All posts by Ben Blanchette

January 2018 Dinner Meeting – January 25th

Risk Assessment in Geotechnical Engineering

Vaughan Griffiths – Colorado School of Mines

Please join us Thursday, January 25, 2018 for our first dinner meeting of 2018!

Please sign up early!!  We have reduced the registration cost to $30 and increased the late registration cost to $50. Signing up early allows us to get an accurate count to the venue and means we don’t have to turn anyone away.

Click Here for more information and to register.

No dinner meeting for December this year.

Groundhog 2018

ASCE Seattle Geotech Members

It’s that time of the year again to begin thinking about the Groundhog! For those that don’t know, this is a publication that the ASCE Seattle Geotechnical Group puts together every February 2 (Groundhog Day).  It contains project and staff news from the previous year from (hopefully!) all the geotechnical organizations (e.g. municipalities), geotechnical consulting and construction firms in the area. Ty has provided a pdf with the deadline and requirements for this year’s submission and also summarize the key points below:

Deadline for submission: January 11, 2017 (Thursday) Maximum length: 400 words

Format: MS Word file

Advertisements: Formatted as jpeg, details in attachment Respond to:

Thank you all in advance for getting your submissions in on time (or early!). Ty and I look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to over the past year.

Groundhog November Request for Submissions

EERI Washington – 2017 Central Mexico Earthquakes Seminar

From EERI Washington:

On September 19th, 2017, the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 Mexico Earthquake, a devastating M7.1 earthquake hit central Mexico. Within days, different groups of engineers and researchers traveled to Mexico to participate in reconnaissance and building assessment efforts and to learn from this significant event.

Join us as we learn more about the event of the 19-S earthquake so we can help prepare in the Pacific Northwest. The seminar will be a mix of presentations with a town hall discussion.

The seminar will include the following topics: seismology, ground motions and comparisons to the Pacific Northwest, building codes in Mexico, early warning systems, building damage and assessments, infrastructure damage, WAsafe – Washington State’s volunteers’ registry for engineers, architects, and inspectors.

For more information click below:


Seattle DR on Pin Piles

Hello everybody!  Susan Chang of SDCI announced at our October DM that they are looking into revising their existing Directors Rule on pin piles (DR2009-10) to include Push Piers. They would like the ASCE Geotechnical group to help revise and give guidance for this document.

Brendan Cioto ( offered to help organize the committee for this effort. Please get in touch with him if you would like to be involved.

Fall Short Course: Oct. 31st – PLAXIS

Dynamic Analysis of Liquefiable soils and the use of PM4Sand Model in PLAXIS

Dr. Ronald B.J. Brinkgreve, Manager of the Competence Centre Geo-Engineering (research manager) at Plaxis BV (MT member).

The topics covered include: Overview of Dynamic Analysis features in PLAXIS); Introduction to the PM4SAND model in PLAXIS and a hands-on simulation of soil lab tests using the PM4SAND model. The course will cap with a questions and answer session on dynamic analysis using PLAXIS.

The course will be held on Tuesday, October 31st at the Columbia Tower Club.

UPDATE: Experience with PLAXIS is not needed, we’ll walk the attendees through the exercise.

Click Here for More Info and to Register.

ODOT Short Course: Oct. 3rd through 5th

Rock Blasting and Overbreak Control Short Course

By: Dr. Calvin Konya
When: October 3 through 5, 2017
Where: ODOT Flanders Building, 123 NW Flanders Street,
Portland, Oregon
Cost: $450

The Oregon Department of Transportation is providing the short course Rock Blasting and Overbreak Control on October 3rd through 5th at their Flanders office in Portland, Oregon. This class is designed for Engineering Geologists, Geotechnical Engineers, and Construction Inspectors. Participants at the conclusion of the class will be able to evaluate ground conditions for blasting, design and check a blast design, design for vibrations and damage control, design for airblast control, conduct pre and post blast inspections and develop blasting specifications. All are very important tasks for project development and construction.

See link below for more details.

Rock Blasting and Overbreak Control Short Course Flyer

Geologist Licensing Board Meeting Minutes

See pages 16-19 of the June 6, 2017 Geologist Board Meeting Packet in which the Geologist Board clarifies when geologist licensing is and is not required.  Some of it sounds as though it is getting into engineering. This was brought the attention of the ASCE Seattle Section Geotechnical Group by one of our members. If you feel this topic warrants a further look or action by our group, please contact section President Ben Blanchette (

The packet for the Geologist Board Meeting on June 6, 2017 is available online here.