NZ Geomechanics News

Branch reports


Quality talks have kept Auckland engaged over the second half of 2018. In July Mike Dobbie kindly presented on Load Bearing Bridge Abutments Supported on Polymer Geogrid Reinforced Fill. At the start of September the branch hosted the NZGS AGM after a presentation from Richard Kelly on the the Ballina Bypass Prediction Exercise Sydney. Later in the month a large crowd of around 200 people was in attendance at the 2017 Rankine Lecture titled “Triggering & Motion of Landslides” given by Professor Eduardo Alonso. In October Professor R. Kerry Rowe gave his very valuable 2017 Terzaghi Lecture on Protecting the Environment with Geosynthetics and Dr Andrew Lees enlightened us on FE modelling of polymetric geogrids for stabilising soils. At the end of November we are trialing a Xmas Mini Symposium for local practitioners to present on local topics and to sit down for dinner. A final presentation will be held in December on the Transient Surface Deformations Caused by the Gotthard Base Tunnel presented by Simon Löw. The Auckland branch coordinators hope everyone has enjoyed the year of presentations and thank you all for your attendance. We greatly appreciate the support of Geofabrics, Ground Investigation Limited, Geotechnics and Beca who have supported the talks and the society.


On 26th June Phil Clayton – Principal and Technical Director in Geotechnical Engineering with Beca Limited presented on Some approaches to liquefaction assessment in Waikato soils in a near capacity University of Waikato lecture theatre. In this talk, Phil drew from his broad experience in seismic geotechnical engineering including input to the original NZGS Module 1 (now module 3), Module 5a and 6, guidance on the seismic design of retaining structures for residential sites in Greater Christchurch as well as the NZSEE/MBIE guide to the seismic assessment of existing buildings.

The presentation introduced several related papers on liquefaction assessment undertaken for the Hamilton Section of the Waikato Expressway submitted to the 2017 NZGS conference. Of interest to many who work in the rhyolitic soils of the Waikato, this project utilised shear wave velocity based liquefaction triggering assessment methods. This approach was supported by detailed crosshole and downhole methods and a program of paleoliquefaction investigation. Also discussed is the application of unit specific Ic cutoff and fines correction parameters that could be extended for wider use in the region.

Thanks to Vicki Moon and Willem De Lange for organising the U of W facilities and thanks to HD Geo for sponsoring the event and the gourmet catering!

Future Waikato Branch Events

We have the managed to secure Prof Misko Cubrinovski and the New Zealand Geomechanics Lecture to come to Hamilton early in 2019 – date is to be confirmed. Liquefaction of Waikato soils is still a hot topic and we are working on some more society events around this – watch this space…


The Wellington branch has had a busy couple of months with more to come. In September Dr. Richard Kelly presented on the Ballina Bypass Prediction Exercise in Sydney after teaching a short course with Nick Wharmby on Design and Construction on Soft Soil. Also in September we were honoured to host Prof. Eduardo Alonso for the 57th Rankine Lecture. Prof. Alonso presented to a group of 30 (approx.) on the Triggering and Motion of Landslides and gave some insightful ideas about creep mechanism and new ways of numerically modelling landslides.

In October we also hosted two presentations. First, Prof. Kerry Rowe presented the 53rd Terzaghi Lecture. Prof. Rowe presented on Protecting the Environment with Geosynthetics. He gave insight into key factors affecting the design life of geosynthetics and garnered some robust discussion from the crowd of approximately 30. We also hosted Dr. Andrew Lees from Tensar International who presented on Finite Element Modelling of Geosynthetics. Dr. Lees discussed how geosynthetic and soil components act as a single interlocked material in vertical load applications.

To close out 2018 we have planned a presentation by Dr. Martin Larisch of Miyamoto International NZ on Effective Risk Management for Piles and Deep Foundations (21 November), and a presentation by Prof. Simon Loew from the University of Zurich on Monitoring and Early Warning of Potentially Catastrophic Rockslides (4 December).
For 2019 we are planning a site visit to Transmission Gully and Marco Holtrigter has offered to present on the CETANZ CPT Industry Best Practice Guidelines.”

Hawkes Bay

Members of the branch recently met with the local ACENZ group and Hawkes Bay Civil Defense Emergency Management to discuss initial emergency response. Further meetings between local professional groups has been flagged to network the limited number of local professionals with a common interest.
Sirini De Silva has taken up the mantle as co-coordinator of the Hawkes Bay Branch. She replaces Tom Bunny, to whom we owe thanks to for his contribution over the last 18 months.

As always, we’re interested in any suggestions from members.


We are hoping to have a presentation on learnings from Kaikoura EQ sequence at our next meeting. As always, please let us know any suggestions of potential Presentations or site visits that will be of interest to our members.


Over the last few months we have very busy and had 5 presentations with visiting international professors and another training session, turn out has been very good at these presentations (ranging from 25-60 people) and well received by members. Coming up we have quite a busy schedule of presentations to the end of the year.



NZ Geomechanics News
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 96 - December 2018
Society News

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