Best Practices For Geotechnical Site Characterization: Have We Regressed from Decades Past?

by Don J. DeGroot, D.Sc., (M.ASCE), Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst,,
Jason T. DeJong, Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Professor at the University of California at Davis,

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2020, Vol. 24, Issue 2, Pg. 50-57

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: The objective of a geotechnical site-characterization program is to determine soil and rock stratigraphy, in-situ pore water pressure conditions, and soil and rock properties for analysis and design of geotechnical engineering infrastructure. It is best conducted using an integrated approach that combines various geo-disciplines to describe, evaluate, and determine expected site characteristics. The extensive advancement of tools and procedures in recent decades provides an opportunity to execute effective and thorough site-characterization programs routinely in practice. Yet, this is often not the case, and some may argue that today’s state-of-practice has regressed in recent decades. While contractual structures and budget restrictions may contribute to this lower level and quality of characterization, the technical knowledge and pragmatic strategies available are not always implemented.

Subject Headings: Soil analysis | Soil properties | Soil pressure | Rock properties | Water pressure | Geotechnical engineering | Geotechnical investigation | Soil water


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