Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

NEWS 2017

Posted October 24, 2017 (Updated November 10, 2017)

Event: November 23, 2017

GSE: Dr. Steve Pawley, Mr. Greg Hartman, and Mr. Dennis Chao, AER-AGS (Alberta Energy Regulator - Alberta Geological Survey) - Making Map 605 - using machine learning to model the spatial distribution of landslide susceptible terrain across the Alberta Plains and Shield regions.

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

Time: 11:30am Registration, 12:00pm Dinner, 12:30pm Presentation

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 Students
(At the door) $35 Members, $45 Non-Members, $15 Students

Landslides in western Canada are not restricted to the rugged, mountainous terrain of the Cordillera, but are commonplace on the adjacent Interior Plains. Within the plains, landslides are typically restricted to high-relief physiographic elements that embody moderate to steep slopes. Landslides on the plains are seldom as rapid or spectacular as those of mountainous regions; however, they can be no less disruptive to development as landslide-susceptible terrain can extend for significant distances following high-relief physiographic elements (e.g. river valleys). As such, there is the necessity to portray the landslide susceptibility of the Alberta Plains to facilitate high-level planning initiatives or educational objectives.

AGS Map 605 is the first provincial landslide susceptibility map of the Alberta Plains produced using a predictive modelling approach in a remote sensing application. The map represents a predictive statistical model of landslide susceptibility of the Interior Plains and Canadian Shield regions of Alberta (1:1,000,000 scale). The model predicts the degree to which terrain can be affected by landslides based on a statistical procedure that establishes a relationship between the spatial distribution of recognized landslides, and predisposing geological, topographical and climatic factors. The effect of significantly folded and faulted bedrock structure, which is the main geological control on landslide susceptibility in the mountains and foothills physiographic regions, is not assessed.

The map portrays the spatial distribution of landslide susceptible terrain as a relative ranking from low to high. It does not depict the distribution of known landslides, nor evaluate the probability of landslide occurrence over any specific period of time. Consequently the map should not be interpreted for the purpose of landslide identification, landslide activity assessment, or landslide hazard appraisal.

Dr. Steve Pawley is a Quaternary geologist and spatial modelling specialist, who was educated in the UK with a PhD and post-doc from the University of London. Since working at the Alberta Geological Survey for the past 8 years, Steve has continued to work on various surface and sub-surface mapping and modelling projects, and now particularly focusses on techniques such as machine learning in order to regionalize field observations with various remote sensing and geological datasets.

Greg Hartman is a Quaternary stratigrapher and geomorphologist with the Alberta Geological Survey where he contributes to regional surface and shallow sub-surface mapping and modeling projects. He became interested in landslide geology and geomorphology during graduate work in the Peace River valley of northeastern BC. This interest led to employment with the geotechnical division of AMEC (now AMEC-Foster Wheeler) Edmonton where he gained experience in landslide hazard mitigation.

Dennis Chao has a degree in Geography from the University of Alberta and been working at the Alberta Geological Survey for close to 30 years as a geospatial specialist. His main focus is applying remote sensing and GIS to geological mapping and geohazards studies. His current projects include land classifications/change detections and well/mine reclamation analysis using LandSat and SPOT 6 imagery. He is an executive member of URISA Alberta (Urban and Regional Information System Association) and a Certified GIS Professional.

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