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About 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.

Residential Foundation Investigation Standards
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 31 May 2015 15:49
Typical residential foundation settlement profile

Bob Brown with Arizona Foundation Repair, a foundation repair contractor, has a nice blog post about the need for better standards for forensic investigations for residential foundation investigations. He points to some standards by a group called the Foundation Performance Association. Check it out if you are involved in residential foundation repair or forensic investigations. [Source: Arizona Foundation Repair. Image: Foundation Performance Association]

Apartment Building in China Collapses After Landslide
GeoNews - Geologic Hazards
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 31 May 2015 15:38
Nine story apartment building collapses in Guiyang city

A nine story apartment building in Guiyang city, China collapsed last week following heavy rains. Officials noted a landslide or mudslides were the apparent cause. There were as many as 16 people missing as rescuers searched the rubble of the 35 family residential building. [Source: via USGS Landslide Events. Image:]

Dr. Fred H. Kulhawy: 1943 - 2015
GeoNews - In Memoriam
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 13:18

Dr. Fred H. Kulhawy, 1943-2015Fred Howard Kulhawy was born in Topeka, Kansas on September 8, 1943 to Fred and Gloria (Hahn) Kulhawy. He spent his childhood and early adulthood in New Jersey, where he received his B.S.C.E. in 1964 from Newark College of Engineering (NCE), which is now a part of New Jersey Institute of Technology. He completed his M.S.C.E. from NCE in June 1966, married Gloria Ianna in September 1966, and they relocated to Berkeley, CA for educational pursuits. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in September 1969, and began his Professorial career at Syracuse University, where he advanced to the rank of Associate Professor. In 1976 he joined the Cornell Faculty, becoming Professor in 1981. During his 40-year academic career, Fred taught a wide range of courses in the field of geotechnical engineering. At Cornell he also supervised the annual Master of Engineering geotechnical design project seventeen times. His courses emphasized basics and developing thought processes, but they always were oriented toward design and professional practice.

He has been a prolific researcher, with sponsors ranging from various government agencies to public and private companies. He has supervised 54 M.S. and Ph.D. theses. He has authored/co-authored more than 370 publications. The research done by him and his students has influenced geotechnical practice. His contributions have been recognized with over 20 major professional society awards. Among them are the following: Distinguished Member of ASCE, the highest accolade of ASCE for acknowledged eminence in engineering; the Norman Medal, the oldest and most prestigious technical award of ASCE; and the Karl Terzaghi Award, the ASCE Geo-Institute career accolade for eminence in geotechnical engineering.

After his retirement he kept active in his Consulting Practice, as well as travelling to indulge one of his passions, opera. He is survived by his wife, Gloria; a brother Kenneth of Tempe, AZ; brother and sister in-law, Frank and Nancy Ianna, nieces Kristy and Lindsay, nephew Rob Ianna, of NJ; and numerous cousins. There are no services. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Hospicare, 172 East King Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, or a charity of your choice. Bangs Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Obituary reproduced from Image from ASCE.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2015 13:19
Retaining Wall Collapses in Colorado Springs
GeoNews - Failures
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 06:07

Failing Retaining Wall in Colorado Springs near Lower Gold Camp and Bear Creek Road in May of 2015

A private homeowner's retaining wall experienced a major failure near Colorado Springs, causing the evacuation of several families. According to KKTV, the homeowner obtained a permit to construct a 20 foot high retaining wall, however the wall stands at 36 feet high. As of Memorial Day, the three evacuated families have been allowed to return to their homes. The wall has now "completely fallen down." The original failure occurred after a period of heavy rain in the region. [Source: Read more at (Colorado Springs) via USGS Landslide Events. Image: CBS]


Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2015 13:10
Edward Alexander (Ed) Nowatzki: 1936-2015
GeoNews - In Memoriam
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 08 May 2015 08:54

Ed_NowatzkiIt is with great sadness that I report the passing of a mentor and former colleague, Dr. Ed Nowatzki, PE, PhD, D.GE, F. ASCE.  His obituary can be found here.  I first met Ed when I took his foundation engineering class at the University of Arizona.  Ed was a fantastic professor, and his consulting experience really informed his lecturing making his course the best and most practical geotechnical class I had in school.  I was privileged to work with Ed for several years after school when I was a staff engineer at URS and then again while working for NCS Consultants from 2004 to 2010.  He reviewed many of my reports and calculations, and didn’t let me slide by on anything but was never harsh or overly critical.

