Online Presentation: Agents of Change for Resilient Infrastructure

     Tom O’Rourke

   Thomas R Briggs Professor

             of Engineering

          Cornell University


29th April at 4pm



The effects of hurricanes with respect to infrastructure resilience are reviewed with reference to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The effects of Hurricane Sandy on New York City and subsequent programs to improve the City’s infrastructure are described. Special attention is focused on the restoration of the L Line Tunnel, which was flooded by Hurricane Sandy. Professor O’Rourke will describe how a team from Cornell and Columbia Universities was assembled at the request of Governor Andrew Cuomo to help re-engineer a $1/2 billion project to rehabilitate the tunnel, and still keep the subway in service. The new approach integrates several advanced technologies, including distributed fiber optics and LiDAR, and makes a breakthrough in infrastructure restoration resulting from interdisciplinary work between civil and electrical engineers. He will also describe recent advances in earthquake resilience for the regional water supply for Southern California. The agents of change that lead to improved policies and approaches are explored, including the technical, institutional, and social challenges of introducing new technologies and engaging community support.


Tom O’Rourke is the Thomas R. Briggs Professor of Engineering in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, Distinguished Member of ASCE, International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Member of the Mexican Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He authored or co-authored over 400 technical publications, and has received numerous awards for his research. His research interests cover geotechnical engineering, earthquake engineering, underground construction technologies, engineering for large, geographically distributed systems, and geographic information technologies and database management.

Use of Controlled Blasting to Evaluate the Deep, In Situ Dynamic Response of Soils

Presented by Dr Armin W. Stuedlein,

Associate Professor, Geotechnical Engineering

School of Civil & Construction Engineering, Oregon State University

RSVP: Here

As part of its long-term resilience goals, the Port of Portland has determined that one of its two runways must be hardened against the vertical and lateral deformations anticipated following rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the nearby Port Hills fault. Both runways lie in close proximity to the Columbia River, which has been dredged to maintain shipping channels to depths as great as 20 m. Lateral spreading has been determined to pose a significant risk to the runways, given that the subsurface consists of dredge sand fill, medium stiff silt, and a deep deposit of medium dense sand. Prior to selecting and executing a costly ground improvement program, the Port has determined that an improved understanding of the dynamic response of the silt and sand deposits is warranted. Deep, in-situ, blast-liquefaction experiments were conducted to provide a means to understand the seismic performance of these soils without the possible effects of sample disturbance, small sample-size effects, and artificial drainage conditions. This presentation describes the seismic setting of the Port, the subsurface characterization of the test site, and the experimental program and corresponding results. The findings include the characterization of blast-induced body waves, relationships between shear strain and excess pore pressure, shear strain and shear modulus degradation, and post-liquefaction volumetric strain. These findings will be used by the Port’s consultants to calibrate numerical models and guide the sizing of the planned ground improvement program. The technique developed and deployed in this study can be used to determine fundamental dynamic soil properties in any soil and at any depth.

University of Canterbury

Engineering CORE, Main Atrium

E9 Lecture Theatre

ENGE412 Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (Christchurch)

Course Description

This course focuses on description and representation of a rock mass, stress and strain in a rock mass and deformation and failure of a rock mass. These are applied to rock slope and underground excavation stability analysis.

Course Format

This course is delivered as a combination of 1-day blocks with self-directed learning through online course material. There is one 1-hour laboratory in groups and a local afternoon field trip. In-class Masteries are assessed. Students are expected to be working on the coursework between the scheduled lecture, lab and field trip sessions.

Refer University of Centerbury website or contact Marlene to see full schedule.


Canterbury Uni – Applied Hydrogeology – ENGE 414

This course is aimed at engineers and geologists who wish to learn the fundamentals of hydrogeology and groundwater. This course is delivered over three weeks with morning lecture blocks, field, lab and computer activities as well as self-directed learning through online course material. Assessments consist of online forums, reports and poster presentation.


Students successfully completing this course will be able to:
1. Assess hydrogeological controls on groundwater storage and flow.
2. Use a selection of laboratory skills to estimate permeability.
3. Understand the principles and quantification of groundwater movement.
4. Design and interpret pump tests in simple aquifer systems.
5. Have a basic understanding of surface water – groundwater interaction; flow in the unsaturated zone; groundwater chemistry and contaminant transport.
6. Use hand calculations, computer modelling and physical modelling to simulate groundwater flow and contaminant transport in simple aquifer systems and explore management options.
7. Discuss groundwater resource issues constructively and show familiarity with key journal articles from the international literature.

Course coordinator: Marlene Villeneuve

Lecturer: Leanne Morgan

Guest lecturer: Mike Heap (University of Strasbourg)

Canterbury Uni – Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering – ENGE 412

This course is aimed at engineers and geologists who wish to learn the fundamentals of rock mechanics and how they are used in rock engineering. This course is delivered in two 2-day and one 1-day blocks, as well as self-directed learning through online course material. There are two 1-hour laboratories in groups and a local field trip.  Assessments consist of in-class Masteries, a group project and take-home exam.

A student completing this course will be able to:
1. Apply the principles of stress, strain, elasticity, and plasticity to intact rocks in the laboratory as a demonstration of understanding of these fundamental principles.
2. Collect sufficient discontinuity and rock mass data in the field to transfer the data into a description of the physical and mechanical characteristics of the discontinuities for interpretation of their relationship with stress, strain, elasticity, and plasticity.
3. Translate the output from laboratory testing and field data collection into inputs for selecting and using the appropriate analytical tools for different slope stability scenarios, and make recommendations for stabilisation based on the results of the stability analyses.
4. Comprehend the inter-relationships between given input parameters for different underground excavation scenarios by optimisation of mitigation and stabilisation techniques with project costs and functionality.
5. Evaluate the likely behaviours, select the appropriate tools for analysis, and suggest the appropriate mitigation techniques for a given range of stress, rock mass and scale conditions.
6. Develop a working knowledge of laboratory, field and analytical methodologies for rock mechanics through exposure during assessment in order to comprehend the methodologies and their limitations to be able to validly interpret their outputs given their limitations, and engage in problem solving of rock mechanics problems by developing a working relationship between engineering geologists and civil engineers.

Course coordinator/Lecturer: Marlène Villeneuve