Geotechnical USA

Drone Rules Make Tracking Down Faults a Difficult Feat

Chelsea Scott looks on as Michael Bunds lands a fixed-wing drone in Southern California. Credit: Jui-Chi (Vickie) Lee Source: Drone Rules Make Tracking Down Faults a Difficult Feat - Eos Chelsea Scott and Ramón Arrowsmith, like many earthquake scientists, track down faults. As tectonics researchers at Arizona State University, they need to know where a fault is, how much it’s moved, and how it behaves below the surface. Small uncrewed aerial systems, also known as drones, provide them with high-resolution photographs that capture the necessary information at the scale of centimeters—a higher resolution than some commonly used, easily accessible satellite or airborne data sets. However, collecting drone data along the length of a fault is no simple task. Bigger Is Better A magnitude 7.0 earthquake can produce a 62-mile-long (100-kilometer-long) rupture with surface displacements of up to about 3 feet (1 meter), said Arrowsmith. “You need to have a good enough ruler to measure [that],” he said, which imagery collected from drones can easily provide. The problem, he said, is rapidly covering a 62-mile stretch. Nearly every country that regulates drone operations recommends or requires that pilots maintain visual contact with their drone. One way around the problem is to use a bigger drone. Cheap, heavy quadcopters—helicopters that can easily take off and land—are small compared with lightweight, expensive fixed-wing drones that look like tiny airplanes. In February 2020, Scott and three colleagues spent almost 4 days mapping 25 miles (40 kilometers) of the San Andreas Fault in Southern California. Although they had quadcopters, Scott said “the workhorse was the fixed-wing drone.” “Because fixed-wing drones are so expensive, flight planning is done very, very carefully, and unfortunately the project is over if the drone crashes.” The average quadcopter can be spotted approximately half a mile (0.8 kilometer) away; mapping long linear features like [...]

Soil Nail Walls Design and Construction

Source: Soil Nail Walls - Design and Construction -NEW (7003IW2022) INSTRUCTOR:  Naresh Samtani, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE Participants will have access to the virtual workshop video archives and materials for 60 days from the start day of the workshop. Virtual Workshop Brief Using a collaborative and interactive learning approach, this virtual workshop will help you understand the design and construction aspects for soil nail walls. You will learn newer design approaches based on the LRFD platform that is the basis for guidelines for soil nail walls by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The workshop will help you assimilate the design and construction aspects through active participation by frequent interactions throughout the workshop and real-time expert feedback. The interactions will facilitate a better understanding of the nuances of the newer design principles which would help you avoid costly design errors in real-world projects. In between the two live sessions, attendees will independently work on an application (e.g., exercises) or a reflection (e.g., reading) assignment. Learning Outcomes Upon completion of this course, you will be able to: Explain the terminology for soil nail walls Explain design of soil nail walls using principles of limit state design Explain the essential elements of construction Recognize construction procedures and influence on wall design and performance Explain the importance and concepts of nail testing Identify necessary characteristics of software tools Explain corrosion considerations Discuss facing (shotcrete) analysis Identify the necessary information on plans and specifications Benefits for Participants Become familiar with the latest limit state design approaches and standards for soil nail walls Avoid common pitfalls and costly errors in analysis and design Be able to categorize and streamline limit state evaluation Recognize the importance of considering construction as part of overall design process Assessment of [...]

WIU Graduates First Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering Students

Source: WIU Graduates First Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering Students Associate Professor of Engineering Blair McDonald and Jeremy May, new alumnus of WIU Civil Engineering MACOMB, IL - - The Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering programs on Western Illinois University's Quad Cities campus have marked their first graduates. Jeremy May, of Geneseo, IL, received his degree in Civil Engineering, and Dakota Wilson, of East Moline, IL; Jeffrey Latham, of Davenport IA; and Travis Ohlsen, of Moline IL received their degrees in Electrical Engineering in May. In Spring 2019, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) approved new degrees in Electrical Engineering (EE) and Civil Engineering (CE) within the WIU School of Engineering, which began in Fall 2020. Western's Civil Engineering program prepares graduates to work in the structural, geotechnical, transportation and water resources areas of either government (local or federal) or private practice. While May is the first Civil Engineering graduate from this new program, several students have graduated in recent years with a civil engineering emphasis, and all are now working with companies such as Shive-Hattery, Inc., Bruner, Cooper & Zuck, Inc., the US Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois Department of Transportation. Many WIU Engineering graduates have gone on to obtain their professional licensures, which involves a four-year process following graduation. Electrical Engineering develops students' knowledge of rapidly expanding technologies in electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. One of the requirements of an EE degree is to take an additional math course, Linear Algebra, which allows all EE students to automatically obtain a minor in Mathematics. Latham, Ohlsen and Wilson all make up the EE Senior Design Team for an Autonomous Tracked Vehicle. Latham plans to continue his education with the University of Arizona's Engineering-Robotics and Automation graduate program. Ohlsen recently completed his internship with KONE Escalator Supply Unit and began working full [...]