He had an uncompromising moral compass, and was a resource for all of us at NCS when it came to issues of engineering ethics.  But the things I will remember most about him is his passion for life-long learning.  He continued consulting part time at NCS up until his health began to fail.  I remember one time that Naresh Samtani was preparing to give one of his Friday lectures to the NCS staff, and in walked Ed.  I asked him why he was there, joking that he could be teaching the lecture himself.  He told me, “you never stop learning.”  That is something I will carry with me for the rest of my career, and the rest of my life.

I can’t begin to describe Ed’s personal and professional legacy.  He has touched the lives of hundreds of practicing engineers through his teaching at the University of Arizona and at Cal Poly State University.  But I would like to share two things that I believe any geotechnical engineer can appreciate.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 May 2015 08:55
Huge Undersea Landslide Caused Tsunami in Great Britain, Norway
GeoNews - Geologic Hazards
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 08 May 2015 01:54
Location of Storegga Landslide

The largest known undersea landslide occurred over 8,000 years ago off the coast of Norway. The volume of material that moved is mind-blowing, over 4.6 X 1012 cubic yards or 850 cubic miles! Known as the Storegga landslide, the resulting tsunami buried neolithic settlements in Norway with sediment and caused wave runnup in Great Britain that was 80 feet higher than the normal high tide. The devastating loss of human life can only be imagined. Regarding that last question, anthropologists theorized that depending on the time of year when the disaster occured, the loss of life may have been less. During the summer and early autumn, most people in that region would have been in the highlands hunting moose and reindeer. The article linked below is about some interesting forensic geology work to determine the season when the landslide occurred. [Source: Read more at Image: "StoreggaFLCommonsZone" by Lamiot - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]

Nortex and TerraThane Stabilize Houston Area Highways
GeoNews - Press Releases
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 01 May 2015 07:23

Houston’s Highways, Some of Busiest in Nation, Use Innovative TerraThane Polyurethane Foam Technology to Repair Bad Bridge Approaches, Uneven Joints, and Roadway Depressions.

Nortex employees stabilizing Houston area freeway with TerraThane Polyurethane Foam

MOUNT AIRY, NC—Highways around Houston, TX, known as one the nation’s worst cities for traffic behind Los Angeles, D.C., and Atlanta, need constant repair, but can’t be closed while the work is done. Nortex Concrete Lift and Stabilization, Inc., a Ft. Worth, TX company, recently completed a whirlwind repair project on one of the city’s busiest corridors in the NE quadrant where I-10, 610 Loop, I-59, and I-69 feed millions of cars daily to, from, and around Harris County.

Normal groundwater erosion beneath the highways causes the concrete highway slabs to drop, roadway depressions, uneven bridge approaches, and uneven joints that make driving bumpy and uncomfortable, dangerous, and causes severe wear and tear on automobiles.

To make the repairs, the Texas Department of Transportation, TXDOT, brought in Nortex. The company carefully planned out the repairs for the half million pound project, and sent out four crews each with it’s own box truck rig to use a relatively new technology called “foamjacking.” Foamjacking uses high-density polyurethane foam to fill the subterranean voids, and lift the concrete slabs to proper level. “We’ve been lifting and stabilizing roadways with polyurethane foam since we got into the business back in 2003,” says Casey Derosa, asst. gen. mgr. of Nortex. “It’s a far superior method versus the old way of mudjacking.” Mudjacking is a ubiquitous term for a mix of mud, sand, cement, crushed limestone, and water hydraulically pumped into large holes drilled into the concrete slabs to fill voids and level the slabs. Mudjacking uses more and much larger equipment, and requires larger holes to be drilled. It typically requires the roadway to be closed much longer than foamjacking, and takes more time to clean up.

