling area, Negeri Sembilan
Darul Khusus


John Kuna Raj

No. 83, Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi 2, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Email address:


Abstract: Three broad morphological
zones can be differentiated; the top, 2.5 m thick,
pedological soil comprising IA and IB sub-zones of brown, soft clays, and IC1
and IC2 sub-zones of reddish brown, stiff silty clays with lateritic
concretions and lateritized core stones. The intermediate, 1.5 m thick, saprock
zone consists of brown, stiff, silty clays with indistinct relict fault planes
and core-stones, whilst the bottom bedrock zone consists of serpentinite with
effects of weathering along discontinuity planes. Constant volume samples show
the earth materials to be rather loose with dry unit weights of 10.32 to 16.28
kN/m3 and porosities of 39 to 60%. Particle size distributions are variable
with depth; silt contents decreasing from 38 to 58% in saprock to 28 to 44% in
the pedological soil zone. Increasing fine clay (<2 μm) contents up the
profile from 34 to 43% in saprock to 40 to 51% in sub-zones IA and IB indicate
that pedological processes result in continued disintegration of weathered
serpentinite. Plastic and liquid limits have limited variation ranging from 24
to 33%, and from 36 to 50%, respectively. Weathered
rims around core-stones show alteration of serpentinite to start with the
opening-up of grain boundaries and formation of micro-cracks (Stage 1) followed
by staining along chrysotile veinlets (Stage 2). More extensive staining then occurs
with decomposition (to clay minerals) of most antigorite and chrysotile grains
(Stage 3) and ending with formation of a brown, stiff silty clay (Stage 4).
Increasing stages of weathering are marked by
decreasing dry unit weights and uniaxial compressive strengths, but increasing
apparent porosities. It is concluded that in situ
alteration of serpentinite through lowering of an unconfined groundwater table
has led to development of the weathering profile.


Keywords: Serpentinite, weathering
profile, pedological soil, saprock, groundwater lowering



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received 18 May 2022;

Received in
revised form 23 August 2022;

Accepted 24
August 2022

online 30 August 2022


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