In geology, any process by which loose earth materials become compacted, including cementation, diagenesis, recrystallization, dehydration, and metamorphism. In soil mechanics, the term implies a slow reduction in volume and an increased density of saturated soil under load, e.g. beneath buildings. Rate of consolidation depends on the rate of pore water escape, therefore on the permeability of the soil.
Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.