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GeoPrac.net is a community of practitioners of geotechnical engineering, geological engineering, engineering geology, geophysics, hydrogeology and related disciplines. We offer members and visitors the foremost collection of geo-related articles, news, and online resources to keep those geo-professionals in practice at the forefront of their respective fields.

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Martin McDermott, P.G. Joins Moretrench
GeoNews - Press Releases
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 18 May 2017 06:40

Martin McDermott, P.G., recent hire at MoretrenchSpecialty geotechnical contractor Moretrench is pleased to welcome Martin McDermott, P.G., who joins us as a Division Manager for our Geotechnical Group. Mr. McDermott has more than 30 years of geotechnical construction experience, with a particular area of expertise in the field of drilled shaft construction. He holds a Masters degree in Engineering Geology from Drexel, a B.A in Geology from LaSalle, and is a licensed Pennsylvania Professional Geologist. He is a seasoned, goal-oriented and proactive professional and brings a wealth of underground construction knowledge to his new position, particularly in the area of deep foundations. He is also actively involved in several professional organizations, formerly serving as Vice President and Treasurer of the Association of Drilled Shaft Contractors (ADSC) and as a member of its National Board. He is a member of The Moles, the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA).

Mr. McDermott’s primary focus will be the company’s drilled shaft/secant pile wall operations in the Northeast and New England regions. He will be based in the company’s Philadelphia area office which will also offer the full range of Moretrench’s services.

[Editor] Moretrench is a sponsor of GeoPrac.net. [/Editor]

 
Large Rockslide in Hawkins County, Tennessee
GeoNews - Geologic Hazards
Written by Randy Post   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 23:25
Planar rock slide on Highway 70 in Hawkins County

As Dr. Petley noted in his blog post, this looks like a classic planar rock slide where the rock mass failed parallel to the dominant planar discontinuity set. The slide occurred on Highway 70 between SR 94 and Clinch Valley Road. It will take the better part of a week to clear the debris according to TDOT. [Source: The Landslide Blog - AGU Blogosphere. Image: Photo by Jay Herring via Amanda Ketchledge]

 
Geo-companies in ENR's 2017 Top 500 Design Firms
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 12 May 2017 08:39

Top 500 Design Firms - With a Geo Emphasis

ENR's annual top 500 design firms list for 2017 is out. These rankings are based on revenue for design services in the previous calendar year. Last year I extracted a subset of the list to see rankings of firms that are strong in geotechnical / geological related services, so I decided to do it again this year. I included firms that self-identified as geotechnical firms, as well as engineering firms that I know to have a strong geo emphasis. I'm sure there are some that I missed. I also included some of the major A&E firms that provide these types of services. Accordingly, it's still a bit subjective on who is included. So here is the list of top Geo-Companies of 2017 (along with their change in ranking relative to 2016):

  • 1 - AECOM, Los Angeles, Calif. (No change from 2016)
  • 3 - CH2M, Englewood, Colo. (No change from 2016)
  • 5 - TETRA TECH INC., Pasadena, Calif. (+2)
  • 7 - AMEC FOSTER WHEELER, Atlanta, Ga. (-2)
  • 8 - HDR, Omaha, Neb. (+1)
  • 10 - STANTEC INC., Irvine, Calif. (+8)
  • 13 - ARCADIS NORTH AMERICA/CALLISON RTKL, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (-1)

 [Editor] Click through for the rest of the Geo list! [/Editor]

Last Updated on Friday, 12 May 2017 08:39
 
Tunnel collapses at Hanford nuclear waste site
GeoNews - Failures
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 11 May 2017 23:37
A 20 foot hole in the soil above a tunnel at the Hanford Nuclear Site

A 20 foot section of a tunnel collapsed at the PUREX facility at the Department of Energy's Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State. The PUREX facility was used to extract plutonium for weapons from spent nuclear fuel but has been inactive since 1980. Cleanup activities have been on-going since 1989. The shallow, earth-covered tunnels were used by remote-operated trains to carry the spent fuel from a reactor to the PUREX facility. According to a 2015 report, the tunnels may still have the trains inside them along with radioactive material. [Source: Read more about this incident at the Washington Post. Image: Hanford Site via Washington Post]

 
Video: SQUID Device for Drilled Shaft Bottom QC
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 11 May 2017 23:36
Pile Dynamics SQUID

I saw this device (well, a model of it and a presentation) at a recent geotechnical conference and I was very impressed. One of the challenges with the QC of drilled shafts is that you don't always know the condition of the bottom of the shaft. The Shaft Quantitative Inspection Device (SQUID) measures the thickness of the debris layer above the bearing strata and the strength of the bearing layer itself. The results are presented on output in numerical and graphical format in real time. The device attached to the rig's Kelly Bar and is deployed with minimal effort. [Source: Pile Dynamics YouTube Channel. Image: Pile Dynamics]

 
Video of Highway 101 Landslide in California
GeoNews - Geologic Hazards
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 30 April 2017 22:32
Landslide on Highway 101 near Leggett, California

A secondary landslide on Highway 101 north of Legget, California was captured on video at the end of April. The original slide closed the highway and after Caltrans was able to clear it and reopen the highway for several hours, a stuck motorist took this video. What strikes me is how overconfident the (presumably) Caltrans employees are. If you see the slope shedding rocks like that, you better get back in a hurry! [Source: Facebook Video from Wendy K. via LostCoastOutpost.com. Image: Times-Standard]

 
ISRM Online Lectures on Rock Mechanics Topics
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 30 April 2017 22:16
Professor Charles Fairhurst

The International Society of Rock Mechanics (ISRM) has some great lectures posted online. The latest one posted in April is 'Why Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering?' by Professor Emeritus Charles Fairhurst of the University of Minnesota and the Itasca Consulting Group. [Source: Watch the lectures for free from ISRM. Image: Itasca]

