The 11th Asian Regional Conference of IAEG [ARC-11]

November 28-30,2017, Kathmandu, Nepal

Keynote Speakers

Hans Cloos Lecture

Prof. Resat Ulusay

Prof. Resat Ulusay from Hacettepe University, Faculty of Engineering, Dept. of Geological Engineering, TURKEY will give IAEG Hans Cloos Lecture in the conference. His presentation title will be “Geo-engineering aspects on the structural stability and protection of historical man-made rock structures: An overview of Cappadocia Region (Turkey) in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Lecture Abstract:  Underground space has long been used through the history for the purposes of human accommodation, religious ceremony, protection from climatic conditions, defence, food storage etc. by humankind. There are a number of man-made underground rock structures in different areas all over the world which are also called “rupestrian settlements”. Although some of them preserved their structural integrity, some of them have been mainly affected by weathering in different rates, natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic activities and landslides, and human activities. These effects may cause damage to these structures, their partial or total collapse and their failure if they are located next to steep cliffs, their erosion and even some have been completely destroyed and no longer exist. Therefore, both protection of their structural stability and minimizing the effects of internal and external factors on them have vital importance for all nations. Today the interest to utilization of underground space is still continuing. Besides assessment of the above mentioned issues is a complex endeavour, requiring expertise from the sciences of archaeology, architecture, conservation and geo-engineering such as engineering geology, rock mechanics and rock engineering.

The Cappadocia region in Turkey is one of the typical examples of these settlements. The Cappadocia region of Turkey is a typical example for rupestrian settlements and one of the sites in the world included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1985. In this region, there are historical churches, dwellings, monasteries, cave houses, semi-underground (cliff) settlements and underground cities carved in soft tuffs which are still survive, and modern man-made cavities used for multi-purposes. Easy carving and thermal isolation properties of the soft Cappadocian tuffs have been the main reasons for the extensive multi-purpose underground use in the region from the past to the present. In addition, short- and long-term behaviours of these rock-hewn structures and the surrounding soft tuffs are also important data source in terms of underground geo-engineering.

The main goals of this paper are to point out the importance of engineering geology and its harmonization with rock mechanics and rock engineering in the assessments of short- and long-term mechanical behaviour of the host rocks, stability of rock-hewn structures and geo-engineering problems and environmental conditions associated with the historical rock-hewn structures with prime emphasize on the Cappadocia region. In addition, some cases selected from the Cappadocia region are also briefly discussed for highlighting the role of geo-engineering aspects on the stability and integrity of the historical rock-hewn structures and possible measures of their protection and mitigation are also given.

Keynote Lecturers

Prof. Scott F. Burns

Scott is a Professor of Geology and Past-Chair of the Dept. of Geology at Portland State University where he just finished his 23rd year of teaching. He was also Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at P.S.U. from 1997-1999. He has been teaching for 43 years, with past positions in Switzerland, New Zealand, Washington, Colorado, and Louisiana. Scott specializes in environmental and engineering geology, geomorphology, soils, and Quaternary geology. In Oregon, he has projects involving landslides and land use, environmental cleanup of service stations, slope stability, earthquake hazard mapping, Missoula Floods, paleosols, loess soil stratigraphy, radon from soils, and the distribution of heavy metals and trace elements in soils. He has been active in mapping landslides in the Pacific Northwest since his return to Portland. Scott has won many awards for outstanding teaching with the most significant being the Faculty Senate Chair Award at Louisiana Tech University (1987), Distinguished Faculty Award from Portland State Alumni Association (2001), and George Hoffmann Award from PSU (2007). He has authored over 100 publications and has had over 25 research grants. He has written two books: Environmental, Groundwater and Engineering Geology: Applications from Oregon (1998). His second book, Cataclysms on the Columbia, the Great Missoula Floods (2009). Scott has been the president of the Faculty Senate at three different universities. He actively helps local TV and radio stations and newspapers bring important geological news to the public. For the past 40 years, he has been studying terroir of wine: the relationship between wine, soils, geology and climate.

He has BS and MS degrees from Stanford University in California, plus a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Colorado. He has memberships in over 20 professional organizations and is most active in the AEG, IAEG, GSA, NAGT, and SSSA. He is past president of the Oregon Society of Soil Scientists and the Oregon Section of the Association of Engineering Geologists. He was national chair of the engineering geology division of the Geological Society of America in 1999-2000. He was national president of the Association of Engineering Geologists from 2002-2003. He was vice president for North America of the International Association of Engineering Geologists. He was chosen a fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2004. Scott was chosen a fellow with the ellogg National Fellowship Program from 1990 - 1993 based on his national leadership performance. He was president of the Downtown Rotary Club of Portland, Oregon’s oldest and largest Rotary club in 2009.

Scott enjoys all sports, especially basketball, skiing, hiking, tennis, and golf. He is married to Glenda (40 years), and they have three children: Lisa, Doug, and Tracy.

Keynote Title: A major role for engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers internationally - help produce resiliency plans for major hazards with an example from Oregon, USA

Major geological hazards are found around the world and affect populations each year. Major hazards are earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and hurricanes (flooding).  We, as engineering geologists and civil engineers, must work to reduce the effects of these hazards on the lives of humans and the infrastructure we live in.  Each area of the world has its own set of hazards that dominate that environment.  We must first study these hazards and understand their processes and the factors that affect them.  Then, we must put together a resilience plan for the community working with emergency managers and local politicians.  Such a plan defines the local hazards, the severity of the types of hazards, the vulnerability to those hazards, and then concludes with ways of how to reduce vulnerability and therefore loss of property and loss of life. 

I have been involved in preparing the resilience plan for my state of Oregon in the United States mainly for our biggest hazard, a subduction zone earthquake (also called a megathrust).  These are the biggest earthquakes in the world with magnitudes over 9.0.  We live on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.  I will explain how we put together the study and then how we put it into action with the population of Oregon through talks and outreach and changes laws.

