Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

Upcoming Events

The AGM was the last event the season. Watch this page for details of the upcoming 2014/2015 season of GSE events. Suggestions for topics or speakers for future seasons can be sent to the Program Chair.

For those interested in assisting Vivian Giang, University of Alberta, with her University of Alberta Geotechnical Book Project, she can be reached at 780.492.1436 or email.

Posted April 9, 2014

Event: May 22 - 23, 2014

Vancouver Geotechnical Society: Short Course by Prof. Malcolm Bolton, Cambridge University - A Fresh Perspective on Soil Mechanics with Applications to Geotechnical Design

Location: Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, Vancouver

Registration is limited to 100 people and must be submitted by May 16, 2014.

Posted April 9, 2014

Event: June 15-18, 2014

Canadian Geotechnical Society: GeoHazards 6

Location: Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

NEWS 2014

Posted August 26, 2013 (Updated May 14, 2014)

Event: May 15, 2014

GSE 2014 AGM: Dr. Dennis Becker, PhD FEIC PEng, Golder Associates - Lessons Learned To Date

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta (11435 Saskatchewan Drive)

Time: 5:30pm registration, 6:00pm dinner, 6:30pm presentation

Cost: $40 Members, $45 Non-Members, $15 Students (Payment Options)

Agenda for the 2014 AGM (PDF)

Experiences from successes, failures, and the insight gained from the interactions with colleagues on projects and in the technical community interpret into meaningful lessons learned. The presentation shares lessons learned to date by the presenter through his personal experiences over 35 years in his professional career. The recognition of uncertainty, risk management, technical expertise and effective communications are essential components in the geotechnical industry and business...more>>

Posted September 11, 2013 (Updated April 22, 2014)

Event: May 9, 2014

GSE/CGS Cross Canada Lecture: Dr. Jim Graham, PhD DSc FEIC PEng, Professor Emeritus, University of Manitoba - Natural Processes and Strength Degradation

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 11:45am Registration, 12:15pm Lunch, 12:30pm Presentation

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 Students - Event is sold out!

Many engineering designs are based on laboratory tests using so-called ‘undisturbed’ samples of clay from the field. There is a common tendency to test only intact specimens and to discard specimens that appear disturbed, fissured or otherwise weaker. It is known, however, that natural processes such as wetting-drying, freezing-thawing, desiccation, heating-cooling, and alterations in chemistry can affect the structure of clays and significantly change their compressibilities, hydraulic conductivities and strengths...more>>

Posted March 25, 2014

Event: May 6, 2014

Integrated Road Research Facility (IRRF): First Annual Research Symposium

Location: The Solarium, Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Join the Integrated Road Research Facility (IRRF) at its first annual research symposium to learn more about its one-of-a-kind facilities and become acquainted with its researchers’ innovative work. This one-day event includes an introduction to the IRRF, and overview of its many research projects, and a keynote speech by the knowledgeable Dr. Ralph Haas, an expert in the field of pavement engineering.

Follow the link above or contact Lauren Wozny at teh IRRF office for more information: 780-492-5106.

Posted April 22, 2014

Event: April 26, 2014

EGS: Annual General Meeting and Pub Night with Dr. Inga Moeck - Geothermal Plays: Lessons from Petroleum Geology

Location: Strathcona Community Hall (10139 - 87 Avenue)

Time: 7:00pm

The evening will include light refreshments, toonie bar, summary of the Society's activities, financial report, plans for the coming year, nomination and election of a new executive, and will feature guest speaker Dr. Inga Moeck (Campus Alberta Innovation Chair - Enhanced Geothermal Systems, University of Alberta) with a presentation titled "Geothermal Plays: Lessons from Petroleum Geology".

Posted March 5, 2014

Event: April 24 - 25, 2014

APEGA: Summit PD Course - Well Integrity and Shale Gas Development: Geomechanics, Geochemistry and Hydrogeology

Location: Shaw Conference Centre and Westin Hotel, Edmonton

A two-day course for professional geoscientists and engineers addressing wellbore integrity stressing the application of geomechanics, geochemistry and hydrogeology to issues concerning hydraulic fracture stimulation, gas seepage during production and following abandonment, aquifer protection and groundwater contamination.

