The best available program for geotechnical site exploration involves a blend of rotary drilling and sampling operations, laboratory testing, in-situ field tests, and geophysical measurements, all taken within the context of engineering geology. Yet, this is only viable when sufficient funds and time are available, specifically large or critical projects. Thus, for everyday routine site investigations of soils, it is recommended the profession adopt the use of geotechnical- geophysical methods, including an initial scanning of the site using electromagnetics (EM, Resistivity, GPR) or surface waves (SASW, MASW, ReMi), followed by “ground truthing” via either hybrid devices such as the seismic piezocone test (SCPTù) and seismic dilatometer test (SDMTà). Both hybrid tests provide up to five independent readings with depth, thereby optimizing information gathered on the subsurface materials in an expeditious and economical manner.
Of related issue, it is due time to revamp our university curricula and textbooks in geotechnics from the current antiquated laboratory-based approach to soil mechanics to a more modern and relevant program. This new curricula should emphasis the education of our geotechnical students towards techniques involving the conduct and interpretation of field geophysics and in-situ geotechnical tests.
Dr. Paul W. Mayne has 37 years invested in the geotechnical engineering profession and since 1990 serves as a Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. His research program focuses on in-situ testing, site characterization, foundation systems, and soil & rock properties. Paul is the chair of ISSMGE Technical Committee on In- Situ Testing. He has written over 270 publications, including the 2006 James K. Mitchell Lecture, 2007 NCHRP Synthesis on Cone Penetration Testing, 2009 SOA-1 on Geomaterial Behavior for 17th ICSMGE-Alexandria, and 2012 SOA on In-Situ Testing for the ASCE GeoCongress-Oakland.
He has helped organize and co-edit the four series of international site characterization (ISC) conferences held in Atlanta (1998), Portugal (2004), Taiwan (2008), and Brazil (2012), with plans for Australia now set for 2016. Dr. Mayne began his career as a lab rat at Cornell University circa 1976 and has evolved into a field mouse over his professional career. He is married with one daughter and plays bass guitar.