Dr. Fausto Guzzetti

Fausto Guzzetti graduated in Geology from the University of Perugia, Italy, in 1983 with a thesis on the structural geology of the Central Apennines, Italy. In 2006, he obtained a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Bonn, Germany, with a dissertation on landslide hazards and risk assessment. In 1985-1986 he was a visiting scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, working on small-scale landslide inventory maps. Since his return to Perugia in 1987, he has worked on a number of research items, including landslide mapping and landslide cartography in different morphological and climatic environments, analysis of landslide types and patterns in relation to different geological settings, methods for landslide susceptibility, hazard, vulnerability, and risk assessment and mapping, comparison and evaluation of landslide maps and forecasting models, acquisition and use of historical information on landslides and floods for hazard and risk assessment, identification of rainfall and hydrological thresholds for the initiation of landslides and their application in landslide warning systems, spatially distributed rock fall modelling for hazard and risk assessment, frequency-magnitude statistics of landslides and their sizes, and dissemination of information on natural hazards and risk. A senior research scientist with the Italian Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (CNR), Guzzetti leads the CNR Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection (IRPI). He was president of the Natural Hazards Division of the European Geosciences Union, and has lead European and national projects, including the ASI MORFEO, and the FP7 DORIS and FP7 LAMPRE projects for the exploitation of remote sensing technologies for landslide detection, mapping, monitoring and forecasting, and the CNR-GNDCI AVI project for the collection and exploitation of historical information on damaging landslide and flood events in Italy. A founding member of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), Guzzetti was president of the Natural Hazards Division of EGU between 2002 and 2007, and he is an executive editor for the EGU journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. In 2008 he received the EGU Union Service Award. Guzzetti is the author or co-author of more than 75 papers in international journals, 10 book chapters, nine landslide maps, and several communications to national and international conferences.

Keynote Title: Challenges for operational forecasting and early warning of rainfall induced landslides

In many areas of the world, landslides occur every year, claiming lives and producing severe economic and environmental damage. Many of the landslides with human or economic consequences are the result of intense or prolonged rainfall. For this reason, in many areas the timely forecast of rainfall-induced landslides is of both scientific interest and social relevance. In the recent years, there has been a mounting interest and an increasing demand for operational landslide forecasting, and for associated landslide early warning systems. Despite the relevance of the problem and the increasing demand, only a relatively few systems have been designed, and are currently operated. Inspection of the limited literature on operational landslide forecasting and on the associated early warning systems, reveals that common criteria and standards for the design, the implementation, the operation, and the evaluation of the performances of the systems, are lacking. This limits the possibility to compare and to evaluate the systems critically, to identify their inherent strengths and weaknesses and, finally, to improve the performance of the systems. Lack of common criteria and of established standards can also limit the credibility of the systems, and consequently their usefulness and potential societal impact.

Landslides are known to be very diversified phenomena, and the information and the modelling tools used to attempt landslide forecasting vary largely, depending on the type and size of the landslides, the extent of the geographical area considered, and the timeframe and scopes of the forecasts. As a result, systems for landslide forecasting and early warning can be designed and implemented at several different geographical scales, from the local (site or slope specific) to the regional, or even national scale. The talk focuses on regional to national scale landslide forecasting systems, and specifically on operational systems based on empirical rainfall threshold models. Building on the experience gained in designing, implementing, and operating national and regional landslide forecasting systems in Italy, and on a preliminary review of the existing literature on regional landslide early warning systems, the talk discusses concepts, limitations and challenges inherent to the design of reliable forecasting and early warning systems for rainfall-triggered landslides, the evaluation of the performances of the systems, and on problems related to the use of the forecasts and the issuing of landslide warnings. Several of the typical elements of an operational landslide forecasting system are considered, including: (i) the rainfall and landslide information used to establish the threshold models, (ii) the methods and tools used to define the empirical rainfall thresholds, and their associated uncertainty, (iii) the quality (e.g., the temporal and spatial resolution) of the rainfall information used for operational forecasting, including rain gauge and radar measurements, satellite estimates, and quantitative weather forecasts, (iv) the ancillary information used to prepare the forecasts, including e.g., the terrain subdivisions and the landslide susceptibility zonations, (v) the criteria used to transform the forecasts into landslide warnings, and the methods used to communicate the warnings, and finally (vi) the criteria and strategies adopted to evaluate the performances of the systems, and to define minimum or optimal performance levels.In many areas of the world, landslides occur every year, claiming lives and producing severe economic and environmental damage. Many of the landslides with human or economic consequences are the result of intense or prolonged rainfall. For this reason, in many areas the timely forecast of rainfall-induced landslides is of both scientific interest and social relevance. In the recent years, there has been a mounting interest and an increasing demand for operational landslide forecasting, and for associated landslide early warning systems. Despite the relevance of the problem and the increasing demand, only a relatively few systems have been designed, and are currently operated. Inspection of the limited literature on operational landslide forecasting and on the associated early warning systems, reveals that common criteria and standards for the design, the implementation, the operation, and the evaluation of the performances of the systems, are lacking. This limits the possibility to compare and to evaluate the systems critically, to identify their inherent strengths and weaknesses and, finally, to improve the performance of the systems. Lack of common criteria and of established standards can also limit the credibility of the systems, and consequently their usefulness and potential societal impact.

Prof. Dr. Faquan Wu 

BSc, MSc (China University of Geosciences), Ph.D. (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Professor at Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. Dr. Faquan Wu, professor of engineering geology at Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Secretary General and past vice president (2006-2010) of IAEG, Chairperson of IAEG China National Group, recipient of National Award for Science and Technology, Honored Scientist awarded by China State Council. Dr. Wu focus his research work at Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering Geology in the past 30 years. He proposed the theory of Statistical Rock Mechanics and solved key problems for a series of high slopes and underground space construction in his practice. He has been the chairperson of a working group for slope protection in Three Gorges Reservoir region (2003-2009) and organized a geological survey and engineering design for 2760 slopes in the area. He has conducted research work on controlling large deformation and stability of surrounding rock for Jinping I Hydro-power Station and Lan-Yu Railway tunnels.

