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Soil and Rock Slope Stability

1.4 CEUs | Thursday–Friday, March 26–27


Stanley M. Miller, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE

Sunil Sharma, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE

It was immediately obvious that not only were the two instructors knowledgeable on each topic, but they were also experienced in real world applications. The analysis, tools and techniques that were provided will be very applicable in practice.
Alan Lisowy, Project Engineer, Hepworth-Pawlak Geotechnical, Inc., Parker, CO

Attendees should bring a laptop to the seminar. See Computer Requirements below.

Purpose and Background

Landslides and slope failures are responsible for millions of dollars of damage to public and private property every year. The primary factors driving this trend include aging slopes constructed for major transportation systems in the U.S. during the 1950s and 1960s and the ever-increasing need to develop land on steep natural slopes and fills for public and private purposes. Because slopes consist of native or transported earth materials, engineering properties and behaviors are quite variable and unpredictable to precise limits. This variability is compounded by the frequent presence and influence of surface water runoff and groundwater infiltration that often trigger landslide movements. Today, the analysis and solution of landslide problems as well as the prevention of landslide problems requires an understanding of geology, hydrology, seismology, geotechnical exploration and engineering, computerized analytical methods, and practical and constructible engineering solutions.

The seminar will target three main areas of interest related to slopes:

  • Collecting and evaluating geologic and geotechnical data
  • Analytical methods for soil and rock slopes
  • Stabilization methods

Slope stability analyses and stabilization require an understanding and evaluation of the processes that govern the behavior of slopes. Geology, hydrology, and seismology are the key subjects of interest. The fundamentals of these subjects must be understood as well as the methods for obtaining the data necessary for input to reliable slope stability analyses. Once this data is obtained and analyses carried out using methods ranging between rules of thumb and sophisticated computer methods, the results must be interpreted correctly and actions taken to stabilize the slopes if instability is suspected. This two-day seminar will concentrate on the collection of input data and the subsequent analyses required to assess the stability of soil and rock slopes through the use of hands-on, computer based activities.

Seminar Benefits

  • Exposure to the entire sequence of data acquisition, analysis, and solutions
  • Review of analytical methods for soil and rock slope evaluation
  • Hands-on training with computerized analytical methods and tools
  • Training with state-of-the-art solutions that are both practical and constructible
  • Up-to-date briefing on current data acquisition methods
  • Experience-based information on design and construction

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Understand fundamental geotechnical testing and analysis methods needed to characterize soil properties and gain experience in slope stability analysis using the method of slices
  • Understand the engineering difference between rock substance and rock mass, and be able to identify common tests and field work needed to estimate their strength characteristics for rock slope stability analysis
  • Understand the basic geotechnical tools used in rock slope engineering and identify the three key steps in a rock slope stability analysis
  • Develop an introductory familiarity with computer software and analysis methods used to investigate slope stabilization options
  • Improve the understanding of the relevance of using appropriate shear strength of soils for slope stability analysis
  • Gain an introduction to the use of available instrumentation for monitoring the behavior of slopes and to the influence of earthquakes on slopes and the procedures available for seismic analysis.

Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Achievement of the learning outcomes will be assessed through a series of problem-solving exercises.

Special Features

Each participant will receive a copy of the text book co-authored by Sunil Sharma, Slope Stability and Stabilization Methods, 2nd Edition published by Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2001, a $150 value. Includes state of the art engineering practice information, hard to find tables, charts, and graphs, essential information on slope stability and stabilization methods, and design examples of groundwater flows, slope stability analysis, and stabilization methods.

Computer Requirements

  • Computer must have a Microsoft Windows Operating System (i.e., Win 7, 8.1, or 10)
  • User must have administrator rights to install software
  • Software will be provided on CD-Rom
  • USB Flash Drive will be available for computers without a CD-drive

Who Should Attend?

This is a course for professionals who are seeking a more quantitative analysis of slope stability and relevant slope stabilization methods. Best suited for civil engineers, consultants, engineering geologists, soil scientists, city and public works officials, city planners, and other design professionals who address construction related slope stability and stabilization issues.

Seminar Outline

Day 1 | Time: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  • Soil slope data
  • Rock slope data
  • Infinite slope concepts
  • Soil slope analysis I
  • Rock slope analysis I

Day 2 | Time: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

  • Soil slope analysis II
  • Rock slope analysis II
  • Geotechnical instrumentation
  • Seismic analysis of slopes
  • Stabilization methods

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