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Geologic Hazards

New Orleans Repeats Deadly Levee Blunders

That is the title of a Seattle Post-Intelligencer article on post-Katrina levee issues in New Orleans (by way of ASCE Smart Brief). I think the article is somewhat sensationalized, but they do cite some interesting parallels between the levee reconstruction efforts made after Katrina and the levee construction/reconstruction that occurred after Hurricane Betsy in 1965.

The article also discusses a recent US Army audit with some disturbing although not unexpected findings:

An initial September 2010 target to complete the $14.8 billion in post-Katrina work has slipped to mid-2011. Then last September, an Army audit found 84 percent of work behind schedule because of engineering complexities, environmental provisos and real estate transactions. The report added that costs would likely soar.

A more recent analysis shows the start of 84 of 156 projects was delayed – 15 of them by six months or more. Meanwhile, a critical analysis of what it would take to build even stronger protection – 500-year-type levees – was supposed to be done last December but remains unfinished.

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Failures

Wal-Mart Sues over 2006 Kilbuck Landslide

In case you missed the background on the Kilbuck Landslide (or here or here), it happened in Kilbuck Township, PA back in in September of 2006. To deal with the political hot potato and media nightmare, Wal-Mart bought out the developer on the unfinished property and began handling remediation of the slide itself. Now, it appears as if they want their money back from the developer! Read on for more details. 

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Miscellaneous

Tight Pipe Supplies Pinch Drillers

According to Reuters, there is a shortage of steel pipe that the drilling industry uses to drill and case wells. I presume the shortage also applies to geotechnical and well drilling as well. The run on the pipe has been spurred by the increased surge in the U.S. onshore oil and natural gas drilling market. The situation is not helped by record high steel prices as well. (Photo by yak23flora)

I talked to our local geotechnical/geoenvironmental drilling contractor to see if he has been affected by this shortage, and he said that he had, but that the supply shortages on all manner of drilling equipment and parts has been even more challenging. He cited the booming mining sector and their desire for exploration holes as a major source of his problem. He said one of his rigs had a broken overshot for an NQ coring system, that’s the device that attaches to the wireline and retrieves the inner tube from the drill stem while coring. He said there wasn’t a single overshot in North America that he could buy!

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Software Updates

gINT Software Offers Timed Licenses

gINT Software announced that they now offer timed licenses to their popular gINT Logs and gINT Professional geotechnical and geological log software. This is essentially like leasing the software for a fixed amount of time using a USB key. More after the break. 

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Geologic Hazards

Sea to Sky Highway Landslide

Earlier this month, there was a massive slope failure on the "Sea to Sky" highway in British Columbia. It is interesting to note that this same area had a large rockslide in 1965, and a photo of this failure is featured on the cover of the classic text, Rock Slope Engineering by Hoek and Bray. The media played up the aspect that this highway is one of the only ways to access the site of the 2010 Winter Olympic games hosted by Vancouver.

 

The composite image above shows the book cover and the recent rockslide event (Photo credit: Erik Eberhardt of the University of British Columbia by way of Dave’s Landslide Blog). Dave has done a fabulous job collecting photos, facts and links from around the web. In a follow up post, he added some additional photos and discussion. I recently came across an article that described how the highway originally was slated to have a tunnel bypassing the slide, but that the price tag of $200 million (CAN?) for a 1-km stretch killed the project.

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Geologic Hazards

Flooding in Supai Canyon

There have been a number of reports on the flooding in Supai Canyon, near the Grand Canyon this past weekend. I think the best description of the event and the subsequent rescues was from the AZ211 website which I found by way of the Arizona Geology Blog (quoted after the break). The flood was impressive. I hope the areas near Havassu Falls and Mooney Falls were not too heavily damaged. I was fortunate enough to hike and camp that location back in College, the travertine is just amazing and makes the water so green. Mooney Falls and the area downstream are particularly breathtaking. [Photo credit: National Parks Service]

Many reports I’ve seen attribute the flood the result of the failure of the Redlands Dam. But again, the Arizona Geology Blog quotes the National Park Service as saying that the dam is a minor one meant to create a pond for livestock and wasn’t a significant factor in the flooding. The latest reports I saw was that 11 hikers who were missing were located today (by way of Geology.com)

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Failures

Crane topples over embankment after retaining wall fails

According to Silicon Valley’s MercuryNews.com, a [very lucky] worker suffered minor injuries when the crane he was opperating toppled down an embankment. The accident apparently occured on a CALTRANS project as the crane was lifting a 10,000-lb pile when a "wood retaining wall" gave way. It sounds like they were constructing a soldier pile lagging wall with steel h-pile soldiers and wood lagging. (Photo by Donna Jones/Sentinel)

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No Picture
Rockman's Ramblings

Remembering Geology Fieldcamp

Randy on the Rocks

I wrote this post for my personal blog, but I thought a few people might get a kick out of it here. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years! Read on for my fuzzy recollections.

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