Miscellaneous

From Utah: March a “disaster for snowpacks”

Abysmal may be the best description of the spring runoff, with no part of the state retaining more than 50 percent of the typical snowpack for this time of year. For some places, "it’s a new record-low snowpack," said Randy Julander, snow survey supervisor with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service in Salt Lake City. Read on for more info. (Photo by tuchodi)

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Press Releases

High-tech Earthquake Monitoring Instruments Reveal Expansion of San Gabriel Valley After Heavy Rainf

New and intriguing information identified by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its partners has been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. For the first time, researchers have identified large-scale surface uplift and expansion in the San Gabriel Valley directly caused by groundwater recharge, due to near-record rainfall in 2004-2005. The San Gabriel Valley rose almost 2 inches (47 mm) in less than four months, and the margins of the basin were pushed outward by almost half an inch (10 mm). The expansion was five times larger than slight oscillations observed since 1998.

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Available Resources

Geothermal Energy in Arizona

Arizona’s State Geologist, Lee Allison has posted some interesting information on geothermal energy in Arizona on his blog. He was commenting on a March 23, 2007 meeting of the Arizona Geothermal Working Group. The biggest thing he took away from the meeting is that geothermal energy in Arizona has greater potential than people think. Read on for links. (Image from SMU Geothermal Lab)

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Standards and Codes

Updated ASTM Standards and Work Items

ASTM has released some updated standards. From here on out, I will post a list of some of the ones that are related to our fields. Sometimes their relativity may be a stretch, but I’ll let you folks decide. This time around one that caught my eye was D4719 – Standard Test Method for Prebored Pressuremeter Testing in Soils. Read on for links and a full list.

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Geologic Hazards

New Madrid Fault Zone Controversey

Geologists and seismologists have long studied the New Madrid Seismic Zone after three magnitude 8 earthquakes struck the area in the Winter of 1811-1812. However a forthcoming report by Seth Stein and published by the American Geological Society contends the hazard has been overstated. His colleagues at the USGS and the University of Memphis disagree.

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Regional

Sheet Piling Controversy in New Orleans

An article by the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that some of the sheet piles used in the levee along the 17th Street Canal are only 4.5-ft below sea level. The US Army Corps of Engineers say they have done "the most extensive technical analysis ever performed" on the drainage canal, but at least one person is not finding comfort in that claim. (Photo by pixelshutter20)

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Project Related

Soil Instability Puts $150 M U.S. 20 Project in Jeopardy

[Update 5/11/07] The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined ODOT $90,000 for violating their stormwater discharge permit at least 37 times between September and January. ODOT is going to try to get the contractor to pay at least part of the fine. [/Update]

The $150 million Oregon Department of Transportation project, U.S. 20: Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville project is in jeopardy after three landslides (one major and two minor) have been discovered during the construction process. Yaquina River Constructors (YRC), a joint venture of Granite Construction Inc. and Wilder Construction has formally requested "that further work on the project cease under a Termination for Convenience. At a minimum the project should be suspended." Read on for more information. (Photo by decoder420)

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Regional

Water Resources in the West

The NY Times has a very interesting article on some of the water resource issues in the Western US. The west has been experiencing drought conditions since 1999, and rising global temperatures will adversely effect watter supply as well. Another recent article published by the North County Times discusses the issues faced in the State of California. (Photo by sbisson.)

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