 
Kansas City Company Uses US Product, TerraThane, to Keep Natural Gas Flowing in Nation’s Ninth Largest Gas Reserve
GeoNews - Press Releases
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 14 April 2017 08:21

TerraThane geotechnical polyurethane saves slab at hydraulic fracturing stationFORT LUPTON, CO—An unfortunate inlet line break at one of Anadarko Petroleum's hydraulic fracturing stations in Weld County, Colorado just north of Denver, allowed injection fluid to wash out the end of the pumping station and get beneath the concrete slab foundation causing erosion. The voids created beneath the slabs were from three inches to five inches and left the slab floor uneven. The general contractor for the station, Open Range Services, initially thought to use the legacy method of mudjacking, or pressure grouting: pouring a thick grout of mixed concrete and other aggregates into the void, or backfill, but the "mud" is heavy which can affect the surrounding soil, time consuming, and difficult to apply and clean, and backfilling would have required the costly process of ripping out the slab and replacing it. Instead, they contacted Pro Foundation Technology, based in Kansas City, MO, to learn more about a contemporary technology called "foamjacking" or "polyjacking," which uses lighter weightgeotechnical polyurethane foam instead of grout.

[Editor] Click through for the rest of the press release from GeoPrac.net sponsor, NCFI Polyurethanes! [/Editor]

 
Breakthrough! Bertha TBM Completes Alaskan Way Viaduct Tunnel in Seattle
GeoNews - Project Related
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 04 April 2017 22:29
Seattle Tunnel Partner workers roosting in the spokes of the Bertha TBM after the breakthrough

After tunneling 9,270 feet under downtown Seattle, the Bertha tunnel boring machine finally broke through at the north portal yesterday. The breakthrough marks a major milestone in the project to replace the seismically deficient SR-99 Alaskan Way Viaduct. The 57.5 foot diameter machine started tunneling in July of 2013, and I was fortunate enough to take a tour of it shortly after that. The Seattle Tunnel Partners team ran into some major problems in January of 2014 when they encountered an 8 inch well casing which damaged a seal inside the cutterhead which ultimately required the creation of an access pit and the replacement of the entire cutterhead.

Although the tunnel drive took two years longer than anticipated, and some significant cost overruns, this remains one of the most amazing engineering achievements of our lifetime! I highly encourage you to check out the article I wrote about the tunneling project and all of the interesting geotechnical features that go along with it after my tour of the project site. And you can check out my photos from the tour at the GeoPrac.net Facebook page. While you are there, give us a like! [Source: Read the full blog post from WSDOT. Image: GeekWire / Kevin Lisota]

 
Uncovering the Hidden Benefits of Buying New Software
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Monday, 03 April 2017 23:38
Example of a geological profile generated with HoleBaseSI and the Civil3d Extension

A good way to begin building a business case for investing in new software and systems is to evaluate the time and cost in carrying out a typical task, such as producing site plans and geological profiles. Byrne Looby Partners have done just this and reaped significant benefits from using HoleBASE SI and the AutoCAD Civil 3D extension on The Irish Water projects.

As Andy Wilkins says, ‘Everything we do now goes into HoleBASE SI and the Civil 3D extension as it is saving us and our clients a huge amount of time and money. Just by speeding up the generation of geological profiles, we are saving about a week on moderate sized projects. If we are also doing earthworks design we can save another week or two, and if you also add inroad alignments and earthworks quantities, we're saving at least one to two additional weeks as this information literally falls out of the Civil 3D extension. We literally haven't drawn geological profiles for years because we've been using Keynetix software and the Civil 3D extension. It is clear to us that we (and our clients) are saving a lot of time and money.’

Keynetix has developed a Geotechnical CAD Cost Calculator to help companies review their own projects and to quickly work out the costs and potential savings that could be made and to evaluate if there is a business case to change. The calculator can show whether this a good short or medium term investment and of course indicates where process efficiencies can be made.

[Editor] Keynetix is a sponsor of GeoPrac.net [/Editor] [Source: Read the full article here and download the calculator to find out what you could save by investing in new software. Image: Keynetix]

 
Bentley Webinar - Data Transfer in gINT, April 5, 2017
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Monday, 03 April 2017 23:38
Bentley gINT

Bentley will be hosting a webinar at two different times on April 5, at 9 a.m. EDT and 5 p.m. EDT for the new gINT Special Interest Group (SIG). They will focus on a current hot topic, Data Transfer. We've all been there. You need to move your data from one project to another, or maybe to another application. So mark your calendar, and invite your colleagues, to learn how to take your gINT usage to the next level. Discussion, demonstration, and Q&A will include:

  • Practical applications for transferring data into and out of gINT
  • Tools in gINT to make this transfer easier and repeatable
  • Tips and tricks to simplify the use of gINT's data transfer tools

One Professional Development Hour (PDH) will be applied to each user's Bentley Transcript for self-reporting. Bentley is a GeoPrac.net sponsor. [Source: Go and register for gINT SIG Webinar with Bentley. Image: Bentley]

 
Norway may build the world's first tunnel for ships
GeoNews - Project Related
Written by Randy Post   
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 23:04
Rendering of proposed ship tunnel in Norway

If Norway's Stad Ship Tunnel gets approved, it would be located on the Stadhavet Sea, an area known for heavy winds and hurricanes. Stormy weather makes it almost impossible for ships to travel in the area. Vessels often wait for hours or even days before it becomes safe enough to cross. A study has been performed by the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA), and their findings are scheduled to be released this May. If approved by the Norway Department of Transport, construction could begin as early as 2019. [Source: View more info at Business Insider via AGC SmartBrief. Image: Norwegian Coastal Administration via Business Insider]

 
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