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Plaintiffs whose homes were destroyed by the Yeager Airport Landslide in March of 2015 filed a suit naming Central Regional West Virginia Airport Authority and Triad Engineering as well as several others. The CRWVAA and Triad have filed answers to the complaint, and two other plaintiff have filed motions to dismiss themselves from the lawsuit according the the West Virginia Record. Apparently Triad was monitoring the mechanically stabilized earth retention structure as far back as 2013 when cracks were observed. In July of 2014, 28 monitoring points were installed. According to the complaint, every one of the 28 indicated movement between July and August of 2014. That strikes me as odd. Why no mention of movement after that point? Maybe there is more in the actual complaint, but having done that type of monitoring before, I wonder if there were survey issues? I think one take-away here for me is to put some monitoring points outside the potential zone of movement so you can verify that your measurements are accurate. At any rate, the article describes what Triad and the Airport Authority Board knew or didn't know. This is interesting to me, but there is a lot of legal jargon in the article. So if you have any additional interpretations of what it says, let me know with a comment below! [Source: Read more in the West Virginia Record. Image: West Virginia Record]
How would you feel if you were subjected to 75Gs of centrifugal force? Well, at least you would know what the soil feels like in some of the cutting edge geotechnical modeling being done at the UC Davis Center for Geotechnical Modeling (CGM). This article is a fascinating overview of the history of the lab, and the types of geotechnical experiments they can run using the 9 meter radius centrifuge. It can spin a 5-ton payload at 90 revolutions per minute! No other lab in the world can boast those numbers. [Source: Read the full blog post from the College of Engineering at UC Davis. Image: UC Davis]
Modified from the YouTube description: Video of a DeWind One-Pass Trencher installing a Soil-Bentonite Wall 55' deep. This is a mix in place technology capable of installations up to 125' feet deep. The soils are evenly homogenized with the additives from top to bottom and from start to finish. An Average of 300 LF installed per day. No messy mixing ponds, open excavations, very little spoils, One piece of equipment and only 4 men are required for this 5000 LF installation reducing safety exposure.
This is a fantastic article by Kathryn Schulz for New Yorker Magazine on the seismic and tsunami hazards associated with the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the Pacific Northwest. Ms. Schulz paints a very vivid picture of what the devestation will look like based on input from many people who know what they are talking about, geologists, seismologists, FEMA officials, and State and Local disaster planning folks. This article was so effective, that NPR reported a run on survival kit supplies in Northwest U.S. The article also does a nice job explaining the interesting geologic detective work to connect the dots on the last major earthquake and Tsunami to strike that area in January of 1700. Highly recommended reading. What did you think of the article? Leave a comment below. [Source: The New Yorker via AEG Insider. Image: ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTOPH NIEMANN; MAP BY ZIGGYMAJ / GETTY - New Yorker.com]
Check out this proposed bridge in China's Zhangjiajie National Forest. It has a span of 1,200 feet and is over 1,300 feet off the ground. The majestic landscape was reportedly the inspiration for the Halleluja Mountains of James Cameron's movie Avatar. The bridge architect that designed it initially refused saying the landscape was too beautiful to put a bridge there. But agreed only if they could design a bridge that would 'disappear'. The 20 foot wide platform is slated to host fashion shows, and the center of the structure will be used for bungee jumping! [Source: Wired. Image: Wired]
GroundProbe has released a new slope stability monitoring radar for use in pit. The SSR-FX is designed to aid in increasing safety and productivity in mines. According to GroundProbe CEO John Beevers:
"The SSR-FX is the first product in our range of broad area monitoring solutions; it uses new antenna technology not yet seen in the mining industry, to scan 180 degrees every two minutes with sub millimeter precision, over long periods,"
The couple owning a house up-slope from a massive 2014 landslide is accused of overwatering their lawn, leading to the landslide in a lawsuit filed by the developer. The developer also blames a natural gas company, and some other nearby construction, but had denied any responsibility for the slide. In a countersuit, the two homeowners say they are being scapegoated and blame a natural gas company that owns and operates two pipelines near the slide, two geotech firms that studied the land prior to further development and the local tennis club for expanding a parking lot at the base of the hill. This sounds like a completely tangled up mess!
[Source: Daily Mail Online. Image: Associated Press via The Daily Mail]
New Initiative Modeled After Longstanding Bridge Program
WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today published the final rule for national tunnel inspection standards that will serve as the foundation of the nation’s first standardized tunnel inspection program. It will be modeled after the FHWA’s successful bridge program established nearly a half-century ago to ensure the safety of the nation’s bridges.
“This important step to keep our nation’s tunnels safe for the traveling public is unprecedented,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Establishing national standards will help us maintain a high level of quality and uniformity in tunnel inspections nationwide.”
[Editor] Read on for the rest of this press release from the US DOT. [/Editor]
After the 2011 Fukushima earthquake, the reactors at TEPCO's nuclear facility began leaking radioactive groundwater. The plan to contain the contamination is to use ground freezing to construct an "ice wall" to cutoff the flow. Acton, Massachusetts based Geocomp has been contracted by TEPCO to provide engineering services for the ground freezing. Geocomp has subcontracted specialty geotechnical contractor and GeoPrac sponsor Moretrench to provide their specialty ground freezing expertise as well. Moretrench is a world leader in the design and construction of ground freezing projects. The Geocomp newsletter (from a few months ago) noted that the report deliverables will need to be provided in English and Japanese.
The 2015 International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo was held in San Antonio back in March of this year. The proceedings from IFCEE 2015 are now available online and for purchase at the ASCE Library. However, they are offering a selection of papers for free for a limited time, you just need to be registered with ASCE Library.You can register for free to get access if you haven’t already.
The Golder Foundation presented the first annual awards to six students in the fields of Ground Engineering and Contaminant Site Assessment and Cleanup. The cash awards, totaling $40,000 USD, are meant to encourage and recognize technical excellence in some of the areas that Golder practices in.
The Golder Foundation was created in 2013 and aims to further knowledge and learning by opening the technical archives of our founders and some senior staff; through sharing Golder's distinct ownership model and business legacy; and by granting these annual awards.