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GeoPrac.net is a community of practitioners of geotechnical engineering, geological engineering, engineering geology, geophysics, hydrogeology and related disciplines. We offer members and visitors the foremost collection of geo-related articles, news, and online resources to keep those geo-professionals in practice at the forefront of their respective fields.

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Edward Alexander (Ed) Nowatzki: 1936-2015
GeoNews - In Memoriam
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 08 May 2015 08:54

Ed_NowatzkiIt is with great sadness that I report the passing of a mentor and former colleague, Dr. Ed Nowatzki, PE, PhD, D.GE, F. ASCE.  His obituary can be found here.  I first met Ed when I took his foundation engineering class at the University of Arizona.  Ed was a fantastic professor, and his consulting experience really informed his lecturing making his course the best and most practical geotechnical class I had in school.  I was privileged to work with Ed for several years after school when I was a staff engineer at URS and then again while working for NCS Consultants from 2004 to 2010.  He reviewed many of my reports and calculations, and didn’t let me slide by on anything but was never harsh or overly critical.

He had an uncompromising moral compass, and was a resource for all of us at NCS when it came to issues of engineering ethics.  But the things I will remember most about him is his passion for life-long learning.  He continued consulting part time at NCS up until his health began to fail.  I remember one time that Naresh Samtani was preparing to give one of his Friday lectures to the NCS staff, and in walked Ed.  I asked him why he was there, joking that he could be teaching the lecture himself.  He told me, “you never stop learning.”  That is something I will carry with me for the rest of my career, and the rest of my life.

I can’t begin to describe Ed’s personal and professional legacy.  He has touched the lives of hundreds of practicing engineers through his teaching at the University of Arizona and at Cal Poly State University.  But I would like to share two things that I believe any geotechnical engineer can appreciate.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 May 2015 08:55
 
Huge Undersea Landslide Caused Tsunami in Great Britain, Norway
GeoNews - Geologic Hazards
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 08 May 2015 01:54
Location of Storegga Landslide

The largest known undersea landslide occurred over 8,000 years ago off the coast of Norway. The volume of material that moved is mind-blowing, over 4.6 X 1012 cubic yards or 850 cubic miles! Known as the Storegga landslide, the resulting tsunami buried neolithic settlements in Norway with sediment and caused wave runnup in Great Britain that was 80 feet higher than the normal high tide. The devastating loss of human life can only be imagined. Regarding that last question, anthropologists theorized that depending on the time of year when the disaster occured, the loss of life may have been less. During the summer and early autumn, most people in that region would have been in the highlands hunting moose and reindeer. The article linked below is about some interesting forensic geology work to determine the season when the landslide occurred. [Source: Read more at Dispatch.com. Image: "StoreggaFLCommonsZone" by Lamiot - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]

 
Nortex and TerraThane Stabilize Houston Area Highways
GeoNews - Press Releases
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 01 May 2015 07:23

Houston’s Highways, Some of Busiest in Nation, Use Innovative TerraThane Polyurethane Foam Technology to Repair Bad Bridge Approaches, Uneven Joints, and Roadway Depressions.

Nortex employees stabilizing Houston area freeway with TerraThane Polyurethane Foam

MOUNT AIRY, NC—Highways around Houston, TX, known as one the nation’s worst cities for traffic behind Los Angeles, D.C., and Atlanta, need constant repair, but can’t be closed while the work is done. Nortex Concrete Lift and Stabilization, Inc., a Ft. Worth, TX company, recently completed a whirlwind repair project on one of the city’s busiest corridors in the NE quadrant where I-10, 610 Loop, I-59, and I-69 feed millions of cars daily to, from, and around Harris County.

Normal groundwater erosion beneath the highways causes the concrete highway slabs to drop, roadway depressions, uneven bridge approaches, and uneven joints that make driving bumpy and uncomfortable, dangerous, and causes severe wear and tear on automobiles.

