Great Pacific Pumice

Great Pacific Pumice Inc.
Great Pacific Pumice Inc. mines pumice from its 25 million cubic metre deposit formed 2360 years ago at Mt. Meager, 150 km north of Vancouver, Canada.

Mr. Sandy Biln,
Great Pacific Pumice Inc.
1980 Centennial Way,
P.O. Box 508,
Squamish, B.C. V8B 0A4
Phone: 604.892.7703
Fax: 604.898.1112


GEOLITE is a natural lightweight pumice aggregate which is processed to a 20 mm x 50 mm gradation to be used to solve geotechnical problems. GEOLITE, with an oven dry density of 450 kg/m3 and a maximum saturated density of 1000 kg/m3, is used to reduce dead loads, lateral forces and overturning forces on poor soils below. GEOLITE is naturally inert and environmentally safe, has high bearing capacity and its high angles of internal friction compare favorably with conventional soils, resulting in economic solutions for challenging soil conditions.

Delivered loose densities at stock pile moisture content are 625 to 650 kg/m3.

Design Applications

Roadway Fills and Bases: Normal maintenance of roads over poor soils often consists of adding leveling patches which cause long-term differential settlements. GEOLITE, when installed as a roadway base structure under both old and new roads, will provide a solid lightweight, load-reducing base. This in turn reduces further long term settlement and, when used in conjunction with geotextile fabrics, will allow :spanning of differential sub-grades.

Bridge Approach Bulkheads and Retaining Wall Backfills: Typically bridge approaches are constructed on very poor soils next to waterways. Replacement of some of these soils with GEOLITE together with the normal increase in roadway elevations will reduce loads and decrease lateral pressures against abutments and end slopes. GEOLITE improves embankment stability and allows for free drainage.

Mat Foundations: Using GEOLITE under footing pads and structural slabs-on-grade spreads the load over a larger area and reduces the load on the poor sub-grades. This eliminates the need for more costly alternatives such as pylons, caissons or pre-loading. Speed of installation is often a cost advantage.

Roadway Structure Repair and Rehabilitation: GEOLITE reduces dead load on existing structures. Uniform and controlled in-place densities are obtained through precise and controlled gradations.

Pipeline Beds and Covers: Large diameter water and sewer pipelines in poor soil conditions use GEOLITE as a bed to reduce ground movement-induced stresses on buried pipes. GEOLITE, as a cover, is excavatable and reduces dead load on the pipe. Higher thermal insulating values offer reliable freeze protection with no environmental consequences. GEOLITE counteracts frost heave and minimizes hydro- static potential.

Waterfront Structures: The use of GEOLITE allows for economical modifications to marine terminals and increased dockside draft. Reduction in lateral thrust and bending moment is achieved. GEOLITE, as a sub-base for Roller Compacted Concrete on docks and terminals, offers a stable and permanent solution for today's heavy and high speed off-loading equipment. The underslab drainage ability of GEOLITE reduces long-term maintenance and repair costs.

Runway Construction and Repair: GEOLITE allows unusable land to be reclaimed and developed for airport use. Typical runways require low weight increases in elevation along with controlled and reduced long-term settlement. These designs can be achieved with the use of GEOLITE. Controlled fill allows uniform load distribution.

Tunnel Roof Backfill: Cut and bury tunnel structures use GEOLITE as a lightweight roof backfill below landscaping to reduce dead load. Increased drainage capability of GEOLITE reduces water ponding on the waterproofing membranes and reduces the potential for structural degradation in the tunnel concrete.

Environmentally Sensitive Applications: The inert chemical and physical properties and its lightweight characteristics make GEOLITE the ideal material for road bases, backfills, slope stabilizers and stream sediment filters in areas where other types of materials become a danger to fish and wildlife.

GEOLITE has been approved by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Highways.

Geolite Test Results

Bearing Capacity: Repetitive Plate Load Test (ASTM D1195)


Loading and rebound deformations versus the number of load applications for the repetitive test are shown on Figure 1. A plot of the first, second and seventh (last) cycle of load versus deformation is shown in Figure 2. The results of the repetitive test indicate that compaction occurs primarily during the first few cycles of loading.

Direct Shear Tests (ASTM D 3080-90)
Angle of Internal Friction:

Figure 3 shows loose, firm and dense state test results. The angle of internal friction ranges from 46 degrees for the loose state to 55 degrees for the dense state.

In-Place Densities @150kPa

Loose ---465 kg/m3
Firm ---520 kg/m3
Compacted ---582 kg/m3


Even when totally submerged, GEOLITE takes to achieve even a 50% saturation point. The positive buoyancy characteristics of the material should be addressed in design and performance.

Specific Gravity (ASTM D 854-92) = 2.22

Full written reports available on request.