UD researchers study climate change impacts on soils at military installations

Source: The Ground Underfoot - Civil and Environmental Engineering UD researchers study climate change impacts on soils at military installations We walk over it, drive over it and build on it. Yet, it is probably safe to say, most of us rarely think about the ground beneath our feet. Underneath the grass, concrete, asphalt and other materials in our built environment, however, soil provides structure and stability for what lies above. The United States military wants to understand the role that climate impacts, such as flooding, storm surge or sea level rise, will have on soils at its coastal military bases and facilities, which are critical to national security. Soil conditions can affect the integrity of the ground underpinning buildings, roads, bridges and more. For example, if a soil’s pH were to rise significantly, due to increased salt content-containing ions such as sodium from storm surge, it could create saline conditions that could hamper the ground’s ability to support this necessary infrastructure. Understanding these threats will enable faster and more accurate routing and maneuverability for U.S. forces. The Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) is collaborating with the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Louisiana State University to understand how vulnerable military installations along coasts may be affected by soil changes due to sea level rise and coastal flooding. DENIN has received $3.79 million in first- and second-year funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to start this work, and is eligible for an additional $3.82 million in continued funding over the following two years. Led by DENIN Director Don Sparks, Unidel S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry in UD’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, the UD effort includes interdisciplinary collaboration with Yan Jin, Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor [...]

Environmental Regulations Changing China’s Hydropower Stations

Source: China’s Thousands of Small Dams Struggle to Stay Afloat Chen Tai’an poses for a photo atop the Hongsha Hydropower Station dam in Liuyang, Hunan province, 2021. Diao Fanchao for Sixth Tone   For decades, rural areas along the Yangtze River depended on small hydropower stations. Now, amid rising ecological costs and safety concerns, the government wants to make them more sustainable. Early in April, continuous rain lashed the central city of Liuyang, Hunan province for days. As the Yangtze River Basin entered its major flood season and its banks swelled, Chen Tai’an stood inside the hydropower plant he partly owns, listening to the rumble of its turbines. He says it’s the best time of the year to generate hydropower since most turbines operate at full capacity. But this year has been different. Chen says his Hongsha Hydropower Station’s annual revenue fell by more than 30,000 yuan ($4,600) as its output was cut by 100,000 kilowatts per hour. The reduced power generation stemmed from new, and more stringent, government guidelines for maintaining “ecological water flow” — the level and quality of water in rivers to sustain the local ecosystem. According to a 2018 government policy mandated for small hydropower stations, Chen couldn’t store water during the dry spell between August and March — meaning river water could no longer be fully stored to generate electricity as in previous years. So he was given until August of last year to install a floodgate on the dam to release one-tenth of the annual runoff into the river, with which he complied. “All that water wasted… such a shame,” says Chen, looking at the river and furrowing his brow. He’s still pondering what the government meant by “ecological water flow.” To him, all river water is a valuable resource, and using turbines to turn it into [...]

Sichuan China Earthquake

Source: Sichuan, China: Earthquake leaves three dead and 60 injured - CNN An earthquake in China's southwestern province of Sichuan left at least 3 people dead and 60 injured on September 16th, according to China's state-run media. Local authorities put the quake at 6.0-magnitude, while the US Geological Survey (USGS) put it at 5.4-magnitude on an 8-point scale. The quake hit in the early hours of the morning, with the epicenter located about 52 kilometers (32.3 miles) southwest of Yongchuan district in Chongqing, with an initial depth of 10 kilometers, according to USGS. The earthquake left at least 1,221 collapsed houses and more than 3,000 severely damaged homes, according to the Global Times. "I woke up to the tremor and saw the chandelier in my room swinging dramatically and the writing desk was shaking," one resident, surnamed Tang, told the Global Times. "It's been a long time since an earthquake of this magnitude has occurred." Chinese authorities launched rescue efforts in the morning, with the provincial government activating a level 2 response, the second highest in China's four-tier earthquake emergency response system, according to Xinhua. Luzhou City, home to about five million residents, was among the hard-hit areas. Thousands of soldiers and emergency workers have been sent on rescue efforts, along with rescue equipment, medical supplies, makeshift surgical vehicles and heavy machinery. Tents have been set up for evacuees in a nearby village. Experts say a more serious earthquake is unlikely, though there may be aftershocks, Xinhua reported. Sichuan is located along one of several seismic belts in China, which makes it prone to earthquakes. One local employee in Luzhou told the Global Times that though residents are used to earthquakes, they are usually of a lower magnitude -- and Thursday's quake was much stronger than average. A number of [...]

