Reliance of the Strength of a Sandstone on Petrographic Attributes: A Preliminary Study


  • M. Yar FATA University, Akhurwal, Darra Adam Khel, F.R. Kohat, Pakistan
  • A. Meraj Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Bahria University, H-11, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • A. Basit Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Bahria University, H-11, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • F. Naseem Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Bahria University, H-11, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • M.A. Khan Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Bahria University, Islamabad, Pakistan


For the present preliminary geotechnical investigation, sandstone from Dandot Formation of Permian age has been selected with eighteen samples that were collected for detailed petrographic analysis while three bulk samples were collected for geotechnical analysis. On the basis of grain size sandstone of Dandot Formation was divided into three parts. The lower part was mostly very fine, middle part was generally fine and upper part was of medium grain. Texturally and mineralogically the sandstone was sub-mature. Framework grains in the studied samples essentially consisted of variable amount of quartz (62 to 73%), feldspar (10 to 19%), and rock fragments (3 to 6%). Accessory minerals include muscovite, biotite, iron ore minerals, zircon and glauconite. The cement type in the samples was clayey ferruginous. The modal composition of the sandstone falls in the category of Arkose. The strength test including unconfined compressive strength, unconfined tensile strength, shear strength, specific gravity, and water absorption tests were employed on the rock samples to assess their geotechnical utilities. After evaluating these properties, the acquired test results indicated that the sandstone is very weak and hence cannot be used for construction purposes.


S.M.I. Shah, Stratigraphy of Pakistan, Geological Survey of Pakistan Memoir, 12, 1977.

A.H. Kazmi and R.A. Rana, “Tectonic map of Pakistan”, Geological Survey of Pakistan, Quetta, 1982.

S. Ghazi, N.P. Mountney, A.A. Butt and S. Sharif, “Stratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental framework of the Early Permian sequence in the Salt Range, Pakistan”, Journal of Earth System Science, vol. 121(5), pp.1239-1255, 2012.

I.U. Jan, A. Shah, M.H. Stephenson, S. Iqbal, M. Hanif, M. Wagreich and H.S. Hussain, “The sedimentology of the lower Permian Dandot Formation: a component of the Gondwana deglaciation sequence of the Salt Range, Pakistan”, Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia, vol. 122(1), pp. 75-90, 2016.

ASTM D-3976, “Standard test method for splitting tensile strength of intact rock core”, American society for testing material, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 1986.

M. Arif, A. Mulk, M.T. Mehmood and M.H. Shah, “Petrography and mechanical properties of the Mansehra granite, Hazara, Pakistan”, Geological Bulletin University of Peshawar, vol. 32, pp. 41–49, 1999.

M. Arif, W.H. Bukhari, N. Muhammad and M. Sajid, “Petrography and physicomechanical properties of rocks from the Ambelagranitic complex, NW Pakistan”, The Scientific World Journal, Article ID 349381, 8 pages, 2013.

F.G. Bell, Engineering Geology, 2nd edition. United Kingdom: Butterworth-Heinemann: Animprint of Elsevier, 2007.

M. Sajid, M. Arif and N. Muhammad, “Petrographic characteristics and mechanical properties of rocks from Khagram-Razagram area, Lower Dir, NWFP, Pakistan”, Journal of Himalayan Earth Sciences, vol. 42, pp. 25-36, 2009.

M. Yar, M. Arif, A.K. Afridi, M. Saeed, M. Ziad and A. Ali, “Petrographic and mechanical characteristics of sandstone from Murree Formation, Jena Kor area, Peshawar Basin”, A case study. Pakistan Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, vol. 20, pp. 69–78, 2017.

Y.S. Khalil, M. Arif, H.A. Bangash, M. Sajid and N. Muhammad, “Petrographic and structural controls on geotechnical feasibility of dam sites: implications from investigation at Sher Dara area (Swabi), north-western Pakistan”, Arabian Journal of Geosciences, vol. 8, pp. 5067-5079, 2015.

L. Baccelle and A. Bosellini, “Diagrammi per la stima visiva della composizione Percentuale Nelle Rocce Sedimentarie”, Annuali Dell’Universita Di Ferrara, vol. 9, pp. 59–62, 1965.

F.J. Pettijohn, P.E. Potter and R. Siever, Sand and sandstone, 2nd edition, New York, Springer-Verlag, pp. 618, 1987.

ASTM D-2938, “Standard test method for unconfined compressive strength of intact rock core specimens”, American society for testing material, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 1971.

B.H.G. Brady and E.T. Brown, “Rock mechanics for underground Mining, 3rd edition, Kluwer, Academic Publishers, 2004.

I.W. Farmer, Engineering behavior of rocks, Chapman and Hall, London. 1983.

M. Sajid and M. Arif, “Reliance of physico-mechanical properties on petrographic characteristics: consequences from the study of Utla granites, north-west Pakistan”, Bulletin of Engineering Geology and Environment, vol. 74, pp. 1321-1330, 2014.

Anon, “The description of rock masses for engineering purposes”, Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology, vol. 10, pp. 355-388, 1977.

Anon, “Classification of rocks and soils for engineering geological mapping. Part 1- Rock and soil materials”, Bulletin of the International Association of Engineering Geology, vol. 19, pp. 364-371, 1979.

V.S. Vutukuri, R.D. Lama and S.S. Saluja, Handbook on Mechanical properties of Rock, Testing Technique and Results, Vol. 1. Cluasthal, Germany, Trans Technical Publications, 1974.

M.P. Fahy and M.J. Guccione, “Estimating the strength of sandstone using petrographic thin section data”, Bulletin of the Association of the Engineering Geologists, vol. 16, pp. 467-485, 1979.

A. Shakoor and R.E. Bonelli, “Relationship between petrographic characteristics, engineering index properties and mechanical properties of selected sandstone”, Bulletin of the Association of Engineering Geologists, vol. 28, pp. 55-71, 1991.

F.G. Blyth, M.H. DeFreitas, A geology of engineers, London, ELBS and Edward Arnold, pp. 514, 1974.




How to Cite

Yar, M., Meraj, A., Basit, A., Naseem, F., & Khan, M. A. (2023). Reliance of the Strength of a Sandstone on Petrographic Attributes: A Preliminary Study. The Nucleus, 60(1-2), 9–14. Retrieved from