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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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Tool - Convert Munsell Soil Code to Soil Color Name
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 22:54
Munsell soil color chart

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]

 
Drones and Natural Disasters
GeoNews - Geologic Hazards
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 22:52

This is my colleague Dimitrios Zekkos, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, and the founder of Geoengineer.org. He's talking about his group's research involving utilizing drones after natural disasters. Cool stuff! [Source: University of Michigan MichEpedia YouTube Channel. Image: YouTube]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 05:56
 
Pucker-worthy Debris Flow Video
GeoNews - Geologic Hazards
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 22:45

I saw this video a few weeks back on The Landslide Blog, and it's also been posted on GeoEngineer.org. It's well worth the watch. It's one of the scariest debris flow videos I've seen. Some hikers are crossing a channel cut naturally through old debris flow deposits, like a hiker bowling alley. Fortunately the guides hear it coming and everyone manages to get out of the channel before the latest debris flow roars through! [Source: YouTube via Dave's Landslide Blog. Image: YouTube]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 05:57
 
Historic Pennsylvania Tunnel Reopens with Help From NCFI’s TerraThane Polyurethane Foam
GeoNews - Press Releases
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 14:18

Pinkerton TunnelMOUNT AIRY, NC—A $2 million tunnel construction project on the Great Alleghany Passage (GAP) is reopened to the public with help from a geotechnical polyurethane foam called TerraThane, by US company, NCFI Polyurethanes.

The GAP rail-trail is 150 miles of hiking and biking between Cumberland, Md, and Pittsburgh, Pa. created along the former railway line. In Cumberland, the GAP joins the C&O Canal Towpath, creating a continuous 335-mile long trail experience all the way to Washington, DC. It’s become a favorite biking destination for people from around the Mid-Atlantic states. One of its main tunnels, the Pinkerton Tunnel, an 849-foot former Western Maryland Railway tunnel, has been closed since 1975 due to erosion and unstable conditions. The Allegheny Trail Alliance, the organization that built and now maintains the 150-mile GAP, and the Somerset County Rails-to-Trails Association (SCRTA), wanted the tunnel reopened and helped fund the project.

[Editor] Click through for the rest of the press release from GeoPrac sponsor, NCFI Polyurethanes (makers of TerraThane). [/Editor]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 15:09
 
Photos: Inside The MTA's East Side Access Tunnel
GeoNews - Project Related
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 08:10

East Cavern of NY MTA's East Side Access Tunnel Project

The New York MTA's East Side Access Tunnel Project is what I would refer to as a 'Mega Project'. Any time you're in the Billions of dollars range, I'd say that qualifies, and this one sits at $10.2 Billion! When completed, this project will at long last bring Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal. The photos by The Gothamist are worth spending a few minutes looking at. [Source: Check out the Photos at The Gothamist via @GannettFleming. Image: Jake Dobkin / Gothamist]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 15:11
 
Site Characterization Services: Step 4 Laboratory Testing
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 07:26

This video in Terracon's video sequence on site characterization discusses lab testing. [Source: Terracon YouTube Channel. Image: YouTube]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 14:29
 
More Trouble for Bertha TBM, Sinkhole, Tunneling Suspended
GeoNews - Project Related
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 22 January 2016 01:30

Sinkhole (now filled with concrete) caused by ground loss during Bertha Tunneling

The Bertha TBM creating the Alaska Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel and the Seattle Tunnel Partners JV just can't seem to catch a break. After being stopped for nearly 2 years to replace the entire cutterhead and make other repairs, Bertha finally began tunneling again just before Christmas on December 23. The machine had tunneled about 100 feet as of January 13 when there was a problem with a barge that was transporting excavated material from the tunneling. It began listing from an uneven load, was released from it's moorings to avoid damaging the conveyor system, and spilled (supposedly uncontaminated) soil in Elliot Bay. The barge then impacted two piers, it didn't sound like the damage was significant.

Just a few hours after the barge incident, a sinkhole opened up in between the repair pit and the TBM location. On January 14, WSDOT notified Seattle Tunnel Partners that the tunneling was suspended "for cause" pending a safety review. Even the governor of Washington weighed in on the issue. The sinkhole has been filled with concrete now. The concern by critics is the obvious question of what will happen if there is ground loss like this under the viaduct, or underneath downtown Seattle. If you recall, the project included jet grouting beneath the viaduct, so that should help reduce the risk there, and STP has said that once Bertha dives deeper, the risk of sinkholes will reduce. It sounds like the long hiatus had cause them to be a little complacent about the monitoring of the material coming from tunneling. Normally there is a very careful accounting of all the material that is excavated to predict when there is a ground loss risk. I don't think that will happen again! [Source: Read or watch the Washington Governor rail on the tunneling safety. Image: Seattle PI]

Last Updated on Friday, 22 January 2016 08:39
 
GBA Issues New Report-Review Guide
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 23:03
GBA Guide to the In-House Review of Geoprofessional Reports

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 report’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]

 
Notable Geotechnical Engineers Among 2016 ASCE OPAL Award Recipients
GeoNews - Comings and Goings
Written by Randy Post   
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 22:51
Opal Award Trophy

There are two notable geotechnical engineers among the recipients of the 2016 ASCE Opal Outstanding Projects and Leaders awards. Rudolph Bonaparte, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, NAE, the president and CEO of Geosyntec, will receive the award for design. Jerry A. DiMaggio, P.E., D.GE, M.ASCE, will receive the award for government for his many years of service as the FHWA's lead geotechnical engineer. [Source: Read more about the award and bios for the recipients at the ASCE Roundup Blog. Image: ASCE Roundup]

 
High altitude foundation construction with Crux
GeoNews - Project Related
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 05:57

Crux Subsurface rig setup for the Rhinedollar Distribution Project in the Inyo National Forrest

This is an awesome limited access foundation project from Crux Subsurface! They designed and installed micropile foundations for new steel tubular towers to replace old steel latice structures. The high altitude (about 10,000 feet) meant limited construction season window, and challenges with the size of helicopter needed for loads. They also provided an innovative steel cap design to the micropiles, thereby avoiding the need to bring in additional concrete and rebar for a traditional micropile cap. Check out the excellent video below. [Source: Read more about the project at Crux Subsurface. Image: Crux]

Crux Rhinedollar Project Video

Rhinedollar Job Story 2015 from Crux Subsurface, Inc. on Vimeo.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 January 2016 13:01
 
Recorded Webinar - Geotechnical Aspects of Polyurethane Grouting
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 20 December 2015 11:53

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!

[Source: URETEK Holdings YouTube Channel. Image: YouTube]

Last Updated on Monday, 21 December 2015 04:17
 
Ground Freezing Goes Mainstream with Popular Mechanics
GeoNews - Available Resources
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 20 December 2015 11:52

Moretrnch ground freezing technology at the Washington D.C. First Street Tunnels Project

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]

Last Updated on Monday, 21 December 2015 04:16
 
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