Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

NEWS 2017

Posted August 26, 2017 (updated September 19, 2017)

Event: September 28, 2017

GSE: Annual Fall Wine & Cheese Event

Location: Yellowhead Brewery (10229 - 105 Street NW) - See in Google Maps

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

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

The Annual Wine and Cheese event is an opportunity to connect with students and colleagues in the local geotechnical community and to hear results of the latest research occurring at the U of A.

Please register for this event using the form below by September 25, 2017.

2017 Morgenstern Award Winner: Mr. Kirk Scanlan - Evaluating the Spatial Association between Degraded Ballast and Increased Track Geometry Variability

Variations in track geometry are a leading cause of train derailments in both Canada and the United States. For railways constructed on ballasted foundations, increases in track geometry variability are often associated with the accumulation of fines within the ballast void space (ballast degradation) based on laboratory test results and anecdotal evidence. However, few comprehensive field investigations of this relationship have been performed. This research investigates the spatial relationship between ballast degradation and increased track geometry variability for an in-service mainline rail subdivision using two complimentary approaches. The first approach is based on evaluating the long-term results of historical ballast maintenance, while the second approach is based on non-destructive ground-penetrating radar measurements.

Kirk Scanlan is a Doctoral Candidate sponsored by the Canadian Rail Research Laboratory in the Geotechnical Engineering group at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on quantifying the effects of ballast degradation on the track geometry of in-service railways as well as the non-destructive testing of ballast using ground-penetrating radar. Prior to attending the University of Alberta, Kirk obtained his Bachelorís Degree in Geophysics from Western University as well as his Masterís Degree in Applied Geophysics from the IDEA League (TU Delft, ETH Zurich and RWTH Aachen).

Recipient of the CGC Sponsorship: Ms. Haley Schafer - Development of Soil Freezing Characteristic Curves for Mine Waste Tailings using TDR

In order to be reclaimed using a dry landscape approach, mine waste tailings must be sufficiently dewatered to allow for the creation of a trafficable land. The soil water characteristic curve (SWCC) is needed to predict the rate of dewatering and the magnitude of strength gain during desiccation dewatering. Traditional methods of determining the SWCC in the laboratory are time consuming and challenging. As a result, it would be beneficial to develop an alternative method to estimate the SWCC. The soil freezing characteristic curve (SFCC) is a feasible method to estimate the SWCC in some soils as the same forces that prevent water from draining also prevent it from freezing. A laboratory method was developed to assess the feasibility of using the SFCC to estimate the SWCC in mine waste tailings.

Haley Schafer is a Geoenvironmental graduate student at the University of Alberta in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She worked in industry as a Geotechnical Engineer-in-Training prior to returning to the University of Alberta to complete her Master of Science degree. Haley has worked on various pipeline and infrastructure projects involving geotechnical field investigations and construction monitoring. Haley is currently working in the Oil Sands Tailings Research Facility and has been doing research related to the unsaturated soil properties of mine waste tailings. Haley will be starting her PhD at the University of Alberta in January 2018.

Registration is closed for this event.


c/o. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
7th Floor, Danadeo Innovation Center for Engineering
9211 - 116 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta
Email GSE
Email Web Admin
Registration Form