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

Last Updated on Friday, 01 May 2015 07:26
Fugro Completes Major Offshore Geotechnical Investigation
GeoNews - Project Related
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 30 April 2015 15:27

Fugro geotechnical vessel MV Bucentaur

Fugro has completed one of the largest offshore geotechnical investigations in history according to The investigation was performed by two vessels, MV Greatship Manisha and MV Bucentaur (pictured here), for DONG Energy's 1.2 gigawatt Hornsea Project One project which is located 120 km off the UK's Yorkshire coast. The investigation (contract valued at GBP13 million) consisted of 2,800 metres of seabed cone penetration testing and more than 5,000 metres of boreholes over a four month period. [Source: Hydro International. Image: Hydro International]

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 22:32
2015 Tunneling Industry Forecast
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 30 April 2015 15:19

What will 2015 hold for the tunneling industry? Tunnel Business Magazine asked a panel of 4 industry experts that question. The panel consisted of a Colorado School of Mines Professor as well as reps from Black and Veatch, AECOM, and Kenall Manufacturing. In general they seem to agree that there are opportunities in the US for large combined sewer outfall (CSO) projects, water distribution projects, and even high-speed rail, particularly in California. [Source: Check out all of the analysis at Tunnel Business Magazine]

The van that goes looking for potholes
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 16 April 2015 23:28
High-tech pothole-seeking van from Northeastern University

A team from Northeastern University has a very interesting van used for quantitatively assessing pavement condition using a variety of sensors. They use cameras, laser profilers, accelerometers on axles, pressure sensors in the tires, microphones, and even ground penetrating radar. The researchers reportedly characterized pavement condition of 150 miles of road in 4 days in Beverly, Massachussets, a task that took public employees about 1 year the last time it was performed, in 2010. The cost of the survey was around $25,000. The technology is expected to be commercialized this month. [Source: The Boston Globe. Image: Boston Globe]

Ohio Highway Closed by House-Sided Boulder
GeoNews - Geologic Hazards
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 16 April 2015 23:16
House-sized boulder closed westbound US 52 near the Ohio River

Not too much to say about this, but check out the photo. The entire westbound portion of US Highway 52 near the Ohio River was closed last week as a house-sized boulder and other rockfall debris landed on the roadway. Crews anticipated it would take several days to clear the material and reopen the road. [Source: WLWT News via USGS Landslide Events. Image: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet via WLWT]

Introducing the LS™250 MiniSonic™, a Versatile Compact Sonic Rig
GeoNews - Press Releases
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 05:49

Introducing the LS(TM)250 MiniSonic(TM), a compact sonic rig for a wide variety of environmental, geotechnical, water and mining projects.SALT LAKE CITY, April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Boart Longyear (, the world's leading provider of integrated drilling services and drilling products, is proud to introduce the LS™250 MiniSonic™, a compact rig suitable for a wide variety of environmental, geotechnical, water and mining projects.

Capable of drilling to depths of up to 250 feet (78m) when used with 4.75 inch (121mm) casing, the wide 600mm rubber tracks provide low ground pressure (.28 bar/4psi) and make it perfect for jobs in the most sensitive and fragile terrains. Plus, its smaller footprint makes it appropriate for projects with small drill pads, environmentally sensitive areas or hard-to-reach sites and requires less support equipment – making it a low-cost solution for a variety of mining, environmental, geotechnical and infrastructure drilling projects.

[Editor] Click through for the rest of the press release from Boart Longyear. [/Editor]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 05:50
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