Posted March 18, 2014

Event: April 8, 2014

GSE/U of A: 12th Annual Applied Geotechnical Engineering Design Contest: Reinforced Soil Wall

Location: L2, NREF, University of Alberta

Time: 4:30pm Construction (L2-110); 5:30pm Testing (L2-020)

Cost: Free

Walls will be constructed using only 5 sheets of Newsprint, 2 sheets of 15 cm x 30 cm geotextile, a box of 100 paper clips, and 20 popsicle sticks. The students have 1 hour to construct the wall. Prizes will be awarded for the Strongest Wall, the Best Prediction of Wall Strength, and for the Most Innovative Design.

Posted August 26, 2013 (Updated April 4, 2014)

Event: April 3 and 4, 2014

GSE: 2014 Symposium - Landslides - Assessment, Characterization, and Risk (Selected Topics)

Location: Edmonton Petroleum Club

Time: 8:00 to 5:00pm (both days)

Cost: $500 Members, $600 Non-Members, $200 Students

Click here for full details.

The 2014 Symposium will feature two days of world-class lecturers presenting keynote addresses on a variety of topics related to landslides: Dr. Derek Cornforth, Dr. Norbert Morgenstern, Dr. Suzanne Lacasse, Dr. Doug Stead, Dr. Serge Leroueil, Dr. Scott Anderson, Dr. David Cruden, Dr. Scott Burns, Dr. Delwyn Fredlund, and Dr. Richard Goodman.

Dr. Burns keynote address on the Oso landslide (pdf)

Posted December 22, 2013

Event: March 17 - 27, 2014

U of A: (con)centricity - 3rd Annual Engineering Art Show

Location: University of Alberta

The 3rd Annual Engineering Art Show is presently accepting expressions of interest until January 6, 2014. For more information, visit the (con)centricity website.

Posted September 11, 2013 (Updated March 10, 2014)

Event: March 19, 2014

GSE: Don Proudfoot, M.Eng., P.Eng., Thurber Engineering Ltd. - Stabilization of the Hwy. 726 Landslide in the Eureka River Valley near Worsley, Alberta

Location: Room #Y240 - Nexen Theatre, Petro-Canada Centre, NAIT

Time: 11:45am Registration, 12:00pm Lunch, 12:15pm Presentation

Cost: $10 Members, $15 Non-Members, $5 Students

Highway 726 is the main access route to the Hamlet of Worsely, located in northwestern Alberta. The portion of the highway that crosses the Eureka River valley, using a side-hill alignment, had been affected by ongoing landslide activity, which had reached the point where stabilization measures were required to keep the highway open. This presentation describes the conditions leading to the landslide event and options considered to deal with it. Further detail is given about the selected option consisting of reconstructing the highway using EPS light-weight fill, combined with supporting the edge of the roadway with a tied-back CIP concrete pile wall. A second cantilevered concrete wall was constructed lower down the slope near the Eureka River to prevent soil loss from the upper wall. Slope inclinometers were installed inside some of the piles and load cells were attached to some of the ground anchors to monitor wall deflections and anchor loads over time. The landslide stabilization measures were constructed over the 2012 and 2013 construction seasons.

Posted September 11, 2013

Event: February 20, 2014

GSE/CSCE: Joint Presentation - Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway: Link to the Arctic Ocean

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 5:30pm - 8:30pm

Cost: $25 Members, $35 Non-Members, $12 Student Members, $17 Student Non-Members

Posted August 26, 2013 (Updated January 8, 2014)

Event: January 23, 2014

GSE: Angela Küpper, Ph.D, P.Eng., BGC Engineering - Travers Dam Rehabilitation Program

Location: Saskatchewan Room, Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 11:45am Registration, 12:00pm Lunch, 12:30pm Presentation

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 Students

NEWS 2013

Posted October 11, 2013

Event: December 5 to 10, 2013

U of A: International Short Course on Permafrost Engineering - Effective Design and Construction in Permafrost Regions

Location: University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Cost: $2,000 (Before Nov. 15, 2013), $2,500 (After Nov. 15, 2013)

This course is tailored towards an engineer who has never attended a permafrost engineering course, or wants to learn about the latest information in permafrost engineering. It will teach working knowledge of logistic challenges of building in Northern Regions. For more information, see the brochure or contact Sally Petaske (U of A)

Posted October 15, 2013 (Updated November 12, 2013)

Event: November 19, 2013

GSE: Dr. Jim Oswell, Naviq Consulting Inc. - Several Case Histories of Pipeline Distress Induced by Landslides in South America

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 11:45am Registration, 12:15pm Lunch, 12:30pm Presentation

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 Students

Note change in date and speaker.

