Calgary Geotechnical Society

Events 2007–2008

Welcome to the 2007–2008 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 May 15, 2008
EventAnnual General Meeting
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre
Time 5:30 pm – Cash Bar
6:00 pm – Lecture
Speaker Robert Holtz, Ph.D., P.Eng., University of Washington
  Dr. Bob Holtz is a professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Washington (since 1988). He previously was on the faculty at Purdue University for 15 years, and he has worked for the California Dept. of Water Resources, Swedish Geotechnical Institute, NRC–Canada, and as a consulting engineer in Chicago, France, and Italy. His research interests include geosynthetics, soil improvement, foundations, soil properties, and geo-environmental engineering. His research has been sponsored by NSF, FHWA, U.S. Air Force, Indiana Dept. of Highways, Washington State Dept. of Transportation, Washington Technology Center, and several private companies.
He is author, co-author, or editor of 22 books and book chapters, including An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering (with W. D. Kovacs, 1981), the FHWA Geotextile Engineering Manual (with B.R. Christopher, 1985), Geosynthetics for Soil Improvement (ASCE 1988), FHWA Geosynthetic Design and Construction Guidelines (with B. R. Christopher, 1989 and 1995), Prefabricated Vertical Drains: Design and Performance (with Jamiolkowski, Lancellotta, and Pedroni, 1991), Chapter 5 on "Pressure Distribution and Settlement" in Foundation Engineering Handbook (H. Y. Fang, Editor, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1991), Grouting, Soil Improvement, and Geosynthetics (ASCE 1992), Chapter 23 on "Geosynthetics" in Civil Engineering Handbook (CRC Press 1995), Chapter 17 on "Stabilization of Soil Slopes" in Landslides: Investigation and Mitigation (with R. Schuster, TRB 1996), Geosynthetic Engineering (with B.R. Christopher and R.R. Berg, BiTech 1997), and Chapter 15 on "Foundation Soil Improvement" in Geotechnical Engineering Handbook (with J.Q. Shang and D. Bergado, Kluwer 2001). He also is author or co-author of more than 270 technical papers, discussions, reviews, and major reports.
In addition to his extensive professional and technical society activities, Bob Holtz has taught many short courses and given numerous seminars and lectures both in the US and abroad. He was the Kersten Lecturer (1989), Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Houston (1989) and the Kentucky Geotechnical Engineering Group (1996), the 38th Ardaman Lecturer (1999), the Cross–Canada Lecturer for 1999 for the Canadian Geotechnical Society, and the 9th Spencer J. Buchanan Lecturer (2001). He presented the 8th Robert L. Schiffman 44 Geotechnical Colloquium at Cornell University (2003), and the 3rd G. A. Leonards Lecture at Purdue University (2005). He was the J.S. Braun/Braun Intertec Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota, January–June 2002, and in 2006, he was named an IGS Pioneer by the International Geosynthetics Society. He became a Distinguished Member or ASCE in 2007, and was named Puget Sound Academic Engineer of the Year in 2008.
Dr. Bob Holtz is a registered professional engineer in California and Indiana, and throughout his academic career, he has had an active consulting practice. His projects have involved various aspects of geosynthetics, foundations, soil reinforcing, soil improvement, slope stability and landslides, investigation of failures, and acting as an expert witness. His clients have included public agencies, civil and geotechnical engineering consultants and contractors, attorneys, individual citizens, and many companies in North America as well as abroad.
TopicGeosynthetics for Soil Reinforcing
Abstract Because geosynthetics are a relatively new class of nontraditional civil engineering materials, the presentation briefly...
  introduces the types, functions, applications, and properties of geosynthetics. Then the use of geosynthetics for soil reinforcement is discussed in some detail, with specific applications to embankments on soft foundations, steep slopes, and the backfills of retaining walls and abutments. Emphasis is on the material properties of the geosynthetics required for design and construction. Results of recent research activities in these areas are also mentioned.
Cost $30 per person; $15 full-time students
Pay at the door by cash or cheque only, pre-registration is required.
RSVP By email to or phone at 730–6819 by Monday May 12.
Please include your company name, phone number and indicate any dietary restrictions.

