Double Presentation: An earthquake-induced landslide forecasting tool, and its application in Hawke’s Bay & GNS Science Urban Geological Mapping Project – Napier-Hastings

An earthquake-induced landslide forecasting tool, and its application in Hawke’s Bay

(Chris Massey)

GNS Science has developed an earthquake-induced landslide (EIL) forecasting tool, initially using the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake landslide dataset, but subsequently working in other EIL datasets (e.g. 1929 Murchison and 1968 Inangahua). The tool has been applied in Hawke’s Bay to understand the local rockfall hazard to tsunami evacuation paths on Bluff Hill, and where the regional landslide hazards are so this can be assessed against existing and planned asset development. The talk will cover off the development of the tool, its application in Hawke’s Bay, and its current limitations.


GNS Science Urban Geological Mapping Project – Napier-Hastings

(Julie Lee)


An updated geological map has been completed for the Napier-Hastings urban areas and a geomorphological map and subsurface 3D model will soon be released as part of a nationwide project that is mapping urban areas in New Zealand. 3D software and LiDAR data has enabled us to improve differentiation of Holocene units that form the Heretaunga Plains.  This presentation will describe these products and the results.


HBRC Council Chambers

Back Entry, Vautier Street

Refreshments 5.30pm

Presentations 6.00pm

*Doors will be locked at 6pm for security and entry is not possible after this time.



The Southern Alps of New Zealand: An Integrated Picture of an Evolving Plate Boundary

Presented by Phaedra Upton, Senior Scientist, Geodynamics Team Leader, GNS Science

The Southern Alps of New Zealand – An integrated picture of an evolving plate boundary

The central South Island has long been a favourite site to study and model oblique continental collision, because the orogen is young, narrow, and a single structure, the Alpine Fault, takes up >70% of relative plate motion. The orogen is highly asymmetric and varies along strike as the nature of the two colliding plates change along the boundary. I will explore the 3D structure and kinematics of the orogen, and discuss how regional deep-seated tectonic processes of mountain building are geodynamically interconnected with climate, landscape, and near-surface geological processes that create local fluid flow, effective stress, and temperature anomalies.

Geophysical Investigation Introduction for Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering Applications.

Presented by Eva Sutter

Ground  investigations are there to make sure the ground we build on is suitable for the structure anticipated. Traditionally, this is assessed with common geotechnical tools such as machine boreholes, CPT’s, hand auger or scala testing. While these are great tools to get an accurate understanding of the ground properties at one single location per test, often an area-wide overview of geological, geotechnical and environmental property variations in the underground would be valuable to get a comprehensive image of a site and site performance. This is where geophysical methods have a huge advantage and are used with great benefit to a project in terms of risk reduction, as well as cost and time saving. The talk will provide an overview of the benefits arising from using geophysical investigations, the basic geophysical principles and present a few applications to projects around New Zealand.


Eva is a Geophysicist with 4 years’ experience in the geophysical consulting industry in Switzerland, Germany and New Zealand. She specialises in near-surface exploration techniques for applications in the engineering and environmental sectors. She has also more than 4 years of experience in geophysical research & development. With her strong can-do attitude towards difficult projects she is always keen to find a solution to solve even complex underground problems to help her clients reduce project risks, save money and time. Eva is a member of the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society (EEGS), NZGS and holds a PhD and MSc in Applied Geophysics.

Shrink/Swell Testing of Expansive (Reactive) Soils – A Critical Analysis

Our Auckland Branch has been busy preparing a live Presentation on Tuesday 21st April (Tomorrow) at 3pm.  This will be a live presentation available  to all members.

Click on the link below, if you do not use Teams you can still view the presentation on a web browser.  This will also be the link you can watch the Presentation at 3pm on Tuesday.

  • Register here
  • Join online (MS Teams) here

Thank you to the Auckland Branch Co-ordinators for their hard work in putting this together, Presenter Nick Rogers for agreeing to stream to all members and for Engineering New Zealand’s help in opening up the live stream service to ensure every member has the ability to join the Presentation.

[EVENT CANCELLED!] Agents of change for resilient infrastructure – public lecture by Tom O’Rourke


Kia Ora Koutou,

We regret that in light of the current COVID-19 situation, we have taken the decision to cancel Professor Tom O’Rourke’s lecture tomorrow evening.

I would like to extend my thanks to Tom for his willingness to give a seminar to us here in New Zealand.

Once the situation has settled down, we will try to see if it is possible to re-organise this seminar and in that case we will re-advertise the talk.

Best wishes and thank you for your understanding,

Mark Stringer


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.

Live Link Zoom:



We’re expecting to get pretty high numbers, so can you please book your seat through the Eventbrite page (link above).

The EQC Ground Improvement Pilot Project (GIPP) Christchurch, New Zealand, 2014-2015 Overview / Key Lessons Learnt / Outcomes

Presented by Tony Fairclough

Project Director, Tonkin & Taylor Ltd, Christchurch and Melbourne,

Beca, 32 Harington Street, Tauranga

The EQC GIPP project was undertaken in Christchurch during 2014 and 2015. It encompassed 28 properties spread across 17 locations and construction of the following types of ground improvement works:

  • Gravel rafts,
  • Stone columns,
  • Soil-cement rafts, and,
  • Driven timber piles.

The primary objectives of the EQC GIPP were to design and construct a range of ground improvement types across Christchurch residential properties and gain up-to-date market data, local experience and costs to construct such works. The information that was gained from this project was compiled and used to develop robust cost estimates and inform the Canterbury Earthquake residential damage claim settlement process.

Tony’s presentation will provide an overview of the EQC GIPP, the key lessons learnt, and, the main outcomes that are of particular interest to Geotechnical and Civil engineers who may design and/or manage such works in the future.

The shrink swell test of determining Expansive Site Soil Classes is Fatally Flawed

Presented by Nick Rogers, Tonkin & Taylor

The shrink swell test, which combines both the shrink strain and the swell strain, was developed in Australia in the 1980s. This test now underpins a codified approach to the foundation design of lightweight buildings on expansive (reactive) soils in Australia and New Zealand.

This presentation sets out the results of a critical examination of datasets of shrink swell tests undertaken in Auckland, New Zealand and Victoria, Australia and concludes that in these datasets the shrink swell test has a significant shrink strain bias which makes it unreliable as the sole basis for foundation design guidance on expansive soils


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

Seismic Earth Pressures on Retaining Walls Based on SSI Principals

Presented by Professor Jonathan P. Stewart

Prof. Civil Engineering, UCLA

During earthquake ground shaking, earth pressures on retaining structures can cyclically increase and decrease as a result of inertial forces applied to the walls and kinematic interactions between stiff wall elements and surrounding soil. The current state of practice is based on a limit analysis approach in which a pseudostatic inertial force is applied to a soil wedge behind the wall. This approach is a poor analogy for either inertial or kinematic wall–soil interaction, and not surprisingly, it is frequently unable to satisfactorily capture experimental observations.

The kinematic component of interaction varies strongly with the ratio of wavelength to wall height (λ/H) and relative wall-soil flexibility, among other factors. An analysis framework that captures these effects has been developed that can be applied rigorously (full response history) or in a relatively simplified manner (peak response estimated from ground motion intensity measures). The procedure has limiting assumptions, but its verification against more exact solutions and its validation against test data will be presented. The simplified approach is provided in a Resource Paper that was recently approved by the United States Building Seismic Safety Council for publication with the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NERHR) Provisions and Commentary.