Keynote Title: Statistic-Mechanical model of Rock Mass and its applications

A Statistic-Mechanical model will be proposed to describe the geometrical and mechanical behaviors of jointed Rock Mass, which includes its geological structure, deformation, and strength. As its basis, the geometrical model is to describe the number of joint sets and the orientation, density and average opening and size of each set of joints.  A stress-strain relationship is to provide the theoretical model for deformation analysis of rock mass, based on the geometrical model and fractural mechanical behavior. And the strength model will provide the calculation method and criterion of a strength of rock mass. As the applications of the theoretical models, the formulas for parameters calculation like whole spacing elastic modulus, Poisson's ratio and UCS of a rock mass, and rock mass classification. Meanwhile, some practical examples will be illustrated from railway tunnels and high dam slopes.

Prof Dr. Fawu Wang

Dr. Fawu Wang is a full professor in Department of Geoscience, Shimane University, Japan. He is also the director of Research Center on Geo-disaster Reduction in the university. He obtained a doctorate degree in science on landslide from Kyoto University in 1999. He has been working on challenging problems in landslides, such as the mechanism of rapid and long runout landslides, the transformation mechanism from land sliding to flow-sliding, motion prediction of landslides, motion behavior of submarine landslides, and landslides triggered by earthquakes, heavy rainfall, and water impoundment. His primary research interests are to clarify the common mechanisms of landslides initiated by different triggers and to find a way to predict the occurrence and motion of landslides, for the purpose of landslide disaster mitigation.

In his career on landslide study for more than 30 years, he co-authored 2 books, co-edited 7 books, and published more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers related to landslides. Besides the teaching and research activities, he is also working as the Director-General of the International Consortium on Geo-disaster Reduction, the Editor-in-Chief of a Springer open access journal: Geoenvironmental Disasters, the deputy director of Department of International Affairs of Japan Landslide Society.

Keynote Title: Failure prediction of landslide dam and motion simulation of landslide

Prediction is very important for disaster reduction. In this lecture, two types of prediction will be introduced. One is the failure time prediction of landslide dam, the other is motion simulation of landslide when it occurs.

For landslide dam, there are three different types of failure mechanisms: overflowing, piping and sliding. Among them, landslide dam failure caused by piping is of highest danger, because it usually takes long time for piping phenomenon to make a sudden failure of a landslide dam. For the purpose to make time prediction on the landslide dam failure caused by piping, microtremor chain survey method is applied to detect the internal structure of landslide dam, and evaluate the situation of a landslide dam after piping for short or long period. When the landslide dam is in loose structure resulted from piping, self-potential survey method is applied to find the groundwater flowing path under the surface of a landslide dam. When the internal structure and groundwater situation of a landslide dam is clarified, it is necessary to find some apparent indicators for failure prediction. Through outdoor small scale landslide dam failure tests, we found that turbidity change of the water coming from the landslide dam, and the subsidence of the landslide dam crest (surface) can be used for this purpose.

For landslide motion, those travelling for long distance are always of strong impact. Using a landslide motion model by Sassa (1988), and adopting an apparent friction changing model by Wang & Sassa (2002), motion simulation of landslide can be made in high reliability. In this lecture, the geological meaning of those models will be examined.

Prof Dr. Masahiro Chigira

Masahiro Chigira finished his Master course in Geology of the University of Tokyo, Japan, in 1980 with a thesis on the structural geology and landslides. In 1987, he obtained a degree of Dr. of Science from the University of Tokyo, with a dissertation on long-term gravitational deformation of rocks by mass rock creep. From 1981 to 1997, he worked for the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, engaging in a geological investigation for various electric power facilities like dams, power plants, power transmission towers. His research on the weathering mechanism of mudstone in mountainous areas was awarded by the Geological Society of Japan in 1989 and his research on mass rock creep was awarded by the Japan Society of Engineering Geology in 1986. He moved to the Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University in 1997, and since then, has been actively engaged in the research on natural disaster induced by landslides and related basic studies including rock weathering, long-term gravitational slope deformation, and slope development. He published 66 papers, 6 books, and 12 book chapters including 5 international publications. He was the president of the Japan Society of Engineering Geology from 2009 to 2013. He experienced Member of the Science Council of Japan, Chair of the Board for the field of resources and geological engineering of the Japan Accreditation Board for Engineering Education, Member of the executive board of the Japan Landslide Society. He supervised 13 Ph.D. students. He was awarded the Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2017 for his research on deep-seated catastrophic landslides.

Keynote Title: Preparatory processes of catastrophic landslides triggered by rainstorms and earthquakes

Earthquake-induced or rain-induced catastrophic landslides cause enormous disaster because of their suddenness, large volume and high mobility. Their potential sites, therefore, must be predicted, but its methodology is not established yet. We know that those catastrophic landslides are mostly preceded by gravitational slope deformation, which can be a clue for the site prediction. Here we report characteristic features and internal structures of gravitational slope deformations that precede rain-induced or earthquake-induced catastrophic landslides from case histories.

Gravitational slope deformation forms many brittle open fractures, which are the groundwater pathways so pore pressure build up does not likely occur. However, our recent experiences of gigantic rain-induced catastrophic landslides in accretionary complexes suggest that they had a wide crush zone with gouge at their base, which seals fractures and prohibits water leakage from the deformed rock mass. 2009 Shiaolin landslide in Taiwan by typhoon Morakot was bounded by a fault and bedding plane.

