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Short Courses

GeoSt.John's 2019 is pleased to offer three short courses at the St. John's Convention Centre on Sunday, September 29 as part of the official conference program:

Short Courses will be given in English only.

GeoSt.John's 2019 reserves the right to cancel a short course/workshop should the minimum number of registrants not be reached. In the event of a cancellation, registrants will be notified by email and offered a transfer to another course/workshop or a full refund.


SC1 - Bedrock Mapping for Geotechnical Projects: Principles and Techniques
Instructors: Dr. Stephen Butt, Maureen Matthew, and Gabriele Mellies
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2019
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Cost: Before July 29 - $425 (Students $200) | On/After July 29 - $475 (Students $225)

The CGS Rock Mechanics Division is pleased to offer a surface geotechnical mapping workshop at GeoSt.John's 2019. Following the success of the rock logging course held at GeoEdmonton 2018, and taking advantage of the local geology and rock exposures in the Signal Hill area overlooking St. John's Harbour, this one-day workshop will include a classroom component as well as a practical "hands on" field exercise at a nearby rock outcrop. The following key elements of bedrock mapping for geotechnical projects will be covered.

Classroom Component: Nature of rock masses, rock mass and intact rock strength, geotechnical rock descriptions using ISRM standards, rock mass classification systems (e.g., RMR and NGI Q system), structural mapping techniques (including use of a geological compass and magnetic declination), and remote mapping solutions, e.g., introduction to photogrammetry and laser scanning.

Field Component: Practical assessment of ISRM rock components, describing discontinuities (e.g., faults and shear zones), RMR and Q parameter assessments, use of common field equipment (e.g., Schmidt hammer, geological hammer, geological compass, profilometers for JRC, feeler gauge for joint aperture), assessment of mineral hardness and surface coatings along joints, persistence assessment (using the window sampling method), volumetric joint count, and techniques for sketching and photographing an outcrop.

The course is designed for all levels and experience, as a refresher for the more seasoned professionals, or as excellent training for the recent graduate. Come and learn about rock mechanics with the stunning scenic backdrop of St. John's harbor and afterwards why not check out the Johnson Geo Center, the Newfoundland Chocolate Café, or the view from Signal Hill.

About the Instructors:

Dr. Stephen Butt, PhD., P.Eng., is a Professor in the Process Engineering Department at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In the past 25 years, he has been engaged with natural resources industries through collaborative research, technology development and optimization, reducing environmental footprint, and the training of highly qualified personnel. He has co-authored 200 technical papers, trained 90 Highly Qualified Personnel, held research funding of $7M CAD, and is currently Principal Investigator for the Drilling Technology Laboratory at MUN where he leads a multidisciplinary team investigating innovative drilling technologies and applications. In 2016, he received the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Canada Drilling Engineer Award and in 2019, a Sustainable Mining by Drilling method being developed in collaboration with Anaconda Mining was a finalist for the Disrupt Mining award as step changing technology for narrow vein mining. He is currently on the Executive Committee of the SPE Atlantic Canada Section and is the Chair of the Engineering Geology Division of the Canadian Geotechnical Society.

Maureen Matthew, M.Sc., P.Geo., is an engineering geologist, team lead, and associate at Stantec Consulting Ltd. in Dartmouth, NS with over ten years of experience in the geotechnical and applied geoscience field. Maureen received her BSc. in Earth Sciences from Dalhousie University and her MSc. in Geological Engineering from Queen's University. She spent a year in Oslo, Norway at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Rock Mechanics Division where she participated in research projects including 3D rock mass characterization with laser scanning, rock slope assessments, and geological characterization of swelling shale for foundation design. Maureen joined Stantec in 2009 and has focused on applied geoscience, rock engineering, and resource development projects involving: rockmass classification for geotechnical design, geological mapping, slope stability assessment, mine and quarry development planning, pit slope design, and aggregate assessment.

Ms. Gabriele Mellies, M.Sc., P.Eng., ing., is a senior engineer with Stantec Consulting Ltd. in St. John's, NL with over 18 years of experience in rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering and tunneling. Gabriele holds a Dipl. Ing. degree in Civil Engineering from University of Hannover, Germany and a Master of Science in Mining Engineering from Université Laval in Québec, QC. She has spent seven years in Switzerland working on major slope stabilization projects in the Alps. For the past 12 years, Gabriele has been involved in various civil and mining engineering projects in Canada and the US with a focus on slope stabilization and tunneling. Her expertise includes geotechnical investigations, rock mass characterization, slope stability and rock hazard assessments, rock slope and tunnel remediation, pit slope design, rock cut design, ground support design for rock slopes and tunnels, and geotechnical monitoring.