To make the repairs, the Texas Department of Transportation, TXDOT, brought in Nortex. The company carefully planned out the repairs for the half million pound project, and sent out four crews each with it’s own box truck rig to use a relatively new technology called “foamjacking.” Foamjacking uses high-density polyurethane foam to fill the subterranean voids, and lift the concrete slabs to proper level. “We’ve been lifting and stabilizing roadways with polyurethane foam since we got into the business back in 2003,” says Casey Derosa, asst. gen. mgr. of Nortex. “It’s a far superior method versus the old way of mudjacking.” Mudjacking is a ubiquitous term for a mix of mud, sand, cement, crushed limestone, and water hydraulically pumped into large holes drilled into the concrete slabs to fill voids and level the slabs. Mudjacking uses more and much larger equipment, and requires larger holes to be drilled. It typically requires the roadway to be closed much longer than foamjacking, and takes more time to clean up.

[Editor] Click through for the rest of the press release from GeoPrac sponsor NCFI Polyurethanes. [/Editor]

Last Updated on Friday, 01 May 2015 07:26
 
Fugro Completes Major Offshore Geotechnical Investigation
GeoNews - Project Related
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 30 April 2015 15:27

Fugro geotechnical vessel MV Bucentaur

Fugro has completed one of the largest offshore geotechnical investigations in history according to Hydro-International.com. The investigation was performed by two vessels, MV Greatship Manisha and MV Bucentaur (pictured here), for DONG Energy's 1.2 gigawatt Hornsea Project One project which is located 120 km off the UK's Yorkshire coast. The investigation (contract valued at GBP13 million) consisted of 2,800 metres of seabed cone penetration testing and more than 5,000 metres of boreholes over a four month period. [Source: Hydro International. Image: Hydro International]

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 22:32
 
2015 Tunneling Industry Forecast
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 30 April 2015 15:19

What will 2015 hold for the tunneling industry? Tunnel Business Magazine asked a panel of 4 industry experts that question. The panel consisted of a Colorado School of Mines Professor as well as reps from Black and Veatch, AECOM, and Kenall Manufacturing. In general they seem to agree that there are opportunities in the US for large combined sewer outfall (CSO) projects, water distribution projects, and even high-speed rail, particularly in California. [Source: Check out all of the analysis at Tunnel Business Magazine]

 
The van that goes looking for potholes
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 16 April 2015 23:28
High-tech pothole-seeking van from Northeastern University

A team from Northeastern University has a very interesting van used for quantitatively assessing pavement condition using a variety of sensors. They use cameras, laser profilers, accelerometers on axles, pressure sensors in the tires, microphones, and even ground penetrating radar. The researchers reportedly characterized pavement condition of 150 miles of road in 4 days in Beverly, Massachussets, a task that took public employees about 1 year the last time it was performed, in 2010. The cost of the survey was around $25,000. The technology is expected to be commercialized this month. [Source: The Boston Globe. Image: Boston Globe]

 
Ohio Highway Closed by House-Sided Boulder
GeoNews - Geologic Hazards
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 16 April 2015 23:16
House-sized boulder closed westbound US 52 near the Ohio River

Not too much to say about this, but check out the photo. The entire westbound portion of US Highway 52 near the Ohio River was closed last week as a house-sized boulder and other rockfall debris landed on the roadway. Crews anticipated it would take several days to clear the material and reopen the road. [Source: WLWT News via USGS Landslide Events. Image: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet via WLWT]

 
Introducing the LS™250 MiniSonic™, a Versatile Compact Sonic Rig
GeoNews - Press Releases
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 05:49

Introducing the LS(TM)250 MiniSonic(TM), a compact sonic rig for a wide variety of environmental, geotechnical, water and mining projects.SALT LAKE CITY, April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Boart Longyear (www.BoartLongyear.com), the world's leading provider of integrated drilling services and drilling products, is proud to introduce the LS™250 MiniSonic™, a compact rig suitable for a wide variety of environmental, geotechnical, water and mining projects.