Date Wednesday April 30, 2008
EventCross Canada Lecture Tour (CCLT)
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre
Time 5:30 pm – Cash Bar
6:00 pm – Lecture
Speaker Michel Aubertin, Ph.D., Professor, École Polytechnique de Montréal
  After a few years with a consulting firm and more than 5 years at the Université du Québec in Abitibi– Témiscamingue (UQAT), Michel Aubertin joined École Polytechnique as Assistant Professor in 1989. He became Associate Professor in 1992 and a full Professor in 1996. From 1994 to 1999, he was in charge of the undergraduate program in mining engineering, a bilingual cooperative program jointly run with McGill University. In June 2001, he was appointed to the Industrial NSERC Polytechnique–UQAT Chair in Environment and Mine Wastes Management. This Chair involves the participation of two universities (École Polytechnique and UQAT), as well as mining companies, specialized consulting firms and government agencies. The mandate of the Chair was renewed in June 2006 for five years.
Professor Aubertin’s teaching and research activities are focused on mining geotechnics and hydrogeology. Over the years, he has directed or co-directed more than 45 graduate students, including 14 PhD students and 6 post-doctoral fellows. He was director of the rock mechanics division of the Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS), going on to become one of the Society’s two vice-presidents (1997–1998). He co-edited the proceedings of the 1st Canadian Conference on Environmental Geotechnics (1991), and was President and Editor of the 2nd North American Rock Mechanics Symposium (NARMS'96). He was Associate Editor of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal (1999–2004), and was on the editorial board of the Pergamon–Elsevier International Journal of Plasticity (1994–2002). He continues to be involved in the organization of a variety of congresses, seminars, and national and international conferences, and regularly acts as a reviewer for scientific committees, technical journals, and funding agencies such as the NSERC Civil Engineering Grant Selection Committee (GSC 06, member in 2001–2002 and Chair in 2003) and E.W.R. Steacie Grants (member 2006). He chaired the Canadian Geotechnical Research Board from 2003 to 2008. He is now President-Elect of the Canadian Geotechnical Society.
M. Aubertin is a member of various professional associations, including the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, CGS, ASCE, CIM, CSCE, SME–AIME, and IAH. He has been awarded a number of prizes for his teaching and research activities. These include Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineers (1999), the J.A. Franklin and T. Stermac prizes from the Canadian Geotechnical Society (1999), the R&D Award of Excellence from NAGS (North American Geosynthetics Society, 1999), the ASCE Journal of Environmental Engineering Editor’s Award (2001), the Mérite géoscientifique du Québec (2001), and the Réseau Environnement Arnold Drapeau award (2001). In 2003, Professor Aubertin was named Fellow by the Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE) and the Engineering Institute of Canada (FEIC). In 2005, he received the John B. Sterling medal from the EIC for his leadership and professional contributions. He was invited to give the Cross Canada Lecture Tour of CGS in the Spring of 2008.
Topic Use of Laboratory and Field Techniques with Unsaturated Flow Modelling to Assess Coarse Grained Material Behaviour: Application to Waste Rock Piles
Abstract Mining activities produce large volumes of waste rock, which are typically deposited in piles on the soil surface, above the water...
  table. Such piles can cover areas of several tens of hectares and can reach over a hundred meters in height. For hard rock mines, the waste rock grain size can vary from silty particles to metre-scale blocks. The internal structure of a pile constructed on a relatively flat surface typically includes two main zones. The first zone corresponds to the heart of the pile, and is formed by several sub-horizontal stratifications (with dense and loose layers) due to the heavy mine equipment traffic which induces local compaction and degradation of the waste rock. The second zone corresponds to regions where waste rocks are deposited by push-dumping or end-dumping close to the external flank of the pile, inducing grain size segregation along the slope. Depending on the deposition sequence, grain size distribution and bench height, a gradation may then be observed, with coarser particles (with cobbles and blocks) near the base and finer particles (silty sand and gravel) near the crest, together with inclined stratifications. These internal features affect the distribution and flow of water (and air) in the pile.
To assess the internal distribution of materials within the pile, a combination of several tools is usually required which can provide information on the hydrogeological and geochemical characteristics of the waste rock. In this regard, geophysical tools (particularly EM & GPR) are very interesting because they can lead to a three-dimensional mapping of property variations. The information gathered from a combination of appropriately selected techniques can be used to construct numerical models to further study unsaturated water flow and reactive transport. Such simulations help better understand the pile response in its actual and future states, which in turn provides input to adjust the deposition sequence, to plan for closure, and to select an in situ groundwater monitoring strategy.
The presentation will give an overview of techniques that have been developed to characterise material properties in the laboratory and in the field, and to obtain a general picture of a pile’s internal structure. Additional results on unsaturated reactive transport modelling, obtained by the lecturer and collaborators, will also be shown to illustrate how the internal pile structure may influence its hydro-geochemical and environmental response.
Cost $20 per person; $10 full-time student
RSVP April 25 at 3pm

Date Friday April 25, 2008
Event Instrumentation Workshop
Keynote speaker: Erik Mikkelsen
LocationExecutive Royal Inn, 2828 23rd Street NE, Calgary
Info Click here
RSVP Details and registration form Click here
Register before April 11 to take advantage of reduced registration cost.

