Collapsing Cones, Slippery Slopes, Hot Ground, Titanic Topples, Dams and Development: Engineering Geological Challenges and Models for the Active New Zealand Environment

New Zealand is a highly varied landmass with many different terrains displaying defective and difficult rock and soil masses crafted by a collection of hazardous geologic processes. This presents a unique challenge to engineering development. This talk offers a personal view of the contribution engineering geology has made to our understanding of this active New …more

Ground Improvement Techniques

Various geotechnical methods have been employed to alter the properties of soils in order to provide enhanced capacity to support “structures”, as an aid to excavation or for other purposes such as reducing water flows. These methods include vibro compaction, vibro replacement, dynamic compaction, explosive compaction, soil mixing, grouting, pre loading, sand or wick drains …more

Annual Field Trip: Port River Expressway

Construction of Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway is underway. When complete this project will contribute to South Australia’s economic development by providing new road, rail and bridge connections across the Port River, linking our export enterprises and industrial areas with key transport routes and facilities. It will also contribute to the ongoing development …more

Visitors Night: History of Waterfall Gully, Annual Visitors Night and AGM

Each year, the last meeting is devoted to a social event where members and others are encouraged to bring along their wives and partners for a fine and inexpensive meal. The evening includes a non-technical presentation of general interest. This meeting is a great way to socialise with fellow members of the Australian Geomechanics Society …more

The Lawrence Hargrave Drive Project, NSW

Lawrence Hargrave Drive, a coastal road north of Wollongong, is one of the most scenic roads in New South Wales and a major tourist attraction. A section of the road has been judged to have the highest slope risk in the state with a long history of rock falls, debris flows, embankment failures and road …more

Improving the Reliability and Effectiveness of Site Investigations

Several studies have been published over the last 30 years or so that clearly demonstrate that, in civil engineering and building projects, the largest element of financial and technical risk usually lies in the ground. Indeed, structural foundation failure, construction over-runs and delays can often be attributed to inadequate and/or inappropriate site investigations. Unfortunately, geotechnical …more

The Maryland Reactive Soil Field Site

Dr Stephen Fityus is a lecturer in geotechnical engineering at the University of Newcastle. He has a background in engineering geology and geotechnical engineering, from undergraduate studies in engineering and geology at the University of Newcastle. He worked for 4 years, mostly in the local geotechnical industry, before returning to the University of Newcastle to …more

Site Visit: Upgrading the Happy Valley Dam

Speakers include: Van Kennewell, Andy Parsons, Peter Russell, Peter Miller, Paul Gunson, Alan Moon Construction works are being carried out on the Happy Valley Dam as part of SA Water’s program of dam safety upgrades for their portfolio of major dams. The site visit provides an excellent opportunity to see the works first hand and …more

Tunnels and Excavations: Ground Movements and the Construction Process

Infrastructure development invariably involves construction of excavations in the ground. These may be long and horizontal – tunnels – or short, often wide and vertical – basement excavations or cut-and cover tunnels. The excavations need to be formed safely, so stability can be an issue, and increasingly there are major concerns about the assessment and …more


The AGS committee organised a picnic event for members and guests of the SA Chapter of the Australian Geomechanics Society to bring their families and meet in a social atmosphere. Thornden Park Reserve was picked for its amenities and its historical flavour as an old water reservoir (for the geotechnical minded). Richard Cavagnaro was involved …more

Soil Characterisation: The Importance of Structure and Anisotropy

The design process in geotechnical engineering was reviewed to identify the role played by soil characterisation. Taking three soil types, soft clays, stiff clays and sands, the importance in practice of structure, anisotropy and natural variability are explored. Results of a numerical study and a case history were presented to illustrate the shortcomings of current …more

Young Geotechnical Engineers Night and Annual General Meeting

A number of young geotechnical engineering graduates and students will individually give a 10 minute presentation on a range of interesting projects. Members of the Committee adjudicated and the winner(s) were presented with a certificate and a cash prize from a total pool of $300. The winner was Yun Hang Chok (Uni. of Adelaide). Aaron …more

Geotechnical Aspects of the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway

The Alice Springs to Darwin Railway Project was one of the largest infrastructure projects undertaken in Australia and completes the latest link in Australia’s rail network. The project comprised over 1420 kms of earthworks and tracklaying, 97 bridges, 57 major railway cuttings (> 5 m deep), over 1,000 culverts, 2 million tonnes of ballast and …more

Collapsing Soils from Australia and Thailand

The presentation defined the nature of collapsing soils and how such soils may be identified. Case studies of the unwanted effects of such soils on buildings were presented. The composition and comparative behaviour of four collapsing soils were discussed, one of the soils being a red brown loess from Thailand. The remaining soils were from …more

Wind Farms and Tall Structures

Several speakers provided presentations on geotechnical aspects of wind farm and transmission line projects recently completed in South Australia. Getting the foundation investigation and design wrong for these unique tall structures may have significant consequences.