Calgary Geotechnical Society


Welcome to the 2020–2021 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 March 19, 2020
EventMarch – Regular Series Lecture
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre, 3112 - 11 Street NE, Calgary
Time 5:30 – 6:00 pm: Cash Bar and light snack
6:00 – 7:00 pm: Presentation
Speakers Dr. Jim Oswell
  Jim Oswell is a geotechnical and permafrost engineer based in Calgary. His work has taken him across northern Canada and into Alaska, Siberia and the Tibetan Plateau of China. He specializes in permafrost engineering and soil-pipeline interaction problems. He has a Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering from the University of Manitoba.
Topic An Antarctica Geotechnical Investigation
Abstract In late October 2019, Jim Oswell traveled from Canada to Antarctica as part of a team preparing to develop and construct a new ...
  research station for the New Zealand government on Ross Island (7751' South). Jim spent 10 days on site and was able to witness the last sunset (until February 22, 2020), baby seals being born on the ice pack, hike some hills with views of active volcanoes and glaciers, and lots of drill core.
This talk will provide photographs of his visit including transport by the US Air Force from Christchurch New Zealand to a runway on the polar ice shelf, the New Zealand Scott Base research station, the United States McMurdo research station, and the ground conditions where the new research station will be constructed. The near surface materials comprise interbedded layers of basalt and scoria with ice crystals and discrete columnar ice layers. He will describe some of the challenges with working in this environment and the challenges of foundation design where the mean monthly air temperature never rises above freezing.
Cost $20 for regular members; free for full-time students.
Limited tickets will be available at the door for cash or cheque only.
Pre-registration is required for regular members and students.
RSVP Pre-register at Eventbrite
Please indicate any dietary restrictions at

Date Tuesday February 25, 2020
EventFebruary – CGS Colloquium Lecture Series
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre, 3112 - 11 Street NE, Calgary
Time 5:30 – 6:00 pm: Cash Bar and light snack
6:00 – 7:00 pm: Presentation
Speakers Dr. Kathy Kalenchuk
  Dr. Kalenchuk completed her BSc. Mining Engineering at the UofA, and her M.Sc & Ph.D Geomechanical Engineering at Queen's. She is the President and Principal Consultant of RockEng Inc. Kathy has over 12 years of experience in geotechnical and geomechanical engineering in the mining industry, and her areas of expertise are primarily focused on underground mine design, support design, induced seismicity and numerical modelling.
Topic Mitigating a fatal flaw in modern geomechanics: understanding uncertainty, applying model calibration, and defying the hubris in numerical modelling
Abstract This colloquium has been prepared to achieve two objectives. The first objective is to provide a discussion ...
  of the practical limitations of numerical modelling in the field of geomechanical engineering. Too many discussions of numerical methods in geomechanical engineering are centered on the impressive ability of numerical tools to conduct complex and sophisticated analyses with relative ease and efficiency. Practitioners need to have a grounded conversation of numerical modelling with the reality that geomechanical designs are often data limited, with high degrees of uncertainty. When data limits and uncertainty are overlooked geomechanical engineers are at risk of introducing unforeseen fatal flaws in our engineering design. The second objective is to provide 'how to' guidelines for model calibration using a variety of ground reaction data types. Model calibration is truly the only means to reduce numerical uncertainties. Formal training in numerical modelling is often focused on software utilization and sometimes computational methods, however there are few opportunities for formal training on how to calibrate a model for practical engineering applications. This colloquium provides workflow guidelines for calibration methods and procedures.
Cost $20 for regular members; free for full-time students.
Limited tickets will be available at the door for cash or cheque only.
Pre-registration is required for regular members and students.
RSVP Pre-register at Eventbrite
Please indicate any dietary restrictions at

