The New York DOT has been working on a geotechnical design manual (GDM) since at least 2012. It is a very detailed document that covers pretty much every possible geotechnical aspect of a transportation project. It would be a valuable resource for any geotechnical engineer. Some chapters are still marked draft, but I like their transparency about what has been officially approved by the DOT and what is still under review. [Source: Check out the GDM of the New York DOT. Image: NYDOT]
Keynetix is preparing to restart their popular free webinar series. The theme for 2016 is “Transforming Your Geotechnical Data Journey in Small Steps.” The webinars will be every Friday at 12 pm EST for North American Customers and those using ASTM standards, and Friday at 13:00 GMT for other customers using BS/AGS standards.
This Friday, February 12th, the webinar title will be “Maximize the Value of your Geotechnical Data Archive Using HoleBASE SI”. The format of the webinars will be 20 minutes with another 10 minutes of Q&A. Follow this link to register for the webinar. Keynetix is a sponsor of GeoPrac.net.
The folks at LogItEasy.com have put together a very useful, free online tool for converting Munsell color codes that you might use in the field into the actual color names. This functionality is also built into their interface for electronic field logging and log creation. [Source: Go check out the free Munsell Soil Color tool at LogItEasy.com. Image: Munsell.com]
The Geoprofessional Business Association has released a new guide document on the In-House Review of Geoprofessional Reports. The document has information for report writers and reviewers with a 'focus on a reportâ€™s ability to satisfy the contractual obligations it was intended to fulfill; the quality of its technical and risk-management content; and the clarity of presentation.' Read more at the link below. As with most GBA documents, it is free for GBA member firms. [Source: Geoprofessional Business Association. Image: GBA]
I gave a presentation recently on a monthly webinar for URETEK Holdings, one of the licensed affiliates (installers) of products by GeoPrac sponsor, URETEK ICR. The topic was Geotechnial Aspects of Polyurethane Grouting. I gave my perspective on some of the benefits of polyurethane grouting, the challenges in geotechnical characterization of the improvements to the soil after grouting, and some unique applications of the technology people are currently using and could potentially use in the future. If you have time to check it out, let me know your thoughts!
GeoPrac sponsor Moretrench is a specialty geotechnical contractor known for their expertise with a variety of geotechnical construction methods. But they are probably best known for their niche work with ground freezing technology. Popular Mechanics Magazine recently did a story on Moretrench's ground freezing work at the Washington D.C. First Street Tunnels project. The ground freezing allowed three vertical access shafts and four deep adits to be excavated in the dry using the frozen ground support. [Source: Read more abot this interesting technology and project from Moretrench. Image: Moretrench]
The 2015 Karl Terzaghi award was presented by Donald A. Bruce, Ph.D., D.GE, C.Eng., L.G., L.E.G., President, Geosystems, L.P. at the Geo-Institute's 2015 Geo-Congress Conference. The Geo-Institute has generously made his lecture available to all of us on their YouTube Channel, so be sure and subscribe. From his abstract:
In historic literature, there is the "Great Man" theory, whereby history is reflected in the biographies of preeminent characters. In the more theoretical and academic branches of specialty geotechnical engineering, the theory holds true, with, of course, Professor Terzaghi one of the heroic great men â€“ a researcher, problem solver, and inspiration sans pareil. In contrast, in the branch of specialty geotechnical construction, technological advances occur principally through "Great Leaps" as opposed to steady and progressive evolution.
Six criteria must be satisfied in support of awarding "Great Leap" status, beginning with a project-specific challenge of unprecedented scope or complexity, and ending with a legacy document detailing and codifying the leap. These steps are illustrated by reference to developments in drilling and grouting; cutoffs for dams; deep mixing; and micropiles, all techniques in which the author has been intimately involved throughout his professional career as a researcher, contractor, educator, and consultant.
LogitEasy provides a web-based solution for logging boreholes and wells. You can send them scanned paper logs, or use their electronic form on a PC or iPad to submit the data to them. For a flat fee per log, they will prepare electronic logs in gINT, LogPlot, or EnviroInsite (well log) formats and submit report-ready PDF logs and/or electronic data files. They are currently offering a promotion through the end of 2015. When you pre-purchase 99 logs, you get an iPad Air 2, a LifeProof rugged case, a mobile internet SIM kit, and a $100 mobile internet card.
Today is the anniversary of Karl Terzaghi's birthday. I have a tradition of marking the anniversary by sharing a quote or some other piece of info I've learned about the man we commonly refer to as the father of soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering. This year I marked the occasion a day early by arranging for geotechnical engineers in my office of Golder Associates to watch a video over our lunch hour by The GBA from 1988 of a presentation given by Ralph Peck entitled "Growing Pains of a New Profession - Soil Mechanics 1925-1940".
It's always remarkable to me to think that we are only one generation, or at most two, removed from the men like Terzaghi that developed the theories and practices that form the foundation for our profession. Although Peck's presentation did not focus on Terzaghi entirely, he did note that in his opinion, there were three factors that marked the transition to what we know as modern soil mechanics in the United States.
The first of these was Terzaghi's establishment of the principles of the new science: the mathematical theory of consolidation and the acompanying recognition of effective stress, the deformation conditions controlling earth pressure, and the determination of numerical values for the pertinent physical properties of earth materials.
Peck discusses the contributions of many other names, some that I had heard of, a number that I wasn't as familiar with, and talks about some of the controversies, personality clashes and egos in the early soil mechanics community. I recommend the video, or at least Peck's paper, to anyone interested in geotechnical engineering. If your firm is a GBA member, you can get either for free (just create a free login at the GBA homepage, instructions for getting the video for free on Vimeo are listed in the description of the video). Happy KTB everyone!
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan LÃ³pez has announced the selection of 23 projects to receive grants totaling $5.2 million for proactive drought planning and other efforts to build long-term drought resiliency in nine states in the West."The western United States has faced an unprecedented drought this year and will face many more water challenges in the future," Commissioner LÃ³pez said. "This funding will help the selected communities prepare for future droughts."Through a competitive process, Reclamation selected 12 drought resiliency projects and 11 drought contingency planning projects in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Washington.