Soft and Liquefiable Ground Improvement

Geosyntec has played a leading role in the development of state-of-the-art liquefaction and seismic analyses for over 20 years and has pioneered designing economical structures that safely resist the loads caused by earthquakes or allow for construction over soft soils.

Geosyntec is recognized nationally and internationally for our capability to analyze the liquefaction potential of dam embankments and their foundations, as well as to assess the impact of liquefaction on bridges, buildings, and other structures.

Our practitioners have performed liquefaction evaluations for hundreds of projects, including assessment of the consequences of liquefaction and development of solutions to mitigate concerns. These solutions have included ground improvement designs followed by testing during construction to verify that design objectives were met.

In just one example, a large site owner in Delaware planning to develop a regional waste containment and disposal facility chose Geosyntec to design a foundation and berm on the property that could accommodate challenging subsurface conditions. Our engineers and scientists met the challenge by selecting vertical drains (PVDs) combined with a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) berm that could be constructed on top of soft, highly compressible river sediments.

The 1.5-mile, 60-foot-high MSE berm provided a counterweight at the toe of the containment facility. With almost 2 million cubic yards of material, it is one of the highest and most massive reinforced structures over soft soils built in the United States. Geosyntec's design called of the PVD spacing helped control the rate of pore water pressure dissipation and determined the speed of MSE berm construction and vertical expansion waste placement.

To optimize PVD placement, our team developed a project-specific pore pressure dissipation model. As part of the pre-design investigations, Geosyntec developed a sophisticated geotechnical monitoring system consisting of over 150 instruments to track the construction of the MSE berm. The system included electronic piezometers, settlement sensors, shape accelerometer arrays, and inclinometers.

Lead Consultants

  • Christopher Hunt, Ph.D., P.E., G.E.
    Christopher Hunt is a Senior Principal Geotechnical Engineer based in California with more than 20 years of experience focused on managing and supporting a wide variety of geotechnical and geoenvir ...
  • Glenn Rix, Ph.D., P.E.
    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. ...
  • Logan Brant, Ph.D., P.E.

    Logan Brant is a Principal Engineer based in Texas with more than 13 years of professional experience focused on geotechnical engineering.

Geosyntec Consultants
Geosyntec is a consulting and engineering firm that works with private and public sector clients to address new ventures and complex problems involving our environment, natural resources, and civil infrastructure.

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