Earthquake-induced gigantic landslides, on the other hand, have somehow different geological structures of preceding gravitational deformation because it is induced by shaking rather than pore pressure build up even though preceding rainfalls have some effects on their occurrence. Typical gravitational slope deformations of them are flexural toppling, buckling, and sliding of undercut slopes. Flexural toppling of foliated rocks with rigid, massive rocks in higher elevations may be more susceptible to shaking than homogeneous rock mass. Buckling of parallel or underdip cataclinal slopes forms very unstable slopes; typical landslides of this type were Chiu-feng-erh-shan landslide by 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake Taiwan and Qingping landslides by 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Another type of gravitational deformations that precedes catastrophic failure during earthquakes occurs on a buttressed slope like the Madison landslide by the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake in the USA.

Prof. Dr. Shuichi Hasegawa

Prof. Dr. Shuichi Hasegawa finished his Master course in Geology of the University of Tokyo, Japan, in 1980 with a thesis on the structural geology. In 1993, he obtained a degree of Dr. of Science from the University of Tokyo, with a dissertation on large-scale landslides along the active faults of the Median Tectonic Line in Shikoku, southwest Japan.

From 1980 to 2000, he worked for Shikoku Electric Power Co., Inc., engaging in geological investigation for various electric power facilities like dams, nuclear power plants, power transmission towers and expressways. He moved to the Department of Safety Systems Construction Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kagawa University in 2000, and since then, has been started the research on earthquake-induced and rainfall-induced landslides and education and outreach for disaster risk reduction. He published 69 papers, one book and 12 chapters of books. He was the president of the Japan Society of Engineering Geology from 2014 to 2015. He is the Founder Member of Himalayan Landslide Society and he experienced Member of the executive board of The Japanese Geotechnical Society. He supervised 5 PhD students. He was awarded the Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2014 for his education and outreach on disaster risk reduction.


Keynote Title: Engineering Geology in Active Mountain Belts

The Himalaya is characterized by the highest mountain range of over 8000 m in height which has been formed by the collision of India and Eurasia plates. Japan is located where the Pacific and Philippine Sea plates subduct under the Eurasian plate. Shikoku Island is located at southwest part of Japan, wherethe Eurasian plate is subducted by the Philippine Sea plates..

Geological background of slope disasters between Nepal and Shikoku, southwest Japan is very similar. Nepal and Shikoku has similar topographical arrangement. The uplift of the Higher Himalaya and Shikoku Range is closely related to the intrusion of the Miocene granitic rocks. The batholith of the Miocene granites has uplifted isostatically due to the buoyancy of relatively light granites. Although no Quaternary volcano is distributed in the Himalaya and Shikoku Mountain Range, hydrothermal activity due to the Miocene volcanism are recognized in both areas. The thermal source of hot springs and hydrothermal alteration of both areas are closely related to the Miocene volcanism. The Miocene hydrothermal alteration produced clay minerals in the bedrock as fault gouges or clay veins and became a geological factor of deep-seated landslides.

Big earthquakes are great threats to Nepal and Shikoku. In Shikoku, the Nankai Trough subduction mega-earthquakes have occurred in hundred-year intervals and the Median Tectonic Line (MTL) shallow mega-earthquakes have occurred in thousand-year intervals. Large-scale landslides which have provided gentle slopes for settlements in steep Shikoku Mountain Range were mainly triggered by MTL mega-earthquakes.

The Midland in Himalaya which consists of gentle hills between the steep Higher Himalaya and the steep Mahabharat Range were probably results of past giant landslides. Relatively slight damaged in the Midland during the 2015 Gorkha earthquake can be explained by the cushion of thick fractured and porous landslides masses which had formed more than one million years ago. Intermountain basins like Kathmandu Valley might have been formed from landslide-lakes by the ancient mega-landslides.

Therefore, I believe that experiences and lessons from the tunnel and express way construction practices in Shikoku Mountain Range is indispensable  and our experiences will be highly useful for construction of fast track-roads in Nepal.

Dr. Eldon Gath

Eldon Gath, President of Earth Consultants International since 1997, is a consulting engineering geologist, with 35+ years of experience in the identification, investigation, and remediation of geologic hazards, involving active fault characterization, landslide investigation, and project planning and development. He has considerable international experience, including field projects in Turkey, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea, as well as project involvement in Portugal, Romania, Japan and Taiwan.

Eldon is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology, with a BS degree in Geology in 1978.  He has been in multiple graduate school programs including Cal State LA, UC Riverside, and UC Irvine (1998–2008), but never quite completed the Ph.D. degree.  He was the Association of Engineering Geologists’ President in 1996-97, a member of the AEG Board of Directors 1990-98, and 2015-2018, and is the International Association of Engineering Geologists’ United States National Group Leader.  He has published almost 50 professional papers (outstanding paper awards from both Geological Society of America and AEG), has given over 50 published abstract talks and been a co-author on another 25, and has given over 200 other presentations to civic groups, government agencies, universities, and professional societies, including almost 100 talks around the world during his term as the Jahns Distinguished Lecturer.  He is a Life Member of the AEG, a Fellow of the GSA, and holds membership in IAEG, EERI, SSA, AAPG, EGU, AMQUA, AGU, and many other professional organizations.

