November 2, 2020

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Geosyntec to Offer ASDSO Course on Earthquake Engineering for Embankment Dams

Lelio Mejia, Ph.D., P.E., G.E., Glenn Rix, Ph.D., P.E., (Georgia), and Christie Hale, Ph.D., (California), with assistance from Kate Darby, Ph.D., (California), developed a two-day technical course on “Earthquake Engineering for Embankment Dams” for the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) to be delivered on November 2-3, 2020.

Glenn Rix is a Senior Principal Geotechnical Engineer based in Georgia with more than 30 years of experience focused on the areas of geotechnical earthquake engineering and engineering seismology. His practice includes seismic risk assessment for civil infrastructure.

Lelio Mejia is a Senior Principal Engineer based in California with more than 35 years of experience in geotechnical and earthquake engineering. For many years, he has focused on the challenges of dam and levee engineering and is a leading international authority in this field, with emphasis on the seismic design and performance of dam structures. Lelio leads Geosyntec’s Western U.S. dams and levees practice and is a registered civil and geotechnical engineer.

Christie Hale is a Project Professional based in California with experience in civil engineering, particularly involving seismic hazard analysis and seismic safety assessment projects. Her technical experience includes probabilistic seismic hazard analysis, deaggregation analysis, target spectrum development, and development of site-specific ground motions. Her regulatory experience includes performing risk-informed inspections, seismic hazard reevaluations, and seismic site response analyses for commercial nuclear power plants.

Kate Darby is a Senior Staff Engineer based in California focused on geotechnical engineering, liquefaction triggering correlations, and physical modeling. She has been involved in geotechnical, infrastructure, and geoenvironmental projects. Kate has experience conducting safety reviews, evaluating CPT-based liquefaction, and conducting air quality research.

ASDSO is a U.S. non-profit organization serving state dam safety programs and the broader dam safety community, which includes federal dam safety professionals, dam owners and operators, engineering consultants, emergency managers, manufacturers, suppliers, academia, contractors, and others interested in improving dam safety. Its mission is to improve the condition and safety of dams through education, support for state dam safety programs and fostering a unified dam safety community.


The objective of the course is to provide instruction on the general subject of earthquake engineering of embankment dams. The course will begin with a historical perspective on dam performance during earthquakes and an overview of basic concepts about earthquakes. The course will then progressively address more specialized subjects including a) evaluation of seismic hazard and characterization of earthquake motions for dam design, b) field investigation methods and characterization of materials for seismic analysis, c) methods for analysis of dynamic response and seismic stability of dams, d) procedures for instrumentation and post-earthquake inspection, e) considerations pertinent to risk analysis, and f) defensive design measures. The lectures will include presentation of case histories pertinent to some of the subjects covered in the course.

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