Date Tuesday April 15, 2008
EventApril – Regular Lecture Series
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre
Time 5:30 pm – Cash Bar
6:00 pm – Lecture
Speaker Jason Luty, P.Eng., Nilex Inc.
  Jason Luty is currently the manager for the Southern Prairie Region for Nilex, a leading manufacturer and distributor of geosynthetic products for Construction, Infrastructure Building and Environmental applications. He received a B.A.Sc. in geological engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1994. Jason worked in the geotechnical instrument field with RST Instruments from 1994 until 2003. In 2003, he joined Nilex in the Vancouver office as Technical Service Representative. In January 2005, Jason relocated to Calgary to assume the Regional Manager role for Nilex. Jason has been involved with several large MSE wall projects including the Sea to Sky Test Section, the Glenmore Trail project (the subject of this talk) and the NW LRT extension (at Crowchild Trail and Nose Hill Drive).
TopicGE5 (Glenmore Trail, Elbow Drive and 5th Street) Retaining Walls
Abstract The GE5 (Glenmore, Elbow Drive and 5th Street) Project is a recently completed $110 million intersection and road improvement...
  project for the SW of Calgary, designed to improve traffic flow on two major arteries. This project includes roadworks for the interchanges at Elbow Drive and 5 Street S.W., lowering Glenmore Trail 10 m and widening it from four to six lanes, building a new pedestrian bridge over Glenmore Trail, and incorporating public art along Glenmore Trail as part of The City of Calgary's Public Art Program. Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) retaining walls with a total face area of 16,000 m2 were constructed along the north and south sides of the project in order to facilitate the required grade separation. Nilex was part of the project delivery team, and provided design, construction materials and construction support for the concrete-faced mechanically stabilized earth walls that form a major component of the construction work. Jason will talk about some of the design and construction challenges encountered including highly variable foundation soils, restricted construction access, and winter construction.
Cost Free
RSVP Not Required

Date Tuesday March 4, 2008
EventMarch – Regular Lecture Series
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre
Time 5:30 pm – Cash Bar
6:00 pm – Lecture
Speaker Bengt H. Fellenius, Ph.D., P.Eng., Bengt Fellenius Consultants
  Dr. Bengt H. Fellenius, formerly Professor of Civil Engineering at the University Of Ottawa, is an internationally recognized foundation engineering consultant and the author of more than 250 technical papers. His professional experience comes from a wide variety of assignments that encompass foundation design for industrial plants, water and sewage treatment facilities, bridges and highway projects, marine structures, and urban area development, as well as participation in special investigations, instrumented field tests, etc. Dr. Fellenius has given lectures and courses to several universities and international conferences throughout America, Europe, and South-East Asia. He currently lives in Calgary.
TopicFoundation Design and Test Results for the New International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand
Abstract The Suvarnabhhumi airport, the new international airport in Bangkok, Thailand, covers an area of 8 km by 4 km (8,000 acres)...
  in a former swamp, a flat marine delta about 30 km south of Bangkok. The soil profile consists of a thin weathered crust on typical soft to stiff, compressible Bangkok clay deposited on a sand layer at a depth of about 25 m extending to about 47 m. Below the sand lies an about 10 m thick layer of hard silty clay followed by very dense sand to great depth.
Most of the area is devoted to runways, roadways, and parking, which required extensive ground improvement to minimize settlement. The structures consist of several units sharing footprints: terminal building, concourse, trellis structure, parking garage, and elevated roadways, which are founded on three types of piles installed to the sand below the clay layer, 1,000mm bored pile, 600mm diameter bored piles, and 600mm driven cylinder piles. A total of 25,000+ piles were installed. The stress-bulbs from the various foundations overlap, resulting in a complicated settlement analysis. The design of the airport started in 1995 and construction was completed in 2005 at a total cost of close to US$30 billion.
The lecture will present aspects of the soil improvement work, analysis of results from pile tests, and the design of the piled foundations for capacity, settlement, and downdrag.
Cost Free
RSVP Not Required