Keynote Title: Paleoseismic Studies of the Gatún, Limón, and Pedro Miguel Faults for Seismic Hazard Input to the Panama Canal Expansion in Central America

As part of the geologic hazard investigation for the Panamá Canal Expansion project’s design studies, we completed detailed paleoseismic investigations of the principal Gatún, Limón, Pedro Miguel faults, as well as several other faults in Central Panama. Tectonic geomorphic mapping interpreted the fault traces, field reconnaissance identified potential investigation sites, trenching exposed the faults, and detailed geologic logging helped quantify the fault’s slip rates, recurrence intervals, and kinematic displacements. On all three of the primary faults, we were able to identify and date the last three surface-rupturing earthquakes plus directly measure their slip displacements. The Gatún fault was shown to be dominantly left-lateral strike slip at 6-9 mm/yr, with three 0.75 m offsets in the last 500 years; the MRE being likely AD1848.  The Limón fault was shown to be right-lateral strike slip at 4-6 mm/yr, with at least three offsets in the last 1600 years.  The MRE was a 1.2 m displacement likely in AD1873, while the penultimate event was a 3 m event in AD1621.  The Pedro Miguel fault was demonstrated to be a right-lateral strike slip fault at 4-6 mm/yr, with three events in the last 1500 years, and the MRE a 3 m displacement that occurred in AD1621 in a rupture that included the Limon fault.  These studies provided geologically validated data directly into the seismic hazard calculations for the project’s structural design. This talk will explore the tectonic geomorphology of the fault zones, illustrate the process of conducting detailed paleoseismic studies of the strike-slip faults, and conclude with implications for the seismic hazard of the Panama Canal and Panama City.

Dr. Janusz Wasowski

Dr. Janusz Wasowski is a research geologist at CNR-IRPI (National Research Council - Institute for Geo-hydrological Protection) in Bari, Italy. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Engineering Geology. Since 2011 he has held the positions of Visiting Professor at the Research School of Arid Environment and Climate Change, Lanzhou University, Gansu, China and of Science Officer of the Natural Hazards Group Programme, European Geosciences Union (EGU).

He is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of engineering geology, natural hazards and applied remote sensing. For over 25 years Dr. Wasowski’s work has covered a broad spectrum of research topics ranging from slope instability and landslide assessment, collateral seismic hazards, geotechnical field investigation and in situ monitoring, to the exploitation of air/space-borne remote sensing and geophysical surveying in engineering geology. He has also served as a consultant for the National Department of Civil Protection, Italy, the Government of Gansu Province, China, and the Centre National de l'Information Géo-Spatiale, Haiti, focusing on landslides and other geohazards and on the application of high-resolution satellite multi-temporal interferometry for monitoring terrain deformations and infrastructure instability.

Since 2007 Dr. Wasowski has been a member of the Editorial Board of Engineering Geology (Elsevier) and the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology (The Geological Society, London). He is the author/co-author of over 100 articles/book chapters and the guest editor of several special issues published in international scientific journals.

Keynote Title: Multi-temporal interferometry and high-resolution radar satellite data enable long-term slope monitoring and capturing of pre-failure signs of instability

New high resolution optical and radar sensors and improved digital image processing techniques allow timely delivery of information that is sufficiently detailed (and cost-effective) for many practical engineering applications. For example, LiDAR and UAV-based remote sensing can provide very high (cm-dcm) spatial resolution imagery for producing detailed topographic maps and DEM. Furthermore, detailed measurements of ground and infrastructure deformations can be obtained using ground based interferometry (GB-InSAR) or exploiting satellite radar imagery and advanced multi-temporal interferometry (MTI) techniques like PSInSAR, SBAS (Wasowski and Bovenga, 2014a,b).

In this keynote, we focus on the new space-borne radar sensors, which offer great potential for multi-scale (regional to site-specific) ground deformation monitoring thanks to wide-area coverage (tens of thousands km2), regular image acquisition schedule with increasing re-visit frequency (weekly to daily), and high measurement precision (mm). In particular, we demonstrate the potential of the new European Space Agency (ESA) satellite Sentinel-1 (S-1) for long-term slope monitoring and capturing of pre-failure signs of instability. This is done by using two case study examples and presenting MTI results obtained through the Persistent and Distributed Scatterers (PS/DS) processing capability of the SPINUA algorithm.

The first case regards a hilltop town in the Apennine Mts., Italy, whose stability is threatened by a large (~600 x 300 m2), slow-moving deep landslide. The MTI results based on S-1 data from the period 2014-2016 revealed an accelerating trend with a nearly doubled velocity of the surface displacements with respect to those in the earlier period covered by the data provided by the older ERS and ENVISAT satellites. The higher frequency of S-1 acquisitions (about 30/year in this case) helped highlighting the non-linearity of the displacements within the faster movement phase, whose timing was consistent with the increase in landslide activity detected through subsurface inclinometer monitoring and field observations. The latter demonstrated that this faster movement phase coincided with (or was preceded by) a failure of the landslide toe.

The second case represents an example of a retrospective investigation of a huge (about 2.7 km long, several tens of m deep) landslide, which occurred in 2016 in an important open-cast coal mine in central Europe. The seemingly sudden failure disrupted the mine operations, destroyed mining machinery and resulted in high economic losses. In this case, we exploited over 60 S-1 images acquired since November 2014. Despite the presence of spatial gaps in information (due to intensive surface disturbance by mining operations), the MTI results provided a good overview of the ground instability/stability conditions in the mine area. Furthermore, it was shown that the 2016 slope failure was preceded by very slow (generally 1-3 cm/yr) creep-like deformations, already detectable in 2014. Although it would not have been simple to issue a short-term warning of the impending failure based on the displacement time series, the MTI results showed that the slope had been in the critical instability state some months prior to the landslide event. Furthermore, the spatio-temporal mapping of interferometric coherence changes indicated a sharp coherence loss in the last few weeks before the slope collapse. The above examples demonstrate that by securing long-term, regular, high-frequency acquisitions all over the globe, the Sentinel-1 mission can promote a more effective use of MTI in slope instability hazard assessment. The availability of more frequent, wide-area measurements from space leads to improved landslide monitoring and opens new opportunities for slope failure forecasting efforts. Thanks to this and to ESA’s open access policy for images, site-specific investigations relying on MTI are now more feasible (and cost-effective) also for non-scientific users.

