Introduction to Special Issue: Selected papers from the 12th ANZ conference on Geomechanics, Wellington 2015

Darren Paul

The 12th Australia New Zealand Conference (ANZ 2015) on Geomechanics was held in the beautiful city of Wellington, New Zealand from 22 to 25 February 2015. The Australia New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics is held every 4 years, with the first conference held in 1971 in Melbourne.

The New Zealand Geotechnical Society hosted a fantastic conference under the leadership of conference chair Guy Cassidy and editor Graham Ramsay. There were 362 delegates from 19 different countries in attendance.

The conference theme was ‘The Changing Face of the Earth: Geomechanics & Human Influence’ and a series of keynote lectures were delivered around this theme, including lectures from Professor George Gazetas on avoiding over-conservatism in seismic geotechnical design, Dr Fred Baynes on deconstructing geological materials and Professor Jonathan Bray on learning from extreme geotechnical events.

The pre-eminent honorary lectures of the Australian Geomechanics Society and New Zealand Geotechnical Society were delivered at the conference, with Professor John Carter delivering the John Jaeger award lecture on predicting the mechanical behaviour of structured soils and John Wood presenting the NZGS Geomechanics Lecture on geotechnical issues in displacement based design of highway bridges and walls.

This edition of Australian Geomechanics presents a selection of the best papers presented at ANZ 2015. Special mention goes to three award winning papers presented in this edition:

The paper by Hunter, Ballegooy, Leeves and Donnelly, on the development of horizontal soil mixed beams as a shallow ground improvement method beneath existing houses was awarded the Joint Societies award as the best paper at the conference. This paper presents an innovative method of ground improvement successfully used in New Zealand to mitigate against ground liquefaction risk for existing structures.

The paper by Seidel presenting an overview of the role of testing and monitoring in the verification of driven pile foundations was runner up for the Joint Societies award. This paper presents a discussion on the state of the art in pile load testing and how pile testing can be best applied to reduce the overall foundation risk.

The paper by Pathirage and Indraratna (presented by Dr Udeshini Pathirage) on reducing the risk of acidic groundwater through modelling the performance of a permeable reactive barrier in Shoalhaven Floodplain was awarded the Young Professionals award for Australia. This paper discusses an innovative approach to
mitigating risks associated with groundwater generated from acid sulphate soil using reactive barriers comprised of recycled concrete.

I trust that you find this selection of papers valuable and we look forward to you joining us for the 13th ANZ conference in Perth, 2019.