Mine reclamation project underway in Buchanan County

Source: Mine reclamation project underway in Buchanan County | Local News | bdtonline.com GRUNDY, Va. — A mine reclamation project is underway in Buchanan County that state officials say will protect 22 homes. According to the Virginia Department of Energy, a state agency formerly known as the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, a $699,108 reclamation project is underway on multiple sites along the Lynn Camp Creek area of Buchanan County. The agency said abandoned mine land features at those sites are considered a danger to 22 nearby homes as well as an environmental concern to the community. An Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grant has been awarded to repair the area, including landslides, drainage issues and closing old mine openings. “Ridding the Lynn Camp Creek community of several of these hazards is the number one goal of our AML program,” Virginia Energy AML Projects Coordinator Lesa Baker said in a prepared statement. “We have thousands of these features across the Commonwealth and we evaluate those that can have the greatest impact every day. With the safety and environmental improvements made during this work, we can celebrate another successful AML reclamation project on the books.” The state has contracted with C&S Construction and Excavating, LLC for the project. Baker said crews will remove and repair damages caused by four landslides. In all, 27 mine openings created for underground coal mining will be closed to the public but in a way that ensures long term drainage of the historic mine works, the agency said. Proper drainage also will be established in the community to prevent erosion and protect nearby streams. On Oct. 1 of this month, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) became Virginia Energy. The Abandoned Mine Land program now falls under the Mined Land Repurposing program within Virginia Energy.

Gaming to improve geotechnical engineering education—and broaden diversity

Source: Gaming to improve geotechnical engineering education—and broaden diversity | Rowan Today | Rowan University A new research project at Rowan University’s Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering Systems (CREATES) aims to teach students real-world geotechnical engineering concepts and attract diverse candidates to the field using interactive video games. Called MERGE (Multiphysics Enriched Mixed Reality for Integrated Geotechnical Education), the project is led by Dr. Cheng Zhu, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Dr. Ying (Gina) Tang, an expert in serious games and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Dr. Sarah Ferguson, an assistant professor in the College of Education; Dr. Sarah Bauer, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; as well as collaborator Dr. Lei Wang, assistant professor of geotechnical engineering at the University of the District of Columbia, a historically Black college and university. Both universities are located on the East Coast of the United States near Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. The study is supported by a $299,210 grant from the National Science Foundation. While college civil engineering programs nationwide focus on concepts like soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering, some course content and textbooks don’t reflect emerging technology and research methods. MERGE games will include real-world scenarios students are likely to encounter in internships and careers in the geotechnical engineering field. Because the games are computer-based, students don’t need access to a lab or expensive equipment, making the learning scenarios accessible anytime and anywhere. It is expected that such authentic, fun and engaging play in games will promote learning. “Most universities don’t really use games to teach students, especially in our field,” Zhu said. “When we design these games, we want to make it very different from the current efforts.” The [...]

University of Nevada, Reno scientists and engineers collaborating on seismic survey for earthquakes

Source: University of Nevada, Reno scientists and engineers collaborating on seismic survey for earthquakes | University of Nevada, Reno University of Nevada, Reno scientists and engineers install equipment at Reno Fire Department's Station 5 on Mayberry Drive as part of a seismic study using fiber-optic cable that runs six miles from downtown Reno to west of Reno. A team of scientists and engineers from the University of Nevada, Reno are installing earthquake sensors above ground along a six-mile stretch of an existing fiber-optic telecommunication cable buried under Reno to develop a rigorous and efficient system for subsurface imaging at the large scale, and detecting earthquakes using laser and fiber-optic technology. "We'll be recording seismic signals generated by passing planes, trains and automobiles along the six-mile stretch of currently unused, buried optical fiber that runs west from Virginia Street along California Avenue and on to Mayberry Drive," Scott Tyler, professor of geological sciences and a leading expert in fiber-optic/laser sensing systems, said. "As the vibrations from the transportation system pass through the underlying geology, it causes a very small change in the optical fiber’s length, which can be recorded from the start of the fiber on South Virginia Street, using a laser-based system called Distributed Acoustic Sensing or DAS." The team, led by Elnaz Seylabi, an assistant professor in the civil and environmental engineering department, is also installing three-component high-resolution seismometers along the cable in the study area to compare traditional methods with the new DAS technology that sends a pulse of laser light through the cable and measures the perturbations in the backscattered light from every point along the cable. The fiber optic system is sensitive enough to detect footsteps as well as jet airplanes that fly by. "Instead of using thousands of geophones to measure ground vibration [...]

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 [...]