Those countries in South America that are mountainous have traditionally experienced much higher rates of pipeline incidents caused by landslides than North America. The terrain and climatic conditions are two important factors that influence the negative interaction between slopes and pipelines.This presentation discusses several case histories in two South American countries where post-incident forensic investigations showed that landslides were the direct cause of the pipeline distress. In one unfortunate case, the loss of containment by the pipeline resulted in over 30 fatalities. The initial approach to the investigations and the subsequent geotechnical monitoring and results will be presented....more>>

Posted August 26, 2013 (Updated October 9, 2013)

Event: October 21, 2013

GSE/CGS Cross Canada Lecture: Dr. Edward Kavazanjian, Jr., Arizona State University - Pre-Design Geotechnical Evaluation for Closure of the Oil Superfund Site Landfill (11th Ralph B. Peck Lecture)

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 11:45am Registration, 12:15pm Lunch, 12:30pm Presentation

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 Students

The pre-design geotechnical investigation for closure of the Operating Industries, Inc. (OII) landfill significantly advanced the state of the art for solid waste landfill engineering. Rising almost 300 ft above grade with slopes as steep as 1.3H:1V, the “orphan” site was placed in the Superfund program in 1986. The landfill, which accepted primarily municipal solid waste, sits astride California State Highway 60 (the Pomona Freeway) and on top of an active earthquake fault considered capable of a magnitude 6.9 earthquake. Due its location, steep slopes and high seismic exposure, the landfill was deemed a “unique urban hazard” by the EPA. The pre-design geotechnical evaluation for closure of the landfill included in situ testing, large scale laboratory testing of waste in an on-site laboratory, seismic hazard and seismic site response analyses, and static and seismic stability analyses of the waste mass and existing interim soil cover. Two different blue-ribbon panels (one for EPA and one for the potentially responsible parties) composed of eminent geotechnical and landfill engineers provided oversight for the work...more>>

Posted August 26, 2013 (Updated September 11, 2013)

Event: September 23, 2013

GSE: Annual Fall Wine & Cheese Event

Location: Papachase Room, Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 5:30pm Reception, 6:30pm Presentations

Cost: $5 Members, $10 Non-members, $5 Students
(Student cost includes membership for the year)

The 2013/2014 season will begin with the traditional Annual Wine and Cheese event. Come out and connect with students and colleagues in the local geotechnical community.

There will be three short presentations from U of A students and staff: Vivian Giang (Communications Strategist) on her Geotechnical Book Project (follow link above for more information), Matthew Stewart (recent M.Sc. Graduate) on "Removal of Contaminants from Oil Sands Tailings using Carbon-Based Adsorbents", and Alireza Rogheni (Ph.D Candidate) and "Ballast Issues on Railway Foundations"...more>>

Posted November 25, 2012 (Updated May 2, 2013)

Event: May 6, 2013

GSE 2013 AGM: James P. McCalpin, Distinguished Jahns Lecturer in Engineering Geology - The Mountains Are Falling Apart; A Spectrum of Mass Failures from Landslides through Deep-Seated Gravitational Spreading (Sackung), to "Unfolding" of Folds

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 5:30pm Registration, 6:00pm Dinner, 6:30pm Presentation

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 Students

Download 2013 Annual Reports (PDF)

All engineering geologists can recognize obvious, young landslides from their sharp, distinct geomorphic elements (headscarp, lateral margins, toe thrust, hummocky topography). However, we often see isolated elements without the others and are unsure of their exact origin and engineering significance. Recent geologic mapping in mountainous areas of Alaska, California, Colorado, and Utah, supplemented by LiDAR DEMs, has revealed an abundance of young scarps, graben, bulges, and other geomorphic anomalies...more>>

Posted May 2, 2013

Event: May 6, 2013

U of A Graduate Student Seminar: James P. McCalpin, Distinguished Jahns Lecturer in Engineering Geology - LiDAR Reveals the Bare Earth: LiDAR Geomorphology and its Applications to Engineering Geology

Location: NREF 2-080, University of Alberta

Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Cost: None

Bare-earth DEMs produced by LiDAR, with grid size of 1 m to 6 m, are an engineering geologist’s dream-come-true. In the field of geologic hazards, the DEMs can be used to analyze: 1-active faults, 2-tsunamis, 3-landslides, 4-debris flows, 5-rockfalls, 6-floods, 7-sinkholes, 8-dams, and 9-coastal change. In the field of geologic mapping, Lidar-based DEMs greatly increase the recognition of surficial and bedrock map units, and the accuracy of geologic contacts drawn.

