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Rockman's Ramblings

Top 50 GeoPrac Content Items of 2008 Q1

I’m a little behind with this one, regular readers might know why, but here are the top content items of the first three months of 2008 (as of 4/3/08 actually). They are in order of normalized hits (number of page impressions per day) with the total number of page impressions listed in parenthesis. There were a few near the top of the list that I was a little surprised to see and you might notice some funny math, but I didn’t bother to hand edit things. Click through for the whole list.


Project Related

San Vicente Dam, Lakeside, CA to be raised by 117-ft

From ENR:

The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors last week certified the environmental impact report to raise San Vicente Dam by 117 ft.

The $568-million project, to be built on top of the existing San Vicente Dam in Lakeside, will expand the reservoir to hold an additional 52,000 acre-ft of water for use during emergencies and another 100,000 acre-ft of water to supplement imported supplies during dry periods.

The Dam will be constructed of roller compacted concrete and will reportedly be the largest dam raising ever performed in the US and the largest using roller compacted concrete in the world. (Photo by O’Connor Construction Management, Inc.)


Geologic Hazards

Chaiten Volcano, Chile

Since Friday May 2, the Chaiten Volcano in Chile has been erupting steam and ash in a most spectacular fashion for the first time since 7400 BC. The column of ash and steam rose over 17 km high and drifted over the Andes Mountains into Argentina and over the Atlantic. The terrestrial and aerial/satelite imagery of this event is amazing and frightening. has an excellent page covering the latest info on the Chaiten  eruption.

There is concern now that the energy of the volcano has leveled off and a collapse of the ash column could happen at any time creating a pyroclastic flow of super-heated ash and vapors much like the one that buried Pompei. The photo at the left is of a lightning storm interacting with the dust and steam from the erruption, it looks like armageddon! (Photo by Carlos Gutierrez / UPV / Landov)


Geologic Hazards

China Earthquake Coverage

The regular news media as well as the geo-blogosphere are all abuzz about Monday’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake in central China. Official death toll is at 12,000 right now and that’s in Sichuan Province alone.  My guess is that number will swell substantially in the coming days. If you haven’t seen photos and video yet, they are absolutely gut-wrenching. My heart and prayers go out to the victims of this disaster. (Photo by Liu Hai, AP)

Several geo-bloggers have posts about the earthquake. Harold Asmis of Ontario-GeoFish describes the earthquake as a "big valley-thrust earthquake" or what he calls the "Fist of God". Dave’s Landslide Blog has started compiling reports of landslides related to the earthquake in this landslide prone region of China. And here is the USGS info on the earthquake.


Software Updates

ADAMA Software Updates – MSEW and ReSSA

ADAMA Software has released several updates to their popular MSE Wall design software and Reinforced Soil Slope software packages. Update 9 to MSEW 3.0 was posted on April 25. The changes include several updates related to the AASHTO 2007 code, and the option to use either the Simplified Method (AASHTO) or the Coherent Gravity Method (CGM). And there is now an option for considering live load (LL) in calculating Tmax for strength and connection but ignoring it for pullout.

Update 2.2 to ReSSA 3.0 was posted yesterday, May 5 after several itterations of the update were posted during the month of April.  The update includes a fix for handling geometries where multiple points have the same X-coordinate but different Y-coordinates. It also allows for the specification of a vertical seismic coefficient as well as a horizontal one. And the latest updates allow the inclusion of the safety map in the printout, include modified calculations of reinforcement quantities, and allow user-selected colors for reinforcement layers that now shows up in the printout too. Click through for the download link.



Continuing Problems for Ohio Landfill

The Countywide Recycling & Disposal Facilities in Stark County, Ohio have a new round of problems. There has been much debate over an underground fire reportedly caused by the disposal of aluminum dross waste, a byproduct of aluminum production, dumped between 1993 and 2001. The site has long received complaints for odors and for a long time denied that there was a fire. They have also had problems with slope stability, including a failure of a portion of the south slope in 2006, possibly a result of the destabilizing effect of the fire. Early this year the Ohio EPA cited the facility for violating 8 environmental regulations after waste was found to have migrated outside the permited waste area.

Their latest problems involve a tear or leak of a geosynthetic lining that caps the facility to control gas and odors from the underground fires and regular landfill gas. The leak resulted in 500 to 5,000 gallons of leachate spilling into a sediment pond. The material fortunately did not leave the site and was pumped out of the pond and transfered to a treatment plant where their leachate usually goes. The landfill, one of the largest in Ohio, handles about 6,000 tons of trash a day, including about half of Summit County’s residential garbage.

Story by way of Geosynthetica. Image from Long Live the Village Green.