The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Estimating autocovariance of in‐situ soil properties

TitleEstimating autocovariance of in‐situ soil properties
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsDegroot DJ, Baecher GB
JournalJournal of Geotechnical Engineering
Start Page147
Date Published01/1993
KeywordsComputer aided design, Field tests, residual soils, Site investigation, Soil properties, Spatial variability, Statistics, Surface properties

The spatial variability of soil properties in situ is often modeled by trend surfaces and residual variations about trend. With the advent of computer‐aided design, statistical procedures are now routinely applied to trend and residual estimation. A maximum likelihood (ML) technique is presented for simultaneously estimating spatial trends, measurement noise, and the autocovariance structure of residuals about spatial trends. This technique has more favorable statistical properties than traditional procedures, and these properties have an important practical advantage in that they lend themselves to incorporation in computerized data‐analysis systems. Simulation experiments are used to verify small‐sample‐size properties of ML estimation and to draw conclusions on optimal boring layouts. The experiments show that analytical asymptotic properties of maximum likelihood estimators are approached even at the modest sample sizes common in geotechnical site investigations. Field vane strengths from a site‐exploration program are analyzed using the maximum likelihood technique and comparisons are made with results obtained using traditional moment estimators.