Parameters Variation Model Customization and Sensitivity Analyses

Source: Parameters Variation: Model Customization and Sensitivity Analyses Parameters Variation Model Customization and Sensitivity Analyses A well-known engineering challenge in the framework of finite element (FE) analysis-based design is the large number of input factors involved in geotechnical computational models. There is always a significant amount of uncertainties associated with the properties of geomaterials, being naturally highly heterogeneous materials. In the context of model calibration and validation, conducting a sensitivity analysis is very important. This can determine the key factors which govern the system and efficiently characterize the geotechnical variability for any considered design problem.   Powerful mechanisms for the consideration of parameter variation are also very interesting for speeding up FE model creation and automating results in post-processing. These are also quite useful in reducing model definition for specific types of engineering problems (excavation wall of a specific type under simple ground conditions, simple tunnel shape in uniform rock mass, etc.) to a limited number of parameters that can be inputted in a text file or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet without expert knowledge of the PLAXIS user interface and different modeling techniques and FE know-how. The sensitivity analysis and parameter variation tool in PLAXIS A sensitivity analysis determines how different values of an independent variable affect a particular dependent variable under a given set of assumptions. In other words, sensitivity analyses study how various sources of uncertainty in a mathematical model contribute to the model's overall uncertainty. The Sensitivity Analysis and Parameter Variation tool (see Figure 1) can be used to evaluate the influence of model parameters on calculation results for any particular PLAXIS FE model: The Select Parameters tab sheet will first provide information about all the parameters that can be changed to perform the sensitivity analysis. Available parameters include most model parameters of the data sets for soil and [...]

A Climate Change-Induced Disaster in Denali National Park

Source: A Climate Change-Induced Disaster in Denali National Park | Time The Times has recently showcased an article on the current rockslide situation in Denali National Park. The effects of climate change have been dramatic with the current melting of the permafrost. The National Parks Service has recently upped through gravel removal of the Pretty Rocks Landslide in an effort to keep up as the rapidly thawing permafrost picks up pace. Alaska is right now recognized as the country’s fastest-warming state. The landslide hit unprecedented speed 4 weeks ago causing the team to close the back half of the park weeks earlier than anticipated. This only signals bad news as reservations are canceled in the short term and the long term implications are yet unknown. “This is the canary in the coal mine for infrastructure disruption in Alaska,” says the Camp Denali lodge owner Simon Hamm. “If things continue on the path they’re on, it’s not going to just be Pretty Rock—it’s going to be half of the Alaskan highway system.” Rapid deterioration Denali National Park is one of the U.S.’s largest national parks at 6 million acres, and sits about four hours north of Anchorage. While the entrance to the park is certainly beautiful, many people prefer to hop on buses to access the park’s marquee attractions deep down its single 92-mile road: views of Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), the highest peak in North America at 20,000 feet; the gleaming Wonder Lake; rolling mountainsides that contain an abundance of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, caribou and bighorn sheep. About halfway along the road lies the Pretty Rocks Landslide, a slowly sliding section of earth that acts more like a glacier than a rockfall. Since the 1960s, permafrost deep below the earth’s surface has thawed, causing the soil and [...]

Geotechnical Instrumentation and Monitoring Market Forecasted to Reach $6.1 Billion By 2024 in USA and the World

NEW YORK, Oct. 01, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to the market research report published by P&S Intelligence, The global geotechnical instrumentation and monitoring market share is expected to reach $6.1 billion by 2024, advancing with a CAGR of 11.8% during the forecast period. The market is buoyed by increasing government regulations for infrastructural development coupled with steady growth in the construction sector. Furthermore, the growing demand for geotechnical instrumentation in the oil & gas sector is supporting the market growth. Of various components, services are expected to witness the fastest growth in demand in the geotechnical instrumentation and monitoring market during the forecast period. This can be mainly attributed to the increasing demand for these services for the continuous monitoring of critical structures in the energy & power sector. Moreover, there has been an increased focus on the monitoring of old structures, such as dams, keeping in view the safety of humans and wildlife in the vicinity. Get a Sample Copy of this Report: Among the end users, oil & gas is expected to register the highest CAGR, amounting to 13.8%, in the geotechnical instrumentation and monitoring market during the forecast period, owing to the increasing demand for geotechnical solutions for the monitoring of oil and gas pipelines. Furthermore, with the expansion of oil and gas refineries in the Middle Eastern and African (MEA) region, the demand for geotechnical instruments and services is bound to increase. Globally, the geotechnical instrumentation and monitoring market is expected to register the fastest growth in Asia-Pacific (APAC) during the forecast period, on account of the increasing infrastructure projects in developing countries of the region, such as China and India. China is heavily investing in its infrastructure to counter the effects of the economic slowdown. Since 2018, the Chinese government has approved 27 projects, with [...]

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