Capable of drilling to depths of up to 250 feet (78m) when used with 4.75 inch (121mm) casing, the wide 600mm rubber tracks provide low ground pressure (.28 bar/4psi) and make it perfect for jobs in the most sensitive and fragile terrains. Plus, its smaller footprint makes it appropriate for projects with small drill pads, environmentally sensitive areas or hard-to-reach sites and requires less support equipment – making it a low-cost solution for a variety of mining, environmental, geotechnical and infrastructure drilling projects.

[Editor] Click through for the rest of the press release from Boart Longyear. [/Editor]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 05:50
 
New FHWA Soil Nail Manual Addresses LRFD, Hollow Bars
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 12 April 2015 22:05

GEC7_2015_coverSince March of 2003, the FHWA’s Geotechnical Engineering Circular Number 7 (GEC No. 7) has been the standard reference document for design and construction of soil nail retaining walls in roadway applications, and really in all applications. The FHWA has released an updated version of this manual as of February of 2015.  This new version is still called GEC No. 7, but now titled “Soil Nail Walls Reference Manual.”  You can download the document from the FHWA’s Geotechnical Engineering website.

I am still in the process of working through the manual, but one of the major changes is the addition of the implementation of the Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) platform. This will have an implication on all future soil nail walls for roadway projects.

The manual also appears to have removed example problems solved using SNAILZ software (by CalTrans) in favor of the FHWA’s own Soil Nail Analysis Program (SNAP) 2 software. I guess we’re going to have to get familiar with that software as well.  I’m strongly considering looking into SNAIL Plus by DeepExcav, a commercial product.  I’ve seen demos before, and have been very impressed.

Finally, I was very curious to see what they would say about hollow bar soil nails.  They review some of the work done in the last 5 years or so done by the FHWA and ADSC.  If I understood correctly, it appears that they are saying that because of the uncertainties regarding damage to corrosion protection during installation, they are still not recommending hollow bar nails for roadway applications, except if the ground conditions are non-aggressive and if you use sacrificial steel.  I suppose that at least opens the door to this technology for collapsing ground situations.  

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 05:54
 
Major Slope Failure at Yeager Airport in West Virginia
GeoNews - Failures
Written by Randy Post   
Monday, 16 March 2015 05:29

Marcy 2015 Slope Failure at Yaeger Airport in West Virginia

There was a significant slope failure at the Yeager Airport near Charleston, West Virginia last week. A 2005 project to create an Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) at the end of the runway required a massive reinforced soil structure fill slope over 200 feet high since the airport was constructed on top of a hill. According to a presentation published by the geogrid manufacturer, this project was the tallest known geosynthetic reinforced 1:1 fill slope in North America (as of 2010). The slope failure follows a period of significant snow melt and rainfall. It is a deep-seated failure, apparently a compound failure that cuts through the reinforcement based on one of the photos available in the Charleston Daily Mail article cited in the article at the Landslide Blog. I'm sure there will be much more information about this massive failure in the coming months.

YeagerAirportFailure1

YeagerAirportFailure3

YeagerAirportFailure2

[Source: Read more at the Landslide Blog. Photo Credits: TODD HARRELL/NATIONAL GUARD via Charleston Daily]

Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2015 05:31
 
Geosystems President Donald Bruce Shares Thoughts on Industry, Terzaghi Lecture
GeoNews - Conferences
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 15 March 2015 22:18
Donald Bruce, 2015 Terzaghi Lecturer

National Driller has a nice interview with the 2015 Terzaghi Lecturer, Donald Bruce, President of Geosystems. Bruce, best known for his expertise in grouting, will deliver his Terzaghi Lecture at this week's IFCEE conference in San Antonio. [Source: Read the interview at National Driller. Image: National Driller]

 
Doha metro geotechnical work on track
GeoNews - Project Related
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 15 March 2015 22:17
Proposed Doha Qatar subway

Advanced Construction Technology Services (ACTS) has contracts for geotechnical work for 3 lines of the proposed subway in Doha, Qatar. They have completed investigations for approximately 95 km of line and 51 stations and are currently working on the recommendations for track designers. The contract for the these services is worth approximately $1.37 million. [Source: Trade Arabia. Image: Trade Arabia]

 
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