Posted April 3, 2013

Event: April 18, 2013

GSE/U of A: 11th Annual Applied Geotechnical Engineering Design Contest: Reinforced Soil Wall

Location: L2, NREF, University of Alberta

Time: 4:30pm Construction (L2-110); 6pm Testing (L2-020)

Cost: Free

Posted April 2, 2013

Event: April 17, 2013

GSE/CGS Cross Canada Lecture: Bob Cameron, Syncrude Canada Ltd. - Case Studies in Soil Parameter Selections for Clay Foundations

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 5:15pm Registration, 5:45pm Dinner, 6:15pm Presentation

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 Students

The methodology developed over 29 years to pick design shear strength and pore pressure parameters for up to 6 different clays will be presented. Anyone who designs large foundations on clay knows it is often not easy to select soil design parameters. The case studies of failures and successes will show examples of how the same clay can have multiple pore water pressure design parameters depending on the whether loaded, or unloaded, and everything in-between. Field measured deformations and pore water pressures for two dump embankment foundations, two dam foundations, two failed slopes, two retaining walls and a mine pit wall will be discussed. It will be shown that one shear strength estimate and one pore water pressure selection for the same clay within even the same design, is not adequate for many of the case studies. Some of the clays noted have high shear strengths across bedding, but very low sliding shear strengths along bedding and weak planes. Trials and tribulations with peak and residual shear strength laboratory testing, total and effective stress considerations and field pore water pressure data will be discussed and shown to provide some very useful, but often misleading or misinterpreted input parameters, unless properly interrogated. Surprisingly, all the clays to be discussed, that act differently and also differ within themselves under different conditions, are all located in the same area...more>>

The CCLT is organized by the Canadian Geotechnical Society, with funding through the Canadian Foundation for Geotechnique.

Sponsorship provided by:

  • JD Mollard and Associates
  • BGC Engineering
  • ConeTec Investigations
  • Golder Associates

Posted February 13, 2013

Event: April 11 and 12, 2013

GSE: 2013 Symposium - Dr. Fred H. Kulhawy, PE, GE: Estimation of Soil Properties for Foundation Design (Day 1) and Geotechnical Uncertainty and Reliability-Based Foundation Design (RBD) (Day 2)

Location: Woodvale Facility, Millwoods Golf Course (4540 – 50 Street NW, Edmonton)

Time: 7:30am - 5:00pm (both days)

Cost by Mar. 15: Members $295 per day or $550 for both, Non-Members $345 per day or $650 for both, Students $120 per day or $200 for both

Cost after Mar. 15: Members $345 per day or $650 for both, Non-Members $395 per day or $750 for both, Students $120 per day or $200 for both

Cost for Exhibitors: $1000 for both days including registration for one course participant

Registrations cancelled on or before March 31, 2013 will be refunded for the full amount paid minus a $10 processing fee. No refunds will be issued after March 31 although attendee substitutions will be accepted.

Register and Pay online

Day 1: Estimation of Soil Properties for Foundation Design

Soil property estimation is fundamental to all of geotechnical design. For projects with limited budgets, testing will be more limited, and some properties will have to be estimated using correlations. Significant research has been conducted to assess soil property correlations in a realistic manner, including the uncertainty in each correlation. Course concepts include soil property evaluation strategy, geologic inference in property assessment, comparative evaluation of in-situ tests, relative density assessment, in-situ stress evaluation, soil strength evaluation, and deformability estimation.

Day 2: Geotechnical Uncertainty and Reliability-Based Foundation Design

Reliability-based design (RBD) of foundations is presented as a potentially superior alternative to traditional deterministic design. Course concepts include an overview of the development of geotechnical RBD for foundations in North America, followed by a discussion of basic issues of uncertainty, risk, judgment, and RBD formulation. The uncertainty and variability of design parameters are discussed in detail, including load modeling and geotechnical variability. These factors are then integrated into reliability-based equations for foundation design, with application examples.

