Calgary Geotechnical Society


Welcome to the 2018–2019 lecture series!

The regular lecture series is held at the Austrian Canadian Cultural Centre at 3112 11th Street NE, Calgary. (See map here).
There is parking available either at the ACC or on-street.
The talks are held either in the upstairs hall or downstairs – doors on the west side of the building.
Lectures are free to attend unless stated otherwise.

Date Thursday November 15, 2018
EventNovember – Regular Series Lecture
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre, 3112 - 11 Street NE, Calgary (Main Hall)
Time 5:30 – 6:00 pm: Cash Bar and Light Snacks
6:00 – 7:00 pm: Presentation
Speakers Bruce Jamieson, Ph.D., P.Eng., University of Calgary
  Bruce has over 35 years of experience spanning snow avalanche hazard management, hazard assessment, snow and avalanche research, avalanche forecasting and avalanche control. He was president of the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) from 1992 to 1995, chaired the 1996 International Snow Science Workshop in Banff, Alberta and the CAA's Technical Committee until 2004. During the summer of 2002 and fall of 2008 he was a guest researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research. Bruce was the Principal Investigator of the Applied Snow and Avalanche Research group at the University of Calgary (ASARC), where he supervised 24 graduate students investigating avalanche runout estimation, hazard mapping, avalanche forecasting, snowpack tests, etc. He is a Professional Engineer registered in British Columbia and Alberta, and a professional member of the CAA. Bruce has written over 70 papers in ISI journals, plus over 100 conference papers
Topic Assessing, Mapping and Mitigating Snow Avalanche Risk
Abstract In mid 2018, the Canadian Avalanche Association published a technical manual, entitled Planning Methods for Assessing...
  and Mitigating Snow Avalanche Risk. Each of the fourteen chapters has two or three authors. Bruce Jamieson is the first author of each chapter.
Bruce will identify some aspects of snow avalanches that are different from other slope hazards such as debris flows:
1) explosives are effective triggers; 2) more occurrences; 3) impact forces are lower; 4) the failures initiate in a bonded material within a few degrees of its melting point; 5) the deposits disappear within months.
The effects of each of these factors on assessment or mitigation methods will be summarized. Selected methods for characterizing snow avalanche terrain and expected snow avalanches will be outlined. Short examples of qualitative, semi-quantitative and quantitative assessment and mapping methods will be presented for transportation corridors, occupied structures, transmission lines, and forests. Examples of mitigation methods including structural defences and remote avalanche control systems will be presented.
Cost $20 per person, free for full-time students.
RSVP Pre-register at Eventbrite
Please indicate any dietary restrictions at

Date Thursday October 11, 2018
EventOctober – Fall 2018 Cross Canada Lecture Tour (CCLT)
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre, 3112 - 11 Street NE, Calgary (Alpine Room)
Time 5:30 – 6:00 pm: Registration and Cash Bar
6:00 – 6:30 pm: Buffet Dinner
6:30 – 8:00 pm: Presentation
Speakers Alex Sy, Ph.D., P.Eng., Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd.
  Alex Sy is Vice President, Technical at Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. in Vancouver, BC. He has more than 40 years of experience in geotechnical and earthquake engineering for transportation, water and wastewater infrastructures, heavy industrial facilities, hydroelectric and water retention dams, and mine tailings dams. He has worked throughout Canada and internationally. Alex has provided forensic engineering and expert witness services for infrastructure failures involving dams, dykes, bridges, pipelines, buildings and landslides. He currently serves on Independent Technical Review Boards for several major water supply projects and tailings storage facilities in high seismic environments.
Alex has a Bachelor in Civil Engineering from the University of Queensland in Australia, and a Master and Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of British Columbia. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Civil Engineering Department of the University of British Columbia. He has authored more than 50 technical papers in various aspects of geotechnical and geoseismic engineering. Alex received the Canadian Geotechnical Colloquium award from the Canadian Geotechnical Society in 1996, and the VGS Award from the Vancouver Geotechnical Society in 2015. He is a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada.
Topic Lessons Learned from Geotechnical Failures
Abstract Despite advances in geotechnical engineering, failures do occasionally occur because of unknowns, uncertainties, inexperience,...
  miscommunications, etc. However, failures do provide valuable lessons for the profession that can be learned to minimize future failures. This lecture will present three examples of geotechnical failures in British Columbia, in which the author was engaged to carry out forensic engineering. Pertinent details of the geotechnical failures and their causes are described for the following three case histories: (1) the dyke breach at the Stanley Street Pump Station located on the North Arm of the Fraser River in New Westminster; (2) the excessive foundation settlement at the Queensborough Middle School using stone column foundations in very soft soils at the east end of Lulu Island, and (3) the damaging ground movements at the Panorama/Ridgeview Subdivision located on an old landslide or "earthflow" in Chilliwack. Subsequent remedial solutions and lessons learned are also discussed.
Cost $50 per person, $20 for full-time students.
RSVP Pre-register at Eventbrite
Please indicate any dietary restrictions at

Date Thursday September 13, 2018
EventSeptember – Regular Series Lecture
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre, 3112 - 11 Street NE, Calgary (Main Hall)
Time 5:30 – 6:00 pm: Cash Bar and Light Snacks
6:00 – 7:00 pm: Presentation
Speakers Khokan Debnath, M.Sc. Student, University of Calgary
  Mr. Debnath is currently an M.Sc. candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering and a Research Assistant in Gas Hydrate Geomechanics Group at University of Calgary. During his M.Sc. study, he specialized in numerical modeling on gas hydrate-bearing sediments. Khokan modeled thermal evolution in the gas hydrate bearing Arctic sediment to establish dissociated zones for select rates of seafloor temperature increase and evaluated the seafloor slope instabilities.
Khokan completed Bachelor of Civil Engineering with distinction from Concordia University in 2012 and worked for three years as junior geotechnical engineer before enrolling in the M.Sc. program in university of Calgary.
Topic Modeling Changes in Hydrate Stabilities Associated with Arctic Warming and Its Impact on Slope Instabilities
Abstract Large volumes of methane hydrate exist within marine sediments across the Arctic region, such as sediments on the...
  continental margin of the Beaufort Sea. The low temperatures and high pressures required for hydrate stability, and the cold water in this region leads to hydrate being formed at comparatively shallower depths relative to other oceanic sediments. Because of global warming, it is estimated that the ocean bottom temperature of the Arctic region has increased by as much as 1?C since 1979. If this trend in increasing ocean bottom temperature were to continue, hydrate dissociation within the sediment may occur potentially causing slope instabilities. In this paper, changes in the seabed geothermal conditions were modeled to estimate the reduction in the hydrate stability zones within the sediment on the continental margin. The change in sediment strength due to gas hydrate dissociation has been incorporated as input variables in to a slope stability model to determine changes in factor of safety associated with hydrate dissociation and assess the potential for slope instabilities.
Cost $20 per person, free for full-time students.
RSVP Pre-register at Eventbrite
Please indicate any dietary restrictions at