Dr. Gopal Dhawan


Keynote Title: Managing geological situations at hydropower projects in Himalayas

India has a vast hydro power potential of around 1,48,700 MW, a major part of which lies in the Himalayan region. However, in spite of high demand and huge available potential, the hydro power industry in the country has not yet progressed with desired speed due to various constraints, which cause delay in completion of the projects resulting in time and cost overrun. Among the various constraints responsible for inordinate delays in hydropower projects, uncertain geological condition is perhaps the most talked about reason. Often the time and cost overrun in hydropower project is attributed to “geological uncertainty" which refers to a sudden occurrence of extraordinary or adverse geological conditions during excavation of underground/surface structures, which were not anticipated at the time of investigation of the project.

In India, though several hydropower projects have already been constructed in Himalayas, it is always a challenging task due to complex geological and tectonic conditions. Moreover, extremely rugged, densely forested, and inaccessible topography delimit detailed investigation resulting inaccurate prognosis and in turn unexpected occurrence of geological problems like foundation problem in dams, stability problem in high cut slopes (Figure 1), unprecedented problems in tunnels and underground caverns like sudden ingress of water (Figure 2), interception of shear/fault zones resulting cavity/chimney formation, high stress conditions resulting bursting and squeezing, high temperature conditions, emission of noxious gases etc.

Successful identification of risks during investigation, imbibing the geological risks in the contract by preparing a Geotechnical Baseline Report (GBR), assessment and successful management of risks by meticulous construction practices, overruling the unknown-unknown conditions during underground excavation by carrying out ahead of the face investigations are some of the other important practices to minimize the geological risks. Moreover, proper documentation of the lessons learned from the geological issues encountered in any project and the mitigation measures adopted to resolve the same is highly useful for formulating future projects in similar geological conditions to avoid geological complexities. Few practices if followed religiously, can result in minimizing geological issues in hydropower projects to considerable extent and can contribute significantly in rejuvenating the glory of hydropower projects in India. This keynote address shares some idea about the way forward towards effective management of geological situations in Himalayan hydropower projects with few case studies where these adverse geological conditions have been tackled efficiently based on proper co-ordination between engineers and geologists. 

Dr. Prabhas Pande                                                                                     

Dr. Prabhas Pande did his M.Sc. in Geology in the year 1971 and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 2008 by the University of Lucknow. In his service career in the Geological Survey of India (GSI) spanning for 37 years, he carried out geotechnical investigations of several river valleys and communication projects and studied over 15 damaging earthquakes that occurred in the Indian subcontinent since 1991. He supervised seismic hazard assessment of Urban Agglomerations at micro level, active fault mapping and palaeoseismic studies apart from providing policy and planning support. He superannuated as Additional Director General, GSI on 31st August 2011. He has served as a Member of the Scientific Board of IGCP, UNESCO from 2002 to 2005, and in this connection, visited France on four occasions. He was sent on deputation to France in 1995 and to Bhutan in 2001 to conduct seismotectonic evaluation studies. Dr. Pande was part of the Indian delegation to visit Chile, Peru and Canada in 2010 and 2011 and served as a geotechnical Consultant for Chindwin Valley projects in Myanmar. He was a Technical Consultant for Kalpasar Project, Government of Gujarat, and represented GSI in several National and International Committees including the Global Earthquake Model (GEM). He was a Member of the Peer Group constituted for the First Revision of the Vulnerability Atlas of India and that of the BIS Committee entrusted with the task of bringing out the fifth version of the Indian Seismic Code.

Since his superannuation in 2011, Dr. Pande is actively associated with various programmes associated with earthquake research, seismic hazard assessment, landslide studies and disaster management. He has investigated the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake along with a team of Scientists from IIT Kanpur. Presently, he serves as the Chairman of the Expert Committee on Active Fault studies under the aegis of the Ministry of Earth Sciences and is a Member of various National Committees constituted by the DST, MoES, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, GSI, etc. As a Consultant, he has carried out seismotectonic evaluation of a number of river valley projects in the Eastern Himalaya and in the Middle East. Dr. Pande has written over 50 technical papers and authored/edited several major publications of the GSI, including the Seismotectonic Atlas of India and 2001 Kutch Earthquake. He is a Member of the Indian Society of Engineering Geology (ISEG) and IAEG.

Keynote Title: Seismotectonics and seismic hazard potential of northwest Himalaya

The 2400 km long Great Himalayan orogenic belt, confined between the lofty mountains of Nanga Parbat in the west and Namcha Barwa in the east, is embraced by the mighty Indus River at one end and the Brahmaputra River at the other. This south convex system of ranges occurring south of the Tibetan plateau includes in its fold the territories of Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and China. The Northwest segment of the Himalaya, constituting nearly 40% length of the mountain belt, lies between the Indus-Jhelum and Kali valleys. It maintains a general northwesterly trend except in its western terminal where the attitudes get abruptly acutely reversed. The most spectacular feature of the Himalayan orogen is the Western Syntaxis. In the frontal part, this orogenic bend is reflected as the Jhelum re-entrant, flanked on either side by the Kashmir and Peshawar basins. The northern most tectonic discontinuity of the area is the Main Karakoram Thrust (MKT) that separates the Hindukush-Karakoram belt from the Island Arc of Kohistan. Towards south, the Main Mantle Thrust (MMT) separates the latter from the Peshawar and Kashmir basins. These two major discontinuities are considered to represent the earliest sutures of this complex tectonic domain. Southern most is the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT), which divides the main Himalayan package from the sedimentary sequence of the Frontal Fold Belt (FFB). The FFB along with Panjal thrust is involved in the Kashmir-Hazara Syntaxis that formed due to the interaction of three independently moving tectonic elements, viz, the Himalaya, the Indian Shield and the Salt Range. An integrated lithospheric model constrained on the basis of isostatic studies and seismic investigations reveals a crustal thickness of 60 km beneath the Karakoram-Pamir region, and suggest continental subduction from the Indian as well as the Eurasian sides, leading to the development of a complex compressional stress environment in a depth range of 80-180 km to 170-250 km. Further southeast, that is between the Kashmir and Kumaon Himalaya, the 300 km wide chain from north to south can distinctly be divided into Trans, Higher, Lesser and Sub Himalayan geomorphic entities, each being sandwiched between major structural discontinuities, namely Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone (ISZ), Main Central Thrust (MCT), Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) and Main Frontal Thrust (MFT). The Himalaya, which came into existence by the continued collision of the Indian plate with the soft underbelly of Eurasia in Miocene times, is still in a state of flux. It is estimated that the plate presently moves at the rate of 67 mm/year as a result of which the Tibetan plateau, presently under the influence of an extensional tectonics, continues to move upward, and the thrusting along the Himalayan southern front leads to the rise of the Himalaya by about 5 mm/year. The recent results of GPS measurements of crustal deformation across the Kashmir Himalaya suggest that the motion between the southern Tibet and India is almost north-south at the rate of 17±2 mm/year, which is partitioned between dextral motion of 5±2 mm/year in the Karakoram fault system and oblique motion of 13.6±1 mm/year in the Kashmir Himalayan frontal arc. The tectonic stresses operative in the Quaternary times have caused reactivation of several of the dislocation planes of the frontal belt at different places and at different times, the most recent one being the coseismic rupturing of the 85 km long Balakot fault consequent to the 2005 Muzaffarabad earthquake.