Date Thursday November 5, 2019
EventNovember – Fall 2019 Cross Canada Lecture Tour (CCLT)
LocationAustrian Canadian Cultural Centre, 3112 - 11 Street NE, Calgary (Main Hall)
Time 5:30 – 6:00 pm: Cash Bar
6:00 – 6:30 pm: Buffet Dinner
6:30 – 7:30 pm: Lecture
Speakers Dr. Ian Moore, GeoEngineering Centre at Queen's - RMC
  Dr. Moore is a Civil Engineer specializing in Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, Non-linear Soil-structure Interaction, and the Non-linear Mechanics of Shell Structures like pipes interacting with solids such as soil, employing both computational and experimental methods. His work includes research on stability limit states for long-span flexible culverts, buried pipes (concrete, steel, aluminum, polyethylene and PVC), manholes and buried tanks. Recent research includes continued development of design methods for thermoplastic, metal and concrete culverts, assessment of strength of corroded metal (corrugated steel and cast iron) pipes, behaviour of liners used to repair gravity flow and pressure pipelines, soil-pipe interaction during pipe bursting and horizontal directional drilling, behaviour and design of pipe joints and of continuous and jointed pipelines when subjected to differential ground movements.
Topic Some Days the Earth Doesn't Stand Still: Pipeline Response to Imposed Ground Movement.
Abstract Various circumstances arise where pipelines are subjected to ground movement,...
  and successful pipeline performance is contingent on understanding and accounting for the resulting pipe-soil interaction. This presentation presents the results of experimental and computational studies examining the details of three kinds of ground motions.
Firstly, problems involving movement laterally past pipelines buried within are examined, such as those that result from down slope soil movements or as soil is displaced ahead and below the keel of an iceberg. Measurements of pipe deformations and bending are compared with three dimensional finite element analyses. Experimental observations of soil displacement fields, strain fields, and zones of localized shear failure around pipelines are then presented, and compared with nonlinear finite element analyses.
Secondly, pipeline response to differential ground movement is studied where the pipeline straddles across a normal ground fault. Centrifuge studies are used to investigate the impact of pipeline flexibility on behaviour, as well as the performance of conventional 'beam on elastic spring' buried pipeline models. Prototype scale experiments using a new test box are then discussed, for both continuous PVC and jointed clay sewer pipes.
Lastly, investigations into the causes of cast iron pipe fracture are summarized, resulting from frost heave in the overlying soil materials. Conclusions regarding the causes of ring fracture in small diameter pipes during extreme cold events are drawn, and potential approaches to identify and remedy these issues.
Cost $50 for general admission, $20 for students. Limited tickets will be available at the door for cash or cheque only. Pre-registration is required for all tickets.
RSVP Pre-register at Eventbrite
Please indicate any dietary restrictions at

Date Thursday October 17, 2019
EventOctober – CyGS Student Award Winner Presentation
LocationUniversity of Calgary Main Campus, 2500 University Dd NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4
Time 5:30 – 6:00 pm: Cash Bar and Light Snack
6:00 – 7:00 pm: Presentation
Speakers Dr. C.K. Wong, Post-Doctorate Scholar, University of Calgary
  Dr. Chee K. Wong is a Post-Doctorate Scholar at the University of Calgary currently working on high temperature and high pressure strength testing of shales and mine tailings. He completed his PhD at the UofC in 2018 and has published articles in journals and conferences on topics including the hybrid failure mode in compacted clay, physical modelling of buried pipeline response in elasto-viscoplastic soils and crack initiation in brittle rock under pore pressure elevation. Dr. Wong was the winner of the EIT/Student Award and has presented his findings in his paper at the CGS conference in St. John's NFL.
Topic Physical Soil-Pipe Interaction Model Tests and their Practical Implications
Abstract Pipelines have been designed and constructed to transport essential natural resources such as water, oil, and natural gas.
  They are constructed at shallow depths through different geologic terrains. Permanent ground deformations can occur in actively moving slopes, landslides, surface faulting and ground subsidence. These ground movements impose external load on buried pipes. Large strain may be accumulated in the buried pipes over time, and it may affect the performance of the pipes. The external load exerted on the pipe by the ground movement is dependent on the soil resistance mobilized in soil-pipe interaction. Recent available pipeline design guidelines (e.g., American Lifelines Alliance (ALA) and Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI))provide recommendations on soil ultimate resistances for different soil types in drained and undrained loading conditions. However, these guidelines do not consider the effect of soil displacement rate on the soil ultimate resistance in soil-pipe interaction. This paper proposes to use the concept of "isotache" behavior to quantify the relationship between the soil-pipe relative displacement rate and the soil ultimate resistance on the pipe in soil-pipe interaction in compacted clays. The relationship is developed based on results measured in physical soil-pipe interaction models. Practical examples are presented to illustrate the use of this relationship to evaluate the performance of buried pipelines subjected to short-and long-term ground movements.
Unconfined compression strength(UCS)or response is used as a consistency index for classification of natural clay. This strength is determined from an unconfined compression test, a special type of unconsolidated-undrained test in which no confining pressure is applied to the test specimen and the specimen is sheared in an undrained condition. For saturated clay, the UCS or undrained shear strength is independent of the confining pressure, and is an indicator of consistency in stiffness. However, the structure of compacted clay is more heterogeneous than that of natural clay because of variation in compaction effort and water content in compacted clay. This study investigates if UCS can be used as a consistency index for compacted clay. Two different types of clay, Calgary till and Regina clay were used. The clay contents of Calgary till and Regina clay are about 15 and 45%, respectively. Compacted clay specimens were prepared at varying water contents using standard Proctor method. Computer X-ray scanning technique and filter paper method were conducted to quantify the variation of bulk density and matric suction along the specimen height for compacted specimens, respectively. Then, unconfined compression tests were conducted on the compacted clay specimens to determine the UCS. Empirical correlations among bulk density, matric suction and UCS were developed. In addition, these data were analyzed using a statistical approach. The results provide confidence levels for the use of UCS as a consistency index for compacted clay used in construction
Cost $20 for general admission, free for full-time students. Limited tickets will be available at the door for cash or cheque only. Pre-registration is required for general admission and students.
RSVP Pre-register at Eventbrite
Please indicate any dietary restrictions at

