Compression of rockfill is normally caused by a reduction in dimension of fill and by rearrangement of particles into closer packing.
When the rockfill are saturated, the strength of rock would be reduced accordingly. In fact, wetting of rock surfaces does not reduce the coefficient of sliding friction between rockfills. Considerable settlement may result not from the lubricating effect of water but from a reduction of rock strength at its point of contact. The contact points would then be crushed under intergranular force and the contact area increases until contact pressure is less than the strength of rockfill.