The Steady State and Evolutionary Seismotectonic Models of the Himalaya show that the subsequent generation thrusts like the MCT, MBT and HFT imbricate along the detachment plane, the zone of inflexion along which has been referred to as the ‘basement thrust front’. These models also suggest that the larger seismic events are located just south of the MCT trace and nucleate at depths of 15-20 km along the detachment surface. The pattern of seismic energy release in the contemporary times indicates that in the Garhwal-Kumaon Seismotectonic Blocks, the major strain release is towards the northern boundary of the Lesser Himalaya whereas it is more towards Lesser Himalaya’s southern boundary in the Kangra and Kashmir Blocks. The deep seated transverse discontinuities of the Himalaya, which could be the primordial structures of the peninsular mass, are important in two ways. Firstly, these form locales of major asperities wherever intersected by discontinuities paralleling the Himalayan trend, including the detachment plane. Secondly, the transverse faults constrain the boundaries of seismogenic blocks and so define their generating capabilities and hazard levels. The seismicity data for the period from 1905 to 2007 in and around the Western Syntaxis shows occurrence of 949 seismic events of magnitude 4 and above. The earthquakes in the Kashmir-Hazara Syntaxis have been attributed to the activity along the detachment plane beneath the surface trace of the MBT. The seismicity of the Kohistan Arc lying on top of the Kohistan/Ladakh plutonic complex has yet to be assigned to any known seismogenic structure. The seismicity around the Nanga Parbat Syntaxis is clustered more in its western part along the active Raikhot fault and Diamer shear zone, whereas in the eastern part it is only of a diffused nature. The Kashmir, Kangra, Garhwal and Kumaon seismotectonic Blocks constitute domains of high seismicity prevailed upon by a compressional stress regime where the activity is mostly concentrated within the Lesser Himalayan crustal slice along the detachment surface. The Spiti-Kaurik Block of Northwest Himalaya is an exception for the reason that it is marked by extensional tectonics.

The destructive seismic events of Northwest Himalaya include the 1803 and 1816 earthquakes of Upper Ganga valley of M6.5-7.0, 1885 Kashmir earthquake of M7.0, 1905 Kangra earthquake of M8.0, 1906 Sundarnagar earthquake of M 7.0, 1916 Dharchula earthquake of M7.5, 1945 Chamba earthquake of M6.5, 1980 Dharchula earthquake of M6.0, 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake of M6.6, 1999 Chamoli earthquake of M6.8 and 2005 Muzaffarabad earthquake of M7.6. In a probabilistic assessment of seismic hazard of Northwest India, peak ground acceleration values for a return period of 475 years were found varying from 0.15g in the Terai region to 0.35g in Kangra and Garhwal Seismotectonic Blocks (GSI-BRGM Report, 1995). The extensional block of Kaurik-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh showed the highest acceleration of 0.38g, whereas in the Kashmir, Kohistan and Peshawar Units, accelerations of 0.24g were computed. The Hindu Kush region gave accelerations of 0.33g. The region of Northwest Himalaya is bestowed with bountiful rain/snowfall that feeds the numerous glaciers and rivers belonging to the Indus and Ganga basins, year after year. Hence, some of the major hydroelectric projects like Mangla, Tarbela, Bhakra, Pong, Ranjit Sagar, Salal, Tehri, Ramganga, etc. have come up in this segment of the Himalaya in the last five decades and many more, such as Pancheshwar (Indo-Nepal border), have been proposed. In the recent times, the construction activity in the Himalaya has increased manifold that has led to a phenomenal rise in the population density, particularly in the adjoining region of Indo-Gangetic plains. A scenario earthquake study carried out by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA, India), during 2012-13 reveals that if a hypothetical earthquake of magnitude 8.0 occurs somewhere around Mandi in Himachal Pradesh at dead of night, the human casualty figures could go as high as 900,000 because of the highly increased vulnerability of the built environment. This goes to show that the entire Northwest Himalaya, like rest of the mountain belt as well as the immediate surrounding regions, constitutes a domain of very high to high seismic hazard and, therefore, merits comprehensive understanding of the tectonic processes operative within the earth’s interior, on the one hand, and adoption of safer ways to live in a seismotectonically unpredictable and surcharged environment, on the other.

