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My PhD Research Overview
Soil mechanics pioneers Karl Terzaghi and Arthur Casagrande spent much of their careers espousing the potential pitfalls of hydraulic piping through dam foundations. Terzaghi maintained that grout curtains should never be assumed to be 100% effective. Casagrande asserted that no less than three rows of grout curtains should be employed beneath dams, with proper testing of the grout take. Fontenelle Dam was constructed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on the Green River in Wyoming. During its initial filling in 1965 it suffered a near catastrophic failure via hydraulic piping through the right abutment, the same failure mechanism that doomed Teton Dam 11 years later.
I also focused on unraveling the genesis of secondary jointing in the massive Navajo Sandstone, which reaches a thickness of 2300 feet around Zion National Park in southwestern Utah. This view shows one set of the near-vertical regional systematic joints which pervade the entire unit, exposed in the Short Creek drainage of northern Arizona.
Berkeley geomorphology Professor Clyde Wahrhaftig and his long-time colleague King Huber patiently listened to my hypotheses on exfoliation and suggested a number of sites where I could measure joint spacings and easily collect samples for laboratory testing. The most poignant exposure I've ever encountered is this glacial cirque at Little Shuteye Pass, just south of Yosemite National Park.
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