The Oso Landslide death toll is now up to 29. This is one of the worst natural hazard disasters I can remember in recent times. First and foremost I think should be the memories of the victims. There are so many heart-wrenching stories of the people that lost their lives in this giant landslide. I think those stories underscore the importance of the jobs of geologists and engineers.
We have a responsibility to protect life and property in the work that we do. I'm not saying this landslide or the loss of life could have necessarily been prevented, but I personally take tragic events like this as a reminder of the sacred charge of our profession and use it as motivation in my daily practice of geological and geotechnical engineering. With regards to the geology and engineering aspects of the Oso Landslide, below are several links that I found interesting or informative.
A magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Chile late Tuesday. The damage estimates will probably begin rolling in today, but early indications are that it could have been much worse. Some 5 people have been killed in the early figures. There have been reports of landslides and disruption of communication facilities. A tsunami warning was triggered, and there are warnings of high water levels and strong currents impacting Hawaii, but so far no reports of a major tsunami along the Chilean coast. [Source: CNN.com. Image: Ontario-geofish]
I heard that Hayward Baker was working on the Corvette Museum sinkhole at GeoCongress, but I finally got official confirmation via this Civil Engineering Magazine article. It's a great article if you are interested in the engineering that's been going on since the sinkhole collapsed and swallowed 8 Corvettes. So far, Hayward Baker has installed 23 micropiles around the structure to depths of 75 to 220 feet depth according to the article. They are still trying to recover the remaining cars before a plan is formulated for shoring up the museum. They might use more micropiles, or they could go another way and fill up the sinkhole with low mobility grout. Whatever they decide to do, you can bet I will report on it! [Source: Read the article in ASCE's Civil Engineering Magazine. Image: Corvette Museum via ASCE]
Seattle Tunnel Partners and WSDOT are moving forward with the plans to excavate a 120 foot deep shaft to repair the Bertha Tunnel Boring Machine. Unfortunately, there are archaeological issues since the project team did not clear the area where the shaft will be excavated. A series of 4-inch boreholes 20 to 40 feet deep (I wonder what drilling method, sonic?) will be performed under the supervision of the archaeologists to look for culturally significant items. The top of Bertha sits approximately 60 feet below grade at this point, below the historical fill used to fill in the waterfront. [Source: More info at WSDOT. Image: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - Illustrated Reference]
GEOBRUGG NORTH AMERICA, LLC: ERIK J. ROREM assumes new position of Business Development Manager; PIERCE RUNNELS, PE takes over as General Manager
Algodones, New Mexico USA – March 3, 2014.Geobrugg AG, Switzerland, the world leader in natural hazard protection systems, is pleased to announce the appointment of Erik J. Rorem as new Business Development Manager for North America. His current position of General Manager, Geobrugg North America, LLC will be assumed by Pierce Runnels, PE.
Mr. Rorem is a pioneer of Geobrugg in America, established in 1985. He has successfully grown the affiliate company into a leader in natural hazard solutions across North America. Under his watch as General Manager for over 14 years, the North American affiliate has increased five-fold in sales and has recently moved to a newly-built manufacturing facility twice the size of the original Santa Fe factory. The full time staff has increased 1000%.
In his new position, Mr. Rorem will dedicate his efforts to take advantage of emerging markets in underground mining and to promote new product lines. He will also become Regional Manager for Mexico. Mr. Rorem will remain based in New Mexico.
[Editor] Click through for the rest of the press release from Geobrugg North America LLC [/Editor]
Keynetix is looking for beta partners to help with ideas for visualizing geotechnical data in the HoleBASE SI Extension for AutoCad Civil 3D. They want to be able to graphically display down hole XYZ information such as CPT plots, sample locations, contamination levels, water levels, etc. Follow the link for more information and to contact Keynetix. [Source: Click for more info from Keynetix. Image: Keynetix]
Univ. of Missouri’s Historic Memorial Union, Built to Honor WWI Dead, Gets New Life with TerraThane Geotechnical Foam
MOUNT AIRY, NC—The Univ. of Missouri’s iconic Memorial Union, with its Gothic architecture and central bell tower, was built to commemorate the 117 Mizzou alumni who lost their lives in WWI, and has been under silent attack. Like all buildings built atop the ancient dry riverbeds of the tributary valleys of the Missouri River, the soil beneath is a mixture of sand, clay, and fine rock particles and highly susceptible to erosion from water. So, while hundreds of thousands of students walked the hallways of the building, water escaping steam pipes far beneath caused severe drying of the soil and destabilized it enough so that erosion created voids, or cavities in the soil, some as large as four feet. In turn, this caused the concrete slab floors atop the voids to become uneven, and the eventual danger of even greater problems loomed large.
A team of engineers went after the problem, including MU alums, Matt VanderTuig, P.E., of Bartlett & West, Jefferson City, MO, and Mark Whitehead, P.E. with extensive structural design and environmental engineering management experience. They suggested to Chris Hentges, president of SIRCAL Contracting, Jefferson City, the general contractor in charge of the job, that instead of using the older method of mudjacking, a highly involved and intrusive process of drilling large holes in the slabs—sometimes removing the slabs entirely—and pumping “mud”, ultra-heavy Portland cement-based grout, into the void, then leveling the slabs, that the university might better be served by using the newer polyurethane foam system method called “foamjacking” or “polyjacking.”
[Editor] Be sure to click through for the rest of the interesting project from GeoPrac sponsor NCFI Polyurethanes and TerraThane! [/Editor]
Keynetix had over 350 people tune in to webinars offered in January of this year. And they have recently announced 4 more webinars coming up in the next several weeks. The topics of the webinars include:
Mar 14th - Only do it once! - Your guide to efficient geotechnical data entry
Mar 21st - Triggering Vision - Making best use of your environmental data in HoleBASE SI
Mar 28th - Avoiding AGS data errors - The 5 most important things you need to know
Apr 4th - Creating the ultimate desk study tool - is your GIS system redundant?
Here is an update on the Corvette Museum Sinkhole. A contractor has been busy trying to extract some of the priceless Corvettes from the sinkhole that opened up under the museum floor. If you missed the videos of this sinkhole, you have to check it out.
They have successfully removed 5 of the cars. They have been put on display in another part of the museum, with sinkhole mud still on them. But it sounds as if General Motors will be stepping in to help restore them. A video below gives more details on the Corvette rescue. I'm still waiting for official word on some of the geotechnical work being done to stabilize the museum, but haven't come across anything yet. I have heard unofficial that a geotechnical contractor has been working on the site.
A radar survey of Egypt's Valley of the Kings hopes to find some of the missing tombs of Egyptian Queens and Pharaohs that have so far eluded archaeologists. Distinguishing natural faults and other geologic features from potential tombs is one challenge. The article also describes how some other interesting discoveries have been made, including an ancient flood control system that prevented the tombs from being flooded, but rapidly fell into disrepair. [Source: Livescience. Image: Livescience]