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 Consumption Market Size to Witness Huge Growth by 2027 | By Top Leading Vendors – Keller, Fugro, Nova Metrix, Geokon, Geocomp, Sisgeo, Cowi – The Daily Chronicle

Source: Geotechnical Instrumentation and Monitoring Consumption Market Size to Witness Huge Growth by 2027 | By Top Leading Vendors – Keller, Fugro, Nova Metrix, Geokon, Geocomp, Sisgeo, Cowi – The Daily Chronicle

Why Would You Need a Track CPT Rig?

Vertek CPT wants to ensure that you have the right equipment to grow your business. As you are going through the CPT rig purchase process, we’ll have extensive conversations to ensure that we are both on the same page when it comes to where you will be testing, what types of tests you can most easily sell, and which rig or rigs will help you to make the most money. Track Rig Features As you look around our site, you’ll see that some rigs are built on tracks, as opposed to truck beds with wheels. As per with construction equipment, you might expect the tracked equipment to be larger, with CPT rigs the tracked units tend to be smaller. This is because tracked rig CPT platforms are designed to not only traverse and work in difficult terrains, but also to be highly maneuverable around obstacles such as trees, rocks and gulleys. Remember, CPT testing may be specified by your customer for pre-construction activities, meaning that it takes place on a site with little preparation. Having a highly maneuverable platform with low ground pressure can make the difference between you being able to win certain jobs and not. Track rigs are usually designed in order to distribute the weight of the rig over more square inches of contact area. This helps to minimize damage to sensitive areas as well as help the rig not get stuck in less than optimum ground conditions. The overall rig footprints are designed so that the units can be effectively trucked to sites within your service area. Track rigs are designed for deep pushes in tough geologies and the Vertek CPT tracked rigs push from about 10 tons up to 25 tons. With the right combination of weight, ease of maneuverability and set-up features, a tracked [...]

Measuring the Moisture Content of Soil Using CPT

Measuring soil moisture content can be important for a variety of reasons. In placing underground electrical equipment or digging tunnels, it can be essential to know exactly what soil moisture conditions look like at specific depths. Early CPT test procedures used the standard CPT output data of cone resistance, sleeve friction and friction ratio to identify all of the parameters underground. When it comes to soils that have some moisture content or are saturated, it can be helpful to use a boring rig to obtain soil samples at depth close to the first CPT sounding. This enables you to ‘calibrate’ your rig to the site to ensure that the interpretations of the test data are accurate. Because establishing subsurface moisture content can be safety-critical in certain cases, Cone Penetration Testing methodologies have evolved to provide relative soil moisture content data. It is now possible to measure soil moisture more directly at the cone head vs. inferring what the moisture might be through interpreted sounding data. One method of measuring the presence of water is with a ‘piezocone’. This is a CPT cone that is fitted with a device that measures pore pressure. As the cone penetrates into saturated soils, hydraulic (water) pressure is exerted on the instrumented cone. By watching this pressure increase and decrease as the cone is driven deeper into the ground, it is possible to measure the presence of moisture at depth. This type of approach is better suited to soil conditions in which it is expected for the soil to be fairly wet to saturated conditions. Another method of establishing the extent of the presence of water is by using electrical sensors such as a dielectric probe, which measures soil electrical conductivity. This can be a useful practice and can be helpful in soils with less [...]

Soil Electrical Conductivity

In terms of measuring soil contamination, measuring soil electrical conductivity can provide useful information for a more complete site characterization study. Measuring sub-surface soil electrical conductivity is becoming less expensive as well as faster and easier. This form of measurement has most commonly been used for measuring physical and chemical soil properties but the ability to pinpoint contaminants is improving, particularly with software designed for the job. How to Measure Soil Conductivity Measuring soil electrical conductivity is facilitated by two different types of sensors, a contact sensor and a non-contact sensor. Contact sensors work by making contact with soil to measure electrical conductivity directly. These types of instruments are most often used along the surface of a field to characterize the soil for agricultural purposes. Non-Contact Sensors Non-contact sensors, as the name implies, function without having to touch the soil directly. This method is based on the measurement of the change in mutual impedance between a pair of coils passed through the soil. Electricity is applied through the coils, which creates a magnetic field. Much like the way an induction motor operates, this magnetic field induces an electrical current in nearby materials that are magnetic. You can assess the level of current induced by measuring the impedance in the operating coils. Passing non-contact sensors down a borehole has been used effectively to establish geophysical properties such as the presence of clay (which may have highly conductive materials distributed through it) and water table levels. In cases where an area is known to have contamination, the identification of clay layers and groundwater distribution can help to estimate where 'plumes' of contamination might be contained orspread underground. In the case of a borehole test, water samples can be gathered directly from discrete depths to confirm the presence of various types of contaminants. [...]

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