Basement rocks constitute 25% of the surface geology of France. Throughout the geological record, and particularly during the Early Cretaceous and Paleogene, these rocks underwent significant weathering to form alterites more than 50 m thick in places. Later erosion incised vaileys in the alterites, which is why, in schistose areas, one may find aggregate quarries very close to day workings (for brick manufacture), the former being in the valley bottoms (minimum weathering) and the latter on the plateaus (maximum weathering). The aim of this research work is to assess the mechanical properties of these surface alterites in order to draw up maps for use in civil engineering sectors, such as excavation work for major communicatjon routes (roads, etc.) and laying underground pipes and cables (gas, electricity, telecommunication lines).


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