SC2 - The Use of Geophysics for Geotechnical Projects: Benefits and Potential Pitfalls
Instructors: Christopher Phillips and Dr. Michael Maxwell
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2019
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Cost: Before July 29 - $425 (Students $200) | On/After July 29 - $475 (Students $225)

The application of geophysics in the geotechnical field is not new. The geotechnical community has long employed geophysical testing methods such as seismic, electrical resistivity, and, more recently MASW testing, to aid in the characterization of their sites. While geophysics is a tool available to the geotechnical community to gain knowledge of their sites it still remains a black-box to many. As with any tool, the methodology and limitations of the geophysical methods need to be understood in order to utilize the methods to their greatest benefit.

This short course presents many of the geophysical methods available for geotechnical site investigations, and includes land, marine, and borehole based methods. The basic principles of each geophysical method will be presented, and then demonstrated through case study examples from real geotechnical projects, highlighting cases where it was successful, where it was not, and the reasons why. Also discussed will be steps necessary for planning of a geophysical program and ground truthing of the results presented in a geophysical report.

It is the sincere hope of the instructors that the participants come away from this short course with a better understanding of geophysics and its potential as a tool for geotechnical investigations.

About the Instructors:

Mr. Christopher Phillips, M.Sc., P.Geo., is a Senior Geophysicist and Principal with Golder Associates with over 18 years of experience in the use of geophysics for geotechnical applications. He completed his Masters on the subject of estimating ground engineering properties using seismic surface waves and has published numerous papers on topics ranging from new methods for estimating ground engineering properties of soils, underground void detection, mapping of abandoned mine workings, methods for measuring engineering properties of soils and rock, aggregate resource evaluation, and the use of non-invasive methods for profiling thickness of pavement structures.

Dr. Michael Maxwell, P.Geo., is a senior Geophysicist with Golder Associates with more than 40 years of experience in geophysical surveys around North America and internationally. He has conducted geophysical investigations on diverse mining, geotechnical, and environmental projects ranging from small to large scale, including pipeline and road routing, hydrocarbon, contaminant and other hazard detection, marine port and linear infrastructure surveys, underground mining exploration, and mining and infrastructure development. He has extensive experience in various environments including arid and cold regions, mountain, arctic and Antarctic surveys, marine and terrestrial work, underground and surface mining. Dr. Maxwell also continues geophysical research work in a range of geophysical techniques and particularly 2D and 3D ERI through his affiliation with the University of British Columbia as an Honorary Research Associate.


SC3 - 3D Geotechnical Numerical Analysis for Practical Applications
Instructor: Dr. Sina Javankhoshdel
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2019 
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Cost: Before July 29 - $425 (Students $200) | On/After July 29 - $475 (Students $225)

The objective of this course is to provide a background in 3D numerical modeling for slope stability, groundwater analysis, and settlement using Rocscience software tools (Slide3 and RS3). In this course you will learn how to get the most out of the Rocscience slope stability suite through a balanced mix of lectures and hands-on computer analyses using practical examples collected over the years. 

All participants are required to bring a laptop since the course will involve hands on usage of our software. Trial versions of the software will be available for download ahead of time.

  • Slope Stability Analysis for 3D Problems Using Slide3
    • Model building (tips and pitfalls)
    • Material constitutive models
    • Selection of analysis methods
    • Interpretation of results
  • Groundwater Analysis in 3D Using RS3 and Slide3
    • Saturated/Unsaturated transient groundwater analysis
    • Permeability functions
    • Boundary conditions
    • Seepage analysis of staged excavations
  • 3D Settlement Analysis Using RS3
    • Settlement development in 3D
    • Interpretation of results
  • Slope Stability Analysis with Shear Strength Reduction (SSR) Method Using RS3
    • Application of SSR approach with finite element method (FEM) to slope stability analysis
    • Case studies

About the Instructors:

Dr. Sina Javankhoshdel is a Geomechanics Specialist at Rocscience. He holds his Ph.D. from Queen's University in Civil Engineering (Geomechanics). Sina joined Rocscience in 2016 and he was one of the geotechnical developers of Slide2 software, to which he added Spatial Variability Analysis. He has published more than 20 papers on the topic of probabilistic analysis of slopes and retaining structures considering spatial variability.