Rockscience has been busy soliciting feedback from their user base on news features for their settlement analysis software program, Settle3D. After receiving all of the feedback in the beta program, many of the user suggestions have been implemented by Rockscience in the Version 3.0 release of Settle3D. Some of these improvements include the ability to model non-horizontal soil layers, user interface improvements, new options for defining water level, enhanced graphing capabilities, and 64-bit parallel processing. [Source: Read more from Rockscience via Rockscience's Settle3D page.. Image: Rockscience]
Seattle Tunnel Partners released a new schedule this week for the repair of the damaged seals on the Bertha Tunnel Boring Machine. This revised schedule shows that the TBM won't be digging again until March of 2015. The excavation of the pit to access the TBM will begin at the end of May, a delay caused by additional archaeological work. By October they hope to have the cutterhead removed to conduct the repairs, and the machine will undergo testing in February of 2015 with tunneling resuming in March of 2015. [Source: WSDOT. Image: WSDOT]
Two well-known geoprofessionals were among the eleven given ASCE's highest honor this year, the title of Distinguished Member. Jean-Louis Briaud and Thomas D. O'Rourke were both in this year's class. There is a link to their bios in the ASCE blog post. Congratulations to both gentlemen, very well deserved. [Source: ASCE Roundup. Image: Texas A&M]
Seattle Tunnel Partners has released a conceptual plan showing what the excavation of the pit will look like to repair the damaged Bertha Tunnel Boring Machine. See below.
A pit 120 feet deep and 83 feet in diameter will be excavated so that the TBM can be driven into the pit and the cutterhead removed. Crews will then repair the seal system around the main bearing. [Source: WSDOT, Image Credit: Seattle Tunnel Partners and Brierly Associates by way of WSDOT]
A developer will pay $3.2 million in damages plus $3.9 million in legal fees and expenses to the owner of a property that sustained structural damage related to the shoring of the developer's adjacent 17 story apartment building in Bethesda, Maryland. Apparently the developer settled with the owner regarding the damages 4 days before trial in December of 2013. The details of the settlement were released in a court order last week that was associated with a hard-fought battle over the legal fees. There are undoubtedly other legal and insurance issues happening behind the scenes. The article indicates that the foundation and shoring subcontractor on the project claims the damage was caused by the August 2011 earthquake felt throughout the D.C. region. Regardless of what the geotechnical engineering issues are with the shoring system, it's clear this has become quite a legal mess. [Source: BethesdaNow. Image: BethesdaNow]
I love how the Atlantic Cities article starts, they use the phrase "only in New York", which is very appropriate in this case! Foundation drilling has commenced for a project that will create 26 acres of developable space by creating a deck over the top of a Long Island Rail Yard serving America's busiest train station, Penn Station. Over 300 drilled shafts extending 90 feet down to bedrock will be constructed to support a continuous concrete deck that will span over the entire rail yard (check out the photo and video below!). High-rise buildings and other structures will be built over this deck to form the neighborhood that the developers are calling Hudson Yards. The area of the track where the 30 LIRR tracks converge into 4 lines that enter Penn Station will have a steel truss bridge with about 150 ft span length.
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]