Weathering can induce a rapid change of rock material from initial rock-like properties to soil-like properties. The resistance of a rock to short-term weathering is described through a durability parameter called the slake durability index. As durability is an important engineering parameter, particularly for weak and clay-bearing rocks, it was assessed by a number of tests. The main purpose of this study is to assess the influence of the number of drying and wetting cycles and controls of mineralogical composition and strength on durability. For this purpose, 141 samples of different types of weak and clay-bearing rocks were selected from different parts of Turkey, and relationships between the above-mentioned rock characteristics were statistically investigated. The samples were subjected to multiple-cycle slake durability testing, X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and uniaxial compression testing. Tn addition, to assess the influence of mineralogical composition on durability, the mineral contents of the original material and the material passing from the drum of the slake durability apparatus after each cycle were also determined by XRD. The results indicate that the type and amount of clay minerals are the main factors influencing the variations of the slake durability index in all samples. The durability of the day-bearing rocks studied correlates best with the amount of expandable clay minerals. A strong relationship between the uniaxial compressive strength and the fourth-cycle slake durability index is found only for the marls among the rock types studied. Assessment of gradation results of the spoil pile materials consisting of day-bearing rocks also reveals that the increase in percentage of fines in old piles is indicative of material degradation, as is evident by multiple-cycle slaking. It is emphasized that two-cycle conventional slake durability testing did not appear to offer an acceptable indication of the durability of weak and clay-bearing rocks when compared with multiple-cyclic wetting and drying. Comments on the performance of the test are made that aim to make the testing process and interpretation of the results more reliable. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.