Project Related

Foundations for Cowboy’s Stadium Roof Arches

The new Dallas Cowboy’s stadium in Arlington, Texas has gently curving steel arches to form a retractable roof. Using rack-and-pinion system to pull the panels uphill, the system is different than most previous retractable roof systems according to the Cover Story by Nadine M. Post (no relation!) in the July 14, 2008 edition of ENR. Of course the thing that interested me was the foundations that support the two 1,225-ft long steel arches. More after the break. (Photo copyright ENR and Manhattan Construction)

Geologic Hazards

North Carolina Landslide Hazards pointed out a very nice PDF version of a Power Point presentation by the North Carolina Geologic Survey on their landslide hazard mapping efforts in western North Carolina. The presentation was dated August 1 of last year. The NCGS also has their landslide mapping products available for download, and those so inclined can download the GIS data sets as well. (Photo by NCGS)


Comings and Goings

FHWA’s Jerry DiMaggio to Retire

On Tuesday July 8, Jerry DiMaggio, P.E. was confirmed as the Implementation Manager for the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) at the National Academies. He will be retiring from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Bridge Technology, where he is the Principal Bridge Engineer – Geotechnical and National Program Manager (essentially the top dog geotechnical engineer in the country for surface transportation). He is an internationally recognized figure in geotechnical engineering and geo-construction. Read on for more details.



New Technology for Nano-Scale X-Ray of Rock Pores

Ingrain, Inc. has just announced the acquisition of a NanoXCT Imaging device to be used in conjunction with their reservoir modeling capabilities to provide geoscientists an unprecedented look at the pore properties of rock samples, even oil sands. From their press release:

The 3-D NanoXCT imaging device, which is the first of its kind to be used outside of the microchip industry and some of the synchrotron beams in the country, is capable of focusing an X-ray source onto an extremely small region of interest within a rock sample — as small as 20-60 microns. The best resolution of the new device is 0.05 microns (50 nanometers) or 1/1000th of the diameter of a strand of human hair.

Click through for the links to the press release and the company website which has some nice 3D animations of oil displacing water in rock pores. The image below is a screen capture from one of those animations. (All screen captures property of Ingrain, Inc.)


No Picture
Rockman's Ramblings

Download Update: VBA and Excel…Part 2

My apologies to anyone in the past two months who tried to download my sample Excel spreadsheet that went along with the article " VBA and Excel for Engineers and Scientists – Part 2". I didn’t notice that there was a problem with the download until a new member emailed me about it (thanks Chris). I believe that it’s working now, if not be sure to email me! By the way, I’ve been out in the field since last week, sorry for the sparse posts.

Download the GeoPrac-VBA2-Examples.xls Spreadsheet (Excel 97-2003 format, but works with 2007 also)


Available Resources

Yucca Mountain – $32 Billion More

Thanks to Harold at the Ontario-geofish blog, I came accross this AP article that releases the first Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository cost estimate update since 2001. The US DOE now puts the cost of the facility at $90 billion, up $32 billion from that 2001 estimate. Of course that estimate is slightly deceptive. It covers the $9 billion already spent and 100 years of operation. Perhaps the bigger issue is funding has not been secured largely in part to the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-NV). If a steady stream of money can be secured, the best case scenario for the facility is a 2020 opening. 

I also found a neat blog called Yucca Facts that has a refreshing perspective on the facility that is pro-science if not necessarily pro-Yucca. They also have a commentary about this latest DOE announcement and some commentary on Senator Reid.


Available Resources

ArcGIS API for Google Maps

From Google Maps Mania Blog:

The ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for Google Maps allows map developers to extend the Google Maps API to use ArcGIS Server services. With the extension, you can add your own data to a Google Map and embed this map in your own page.

ESRI have a number of examples of what can be achieved using their new API. Examples and reference for the API can be found here. Using the API you can:

  • Display your own maps on top of a Google Maps base map.
  • Execute a GIS model and display the results in Google Maps.
  • Search for features in your GIS data and display the results on Google Maps.
  • Find addresses using your own address locator and display the result on Google Maps.
  • Display attributes from your GIS data on the map using the Google Chart API.
  • Allows others to add GIS functionality from your server as a Google Mapplet.

On the surface, it seems like this news would only be of interest to GIS professionals and geeks like me. But the truth as I see it is that this development for extending the popular ArcGIS platform to the internet will lead to a whole host of new online applications and mashups that will be both fun and useful. (Screenshot by way of Mapperz)


Geologic Hazards

Landslide Causes Train to Derail into Mississippi River

Four engines pulling a freight train derailed July 9 and landed in the Mississippi River after hitting a landslide or major rockfall. The accident happened near Guttenburg in northeastern Iowa. Two workers on the train were injured, one was rescued by boat. The engines are now leaking diesel fuel and transmission oil into the river, but crews are on scene to attempt to contain the contamination which has apparently spread 5 miles downstream. Two ethanol tankers derailed as well but do not appear to be leaking. Several rail cars carrying grain have spilled also. There are 75 cars still on the track. Via Reuters and The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA). (Photo credit: Orlan Love/The Gazette)



Johannasburg Sinkhole Opens after Tunnel Collapse

A 12m long sinkhole opened up on Oxford Road in northern Johannesburg South Africa after a partial tunnel collapse in the Gautrain rail tunnel being constructed underneath the road. Eyewitness accounts say there was a broken water pipe flooding the sinkhole, but no word on which occurred first. The road is expected to be closed for 2 weeks. Gautrain representatives said the tunneling would resume after geotechnical/geological investigations into the collapse are completed, which could take "several weeks". (Photo credit: Werner Beukes, Sapa via

Via The Star (Zambia) and (Johannesburg?)


Press Releases

Wolosick receives 2008 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award

John R. Wolosick, P.E., M.ASCE, of Hayward Baker Inc. has been named the recipient of the 2008 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award.

Odenton, Md. (Vocus/PRWEB ) July 9, 2008 — John R. Wolosick, P.E., M.ASCE, has been named the recipient of the 2008 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award. The Geo-Institute Board of Governors of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) selected Wolosick for this award, noting his valuable contributions to micropile design and development, slope stabilization and retaining wall repairs.

The award citation presented to Wolosick cited his work for “novel and innovative design and construction applications for micropiling, earth retention, slope and dam stabilization works and the dissemination of this experience through publications, presentations, seminars and tireless promotion of new technology for acceptance in industry and government.”

[Editor] Click through for the rest of the press release [/Editor]