Date Tuesday February 19, 2008 – CANCELLED
EventFebruary – Regular Lecture Series
LocationExecutive Royal Inn, 2828 23 Street NE, Calgary
Time 5:30 pm – Registration & Cocktails
6:30 pm – Dinner
7:15 pm – Presentation
Speaker Terence Coulter, B.A., B.A.I., M.Sc., Principal, Coulter Consulting Ltd.
  Terence Coulter is Principal of Coulter Consulting Ltd, Victoria BC. He received his B.A., B.A.I. in Civil Engineering and M.Sc. in Geotechnical Engineering from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland in the late 60's. Terry provides professional engineering services for geotechnical design and construction for transportation projects, bridges, retaining structures, and earthworks. He has authored publications relating to slope stabilisation and road construction on compressible soils.
TopicKicking Horse Canyon Project: The Trans Canada Highway's Great Challenge
Abstract Until the 1950's, the Trans Canada Highway east of Golden to Yoho National Park was little more than a trail. During the...
  post-war highway expansion, the route was upgraded to a two lane paved road. With the exception of lane additions at two locations, little upgrading work was done until 2002. Completing the four-laning of this 26 km section of the TCH is high on the BC Ministry of Transportation priority list as it forms part of the Pacific Gateway strategy. The work is being carried out in a number of stages as funding permits. Recent work has included the very successful $130M Park Bridge section, which opened before Labour Day, after only 22 months of design and construction under a DBFO procurement process.
The presentation will focus on geotechnical issues encountered on this project and on previous completed works. Of the four remaining stages, the 5 km Canyon section will provide the greatest challenge because of the steep terrain, natural hazards and geotechnical concerns. At an approximate capital cost of $500M, it will be among the most expensive sections of the highway on a kilometre basis in the province. Numerous options are being considered, including a long (2.9 km) twin bore tunnel and surface routes with multiple structures and protection works. These will be discussed from a mainly geotechnical perspective.
Cost Free
RSVP Not Required

Date Tuesday January 29, 2008 – CANCELLED
EventJanuary – Regular Lecture Series
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre
Time 5:30 pm – Cash Bar
6:00 pm – Lecture
Speaker Michael Justason, B.Sc., M.Sc., Bermingham Foundation Solutions
  Michael Justason works as Product Manager at Bermingham Foundation Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario. His background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering & Management and a Master’s degree in Earthquake Engineering, both from McMaster University. Michael is a registered Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario, and is active on technical committees of the ASCE, ASTM, DFI, and other industry organizations.
In the past ten years, Michael has performed over 400 Statnamic pile load tests in 13 countries. Notable projects include:
• Taipei 101 – Taipei Financial Center, Taiwan (1999) (currently the tallest building in the world)
• Hanshin Expressway Reconstruction, Kobe, Japan (1995) (foundation testing for reconstruction after 1995 earthquake)
• Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt (1996/97) (reconstruction of famed Library of the ancient world)
• Burj-Al-Arab Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (1997) (tallest hotel in the world)
• Eureka Tower Apartments (2001) (tallest apartment building in the world)
Since January 2002, Michael has been lead engineer in the research and development of the Berminghammer Clean Diesel Pile Driving hammer, and other advancements in pile driving hammer technology, such as the automatic Energy Control System (ECS). More recently, Michael has been involved in the investigation and feasibility of installing heating and cooling systems in pile foundations and has visited the inventors of the technology in Austria and numerous completed projects in Europe. Bermingham have successfully installed the first building in Canada to use this type of "energy pile".
Topic Topic 1 – Statnamic Load Testing: Update on Recent Activities Worldwide
Topic 2 – Intelligent Pile Driving with a Diesel Hammer
Abstract Topic 1 – Statnamic load testing: update on recent activities worldwide Statnamic load testing is a relatively new method of...
  performing foundation load tests. The method uses high-pressure gas to generate large forces using a small amount of reaction mass. As the name implies, the duration of the applied load is longer than that of a dynamic load test (impact load) yet shorter than a static load test. The advantage of the Statnamic load testing method is its ability to mobilize the foundation as a rigid body, rather than introducing stress waves as with dynamic load testing. Statnamic testing can be performed on any type of foundation element, including footings, plates, driven piles, drilled shafts (caissons), augercast piles, expanded base piles, barrettes, and pile groups. The method can be used on batter piles, and has recently become popular as a lateral load testing method to simulate seismic and ship impact loads. This discussion will give listeners an update on recent Statnamic activities around the world, including new developments in the equipment and improvements in pile instrumentation and data interpretation.
Topic 2 – Intelligent Pile Driving with a Diesel Hammer
This talk will describe the technology behind the development of an automated energy control system for a diesel pile hammer. An adjustable hammer throttle and feedback from an energy monitoring system was used to create a fully automated diesel hammer - now patented. The performance of this system is described in reference to a piling project in Canada where this automated energy control system was used to obtain an unprecedented level of quality control and assurance – data and graphs from the project are presented. The hammer energy control system (ECS) was used to successfully control and maintain a prescribed impact energy for the diesel hammer even as the soil resistance changed. Future applications of this system will also be discussed; such as automatic hammer energy control based on allowable sound levels, allowable vibration levels, and pile stresses.
Cost Free
RSVP Not Required