Prof. Dr. Lalu Prasad Poudel

Dr. Lalu Paudel is a Professor of Geology and Head of Central Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He completed MSc in Geology from Tribhuvan University and PhD in Geology from Hokkaido University Japan. He is a former JSPS post-doc fellow at the Okayama University of Science, Japan, research fellow at the Tubingen University, 

Germany and visiting professor at University of Paris-VII, France.  He has been teaching petrology, structural geology and Himalayan Geology at Tribhuvan University for 25 years. He is an expert of geological mapping in the Himalayan terrain. He has dozens of scientific publications and books related to the Himalaya in peer-reviewed international and national journals.

Keynote title: Himalayan geological setting and status of engineering geological research and education in Nepal. 

Major intracrustal thrusts divide the Nepal Himalaya into four tectonic zones, i.e., Sub-Himalaya (Siwaliks), Lesser Himalaya, Higher Himalaya and Tethys Himalaya, from south to north, respectively. Each of these zones is geomorphologically distinct and shows contrasting lithostratigraphy and tectonic style.

The Main Frontal Fault (MFT) marks the frontal tectonic boundary of the Himalayan range with the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The Siwaliks comprise about 6 km thick fluvial sedimentary rocks such as interbedded conglomerates, sandstones, and mudstones. They were deposited in the Himalayan foredeep basin between the Middle Miocene and early Pleistocene times. The northern boundary of the Siwaliks is the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT). It is followed in the north by the Lesser Himalayan fold-and-thrust belt comprising Late Precambrian-Early Paleozoic, low- and medium-grade metasedimentary rocks such as slate, phyllite, quartzite, metasandstone, dolomite, marble etc. The northern boundary of the Lesser Himalaya is the Main Central Thrust (MCT). It is followed in the north by the Higher Himalaya which is composed of about 10 km thick pelitic, psammitic and calcareous paragneisses, granitic orthogneisses and migmatites. The Higher Himalaya has overthrust the Lesser Himalaya along the Main Central Thrust (MCT) and form a nappe in the Kathmandu area in several parts of Nepal. The northern boundary of the Higher Himalaya is the South Tibetan Detachment System (STDS). The Tethys Himalaya consists of about 10 km thick Cambrian to Eocene, shelf-sediments deposited on the northern margin of the Indian Continent.

Active thrusts and shear zones with deep alteration and weathering, intense folding and fracturing of rocks, old landslide topography, karst landforms in carbonate terrains, soft and young rocks, lacustrine sediments, swelling clays and silts, steep topography with fragile rocks and sediments, high  altitude mountains with fast-moving and melting glaciers, and glacial lakes dammed with ice and moraines are the major features creating adverse engineering geological condition in the Nepal Himalaya for infrastructure development and environmental management. Because of the above condition Nepal is facing frequent natural disasters like landslide, earthquake, flood and GLOF every year. Engineering projects such as hydropower, roads, bridges, dams, canals, multi-storied buildings etc. are facing problems like slope failure, ground subsidence and settlement, squeezing and caving in tunnels, underground drainages, ravelling ground etc.

Realizing the importance of the engineering geology in Nepal, Tribhuvan University introduced engineering geology subject (100 marks) in the MSc Geology from the beginning of its masters course in 1976. The contents of the engineering geology were gradually increased and it started engineering geology stream (500 marks) in MSc Geology from the year 2000. In view of the need of trained manpower in the field of Engineering Geology in the country, and having its wide range of scope internationally, the M. Sc. Engineering Geology Program has been established in 2014 and first batch of students were enrolled in 2015. The aim of this course is to produce required manpower who can competently work in the field of Engineering Geology and capable of fulfilling the present demand of the industry and academia. Along with the new course of engineering geology, Geodisaster Research Centre has been established at the Central Department of Geology to carry out research on geodisaster in Nepal.

Tribhuvan University also looks for and welcomes international students in MSc Engineering Geology program and collaborative research in the geodisaster. 

Prof. Dr. Tara Nidhi Bhattarai

Prof. Dr. Tara Nidhi Bhattarai is a Former Head of the Department of Geology, Tri-Chandra Campus, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Currently, he is a Coordinator of M. Sc. Engineering Geology Program at the same Department. He is also serving as a member of the Steering Committee - an apex body of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) constituted to handle all the issues related to the Gorkha Earthquake 2015. He has over 25 years of teaching and research experiences.  In addition to publishing books and contributing to book chapters, he has published about 75 articles in technical journals, proceedings, and edited volumes. He has served as a member of the Nepal Government's delegation to UNFCCC conferences and other high level climate change meetings. He undertook several international joint collaborative research initiatives in the field of engineering geology, natural hazard management, solid waste management, intercity transport, climate change and sustainable development. He has carried out engineering geological investigation for several civil engineering projects in Nepal. He also served as the convener of the 8th Nepal Geological Congress “Geosciences in National Development and Disaster Management” held on November 27-29, 2016 in Kathmandu. Dr. Bhattarai obtained his Master's Degree in Geology from Tribhuvan University; a PG Diploma in Engineering Geology from ITC, the Netherlands; and a Ph. D. in Engineering Geology from Kyushu University, Japan.

Keynote title: Engineering Geological Approaches Adopted in Reconstruction and Relocation of the Damaged Settlements in the Aftermath of 2015 Gorkha Earthquake. 

The Mw 7.8 Gorkha Earthquake occurred on 25 April 2015 and its subsequent aftershocks resulted in landslides, rock falls, ground ruptures, and liquefaction which severely damaged hundreds of settlements across the 31 most affected districts of Nepal. Based on rapid geological assessments, and reports from respective district disaster management committees, the Government declared 475 villages as the most vulnerable communities which needed to be shifted to safer sites at the earliest possible. But, as time passed and the subsequent monsoon did not trigger as many landslides as expected and initially feared, people started to return to their own land to reconstruct their homes. Meanwhile, the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) was established on 20 December 2015 to handle all the earthquake reconstruction issues. Soon after its establishment, the NRA issued a public notice advising people not to start any reconstruction