Date Monday September 9, 2019
EventNovember – Special Tour Lecture
LocationUniversity of Calgary Downtown Campus, 906 8 Avenue Southwest, Calgary, AB T2P 1H9, Canada
Time 5:30 – 6:00 pm: Registration and Networking
6:00 – 7:00 pm: Dinner
7:00 – 8:00 pm: Lecture
Speakers Professor John Burland
  Professor John Burland, CBE, DSc(Eng), FREng, FRS, NAE,FIC, FCGI was educated in South Africa and studied Civil Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. He returned to England in 1961 and worked with Ove Arup and Partners fora few years in London. After studying for his PhD at Cambridge University, Professor Burland joined the Building Research Station in 1966, became Head of the Geotechnics Division in 1972 and Assistant Director in 1979. In 1980 he was appointed to the Chair of Soil Mechanics at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. He is now Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Investigator at Imperial College. In addition to being very active in teaching (which he loves) and research, John Burland has been responsible for the design of many large ground engineering projects such as the underground car park at the Palace of Westminster and the foundations of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. He specialises in problems relating to the interaction between the ground and masonry buildings. He was London Underground's expert witness for the Parliamentary Select Committees on the Jubilee Line Extension and has advised on many geotechnical aspects of that project, including ensuring the stability of the Big Ben Clock Tower. He was a member of the international board of consultants advising on the stabilisation of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City and was a member of the Italian Prime Minister's Commission for stabilising the Leaning Tower of Pisa. He has received many awards and medals including the Kelvin Gold Medal for Outstanding contributions to Engineering, the Harry Seed Memorial Medal of the American Society of Civil Engineers for distinguished contributions as an engineer, scientist and teacher in soil mechanics and the Gold Medals of the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations. He has been awarded six Honorary Doctorates and he is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society and is a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering. In 2002 he was President of the Engineering Section of the British Association and he was Vice President (Engineering) of the Institution of Civil Engineers, London from 2002 to 2005. In 2005 he was appointed CBE for services to Geotechnical Engineering. Prof. Burland retired from full-time teaching in 2004 however he continues to teach on the MSc course and assists in current research in soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering in his position as Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Investigator at Imperial.
Topic A Tale of two Towers - Big Ben and Pisa
Abstract The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been inexorably increasing its inclination to the point where it was about to collapse.
  After years of study and trials, stabilisation measures were carried out using a novel method of soil extraction from beneath the high side of the foundation bringing the tower back to its inclination in 1838. The inclination of the Big Ben Clock Tower has been influenced by a number of activities including the construction of the underground car park beneath New Palace Yard in the 1970's and, more recently, by the construction of the Jubilee Line Extension tunnels and the 40m deep new Westminster underground station. The movements of this tower were controlled by a different, equally novel method of injecting grout beneath the low side of the foundation. The lecture will describe the response of these two famous towers to the stabilisation works and present the latest results.
Cost $50 for general admission. Free for the first 10 full-time students to register. $20 for full-time students thereafter.
Free street parking available.
Limited tickets will be available at the door for cash or cheque only. Pre-registration is required for general admission and students.
RSVP Pre-register at Eventbrite
Please indicate any dietary restrictions at