Posted November 25, 2012 (Updated March 12, 2013)

Event: March 19, 2013

GSE: Prof. Michael Hendry, U of A - Research to Facilitating the Management of Railway Ground Hazards

Location: Lecture Theatre L036, Engineering Technology Annex, NAIT

Time: 11:45am - 1:30pm

Cost: $10 Members, $15 Non-Members, $5 Students

With 48,000 kilometers of track, Canada has one of the longest rail networks in the world. Canadians and the Canadian economy depend on the railway system for the transportation of people and freight. As measured by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, rail is by far the safest means of ground transportation in Canada (Railway Association of Canada, However, due to the geographic diversity of Canada, climatic extremes, and active geological processes, Canada’s rail infrastructure is exposed to infrequent but potentially dangerous natural (ground) hazards. These ground hazards include landslides, erosion, subsidence, avalanches, and frost, among other hazards. These hazards have the potential to result in track failure or make tracks unsafe at the posted speed, and therefore they pose a risk to the safety and operation of Canada’s railways. Ground hazard incidents represent up to 12% of all engineering-related issues, and due to their high cost-per-accident they account for as much as 25% of the cost of engineering-related losses and track outages...more>>

Posted February 13, 2013

Event: February 21, 2013

CSCE/ECES/GSE Joint Presentation: Rudy Schmidtke, P.Eng., MSc., AECOM and Henry Westermann, Public Works and Government Services Canada - Giant Mine Site Reclamation, Yellowknife, NT

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 5:30pm - 8:30pm

Cost: $25 Members, $35 Non-Members, $12 for Students; $5 drop-in fee if register at venue

Register Online

The Giant Mine is an abandoned gold mine approximately 4 km north of the City of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. Gold was mined and processed by various owners from 1948 to 1999. Giant Mine was abandoned by Royal Oak Mines in 1999 and has since become the responsibility of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) and the Government of the Northwest Territories. The mine is currently under Care and Maintenance. Download abstract

Posted February 13, 2013

Ron Foster - February 6, 2013

The staff and management of Mobile Augers and Research and MARL Technologies are greatly saddend by the loss of their co-worker and friend, Ron Foster. Ron was travelling to a jobsite Feb. 6 in a pickup truck with drilling assistant Sean Murphy when they were involved in a head-on collision on highway 881, just south of Conklin, AB. Ron was pronounced dead at the scene, and Sean remains in critical but stable condition in hospital in Edmonton. Ron was both a skilled driller and mechanical wizard, whose expertise in his field was second to none. Ron joined Mobile Augers from Garrity and Baker Drilling in 2002, and he had many years of drilling experience before that. He also spent several years working for Mobile's manufacturing sister company, MARL Technologies, where his mechanical aptitude was greatly appreciated. Ron's talents contributed to the design and manufacture of many of the MARL M Series drills. A favourite of his drill helpers for his willingness to teach and his quirkly sense of humour, Ron was a mentor to many people over the years. He will be missed by everyone in the MARL and Mobile family very much. (Excerpt from Mobile Augers release - click link above for the full obituary).

Posted November 25, 2012 (January 14, 2013)

Event: January 24, 2013

GSE: Dr. Dave Sego, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta - Thermal Behavior of Waste Rock Pile(s) Located in a Continuous Permafrost Region at Diavik Diamond Mine

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 11:45am - 1:30pm

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 for Students

An on-going field study at the Diavik Diamond Mine, NT, Canada, is examining the hydrology, geochemistry, microbiology, gas transport, and heat transport mechanisms controlling acid rock drainage (ARD) in low sulphide waste rock the Canadian Arctic. The mine is located in the continuous permafrost zone. This presentation will provide background to the overall study with a major focus on the thermal behavior within the test piles and a large-scale waste rock pile. Three test piles are used to provide detailed measurements to study the evolution of the gas transport, hydrology, thermal and geochemistry...more>>


c/o. City of Edmonton
Engineering Services
11004 - 190 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta
Fax: (780) 944-7653
Registration Form


  • 16 May 14: Update Executive lists
  • 14 May 14: Updated AGM details; post agenda
  • 5 May 14: Add payment for AGM
  • 23 Apr 14: Update CCLT and AGM details
  • 22 Apr 14: Posted EGS AGM
  • 9 Apr 14: Posted 2 events (CGS and VGS)
  • 5 Apr 14: Link to Dr. Burns Oso talk
  • 25 Mar 14: Updated History of the GSE
  • 25 Mar 14: Posted IRRF Symposium
  • 25 Mar 14: Date for 2014 Spring CCLT
  • 18 Mar 14: Add retaining wall contest
  • 11 Mar 14: Update March event details
  • 5 Mar 14: Change of NAIT speaker
  • 5 Mar 14: List APEGA PD course
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