Characterizing a weathering profile over quartz-mica schists in undulating terrain in Peninsular Malaysia

WG 48(3) cover.pdf
Author : John Kuna Raj
Publication : Warta Geologi
Page : 153–163
Volume Number : 48
Year : 2022

Warta Geologi, Vol. 48, No. 3, December 2022, pp. 153–163


Characterizing a weathering profile over quartz-mica schists in undulating terrain in Peninsular Malaysia


John Kuna Raj

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

Email address:


Abstract: The weathering profile can be differentiated into an upper, 4.8 m thick, pedological soil (zone I) and a lower, >16.2 m thick, saprock (zone II). Zone I comprises thin IA and IB soil horizons of firm, clayey sand with lateritic concretions, and a IC soil horizon of stiff, clayey silt with quartz clasts and lateritized core-stones. Zone II comprises steeply dipping to vertical, bands of pinkish to grey, stiff silt with distinct relict foliation (highly weathered schist) inter-fingering with bands of reddish yellow, firm clayey silt with indistinct foliation (completely weathered schist) towards its top, and bands of white to light grey, hard silt with distinct foliation (moderately weathered schist) towards its bottom. Lateral variations in abundance of differently weathered schist and preservation of fracture planes allow zone II to be separated into IIA, IIB and IIC sub-zones. The pedological soil (zone I) can be correlated with Class VI of standard rock mass weathering classifications, whilst the saprock sub-zones IIA, IIB and IIC are correlated with Classes V, IV and III, respectively. Silt fractions in the profile consist predominantly of sericite flakes, whilst the sand fractions are mostly of quartz grains and the clay fractions of mainly illite and kaolinite. Decreasing densities, unit weights and silt contents up the profile, but increasing porosities and clay contents, indicate increasing in situ alteration of the schist bedrock. Lowering of an unconfined groundwater table as a result of down-cutting by rivers in adjacent valleys is considered responsible for development of the weathering profile.


Keywords: Quartz-mica schists, weathering profile, schist weathering stages, weathering zones



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Manuscript received 26 July 2022;

Received in revised form 1 December 2022;

Accepted 8 December 2022

Available online 30 December 2022


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