Keynote Speakers

R.M. Hardy Keynote Address – Dr. Jean-Marie Konrad

Design and Analysis of Rockfill Dams: Past, Present and Future

The 2015 R.M. Hardy lecture reviews the evolution of the design practice at Hydro-Quebec for four generations of rockfill dams.  Innovative research to advance the practice is presented with particular emphasis on scale effect and particle breakage, internal erosion and contact erosion.  Future developments with respect to seismic design are outlined with an emphasis on permanent deformation prediction and in situ testing in rockfill to obtain representative material parameters.  Finally, analysis of rockfill dams considering evolving material properties is discussed.
     Dr. Konrad is a registered civil engineer with a Master’s degree from Université Laval and a Doctorate degree from the University of Alberta where he contributed to the development of frost heave mechanics.  He worked in the private sector as a geotechnical engineer for Lavalin and James-Bay hydro electric Corporation, at the National Research Council with respect to the geotechnical aspects of the artificial drilling islands in the Beaufort Sea, development of interpretation techniques of in situ testing data in weak soils and academia at the University of Waterloo (Ontario) and Université Laval (Québec).  From 1998 to 2008, he was the Chairholder of an NSERC industrial research chair on frost action in civil engineering structures.  Presently he is professor of civil engineering at Université Laval, Quebec and also the Chairholder of an NSERC industrial research chair on the optimisation of the life-cycle of earthdams.  Dr. Konrad is the author or co-author of over 150 technical papers.  For the last twelve years, he was also a consultant for various projects related to artificial freezing, permafrost engineering, dam construction and safety assessment.  Dr. Konrad is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada.
John Ross Mackay Lecture – Dr. Steven V. Kokelj

Retrogressive Thaw Slumps: from Slope Process to the Landscape Sensitivity of Northwestern Canada

Retrogressive thaw slumping is a dynamic thermokarst process and an important driver of change in ice-cored, glaciogenic landscapes across the circumpolar North. In this talk, dedicated to the memory of John Ross Mackay, research on the processes and feedbacks that influence the growth of retrogressive thaw slumps is summarized with focus on studies from the Peel Plateau, northwestern Canada. Landsat imagery (1985 to 2011) and high frequency climatic and photographic time-series for the summers of 2010 and 2012 indicate that an increase in rainfall has accelerated downslope sediment flux from slump scar zones, perpetuating slump activity and intensifying this disturbance regime. Environmental impacts are significant: these mega slumps now commonly exceed 15 ha in area, displace up to 106 m3 of materials from slopes to valley bottoms, reconfigure slopes and drainage networks, and significantly increase stream sediment and solute loads.

Remote sensing of slump-impacted terrain across a 1, 275, 000 km2 area of northwestern Canada has revealed a close association with ice-rich hummocky moraine landscapes, which were deposited at the margins of the former Laurentide Ice Sheet. In conjunction with process-oriented thaw slump studies, this mapping provides a quantitative basis and a geomorphic context for evaluating the distribution of ice-cored permafrost and the potential for climate-driven landscape change across northwestern Canada.
  Dr. Steve Kokelj, is a Permafrost Scientist with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, and in the School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria. His research interests include the study of ground ice and chemical characteristics of permafrost, thermokarst processes, and the landscape, ecosystem and human consequences of a changing cryosphere. He has lead several multidisciplinary research projects involving collaboration between scientists, engineers and northerners.  He has authored numerous scientific papers on this research and has been recognized for his communication of results to northern communities, regulators, and the scientific community.
Keynote – Dr. Lukas U. Arenson

Cold Regions Engineering in a Changing Climate
Considering climate change is an integral part of any infrastructure design that has an extended design life and of particular importance with respect to perpetual designs. Various technical guidelines indicate that global warming should be addressed in the design but often details on how to do this are missing. Also, climate projection models have seen significant improvement over recent years, but the biggest challenge in terms of designing for climate change are not changes in air temperature, but second and third order effects, together with changes in climate extremes. Non-linear changes in precipitation, adjustments in vegetation and/or related geohazards are of relevance rather than average changes in air temperature alone, which are typically the products with the lowest uncertainties available from climate projection models. The keynote presentation provides an overview of these challenges, a summary of latest climate change modeling products and introduces the use of a systematic, risk based approach for cold regions designs considering climate change.
  Dr. Arenson is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer with BGC Engineering Inc. and specific expertise in frozen soil mechanics, periglacial risk assessments and geothermal modelling. He has worked on infrastructure and mining projects in Arctic and mountain permafrost, and on the stability of frozen slopes in the European Alps and the South American Andes. Additional work has concentrated on the thermo-mechanical processes of frozen and freezing soils at a microstructural level to better understand the hydraulic, strength and deformation properties of frozen soils with changing stress, temperature and salinity. He developed a probabilistic permafrost distribution model for mountainous terrain, extensively used in South America. He has taught permafrost engineering courses at universities and for industry, and published over 60 scientific publications on topics related to cold regions engineering. He was chair of the Cold Regions Engineering Division of the Canadian Geotechnical Society, and is currently co-chair of the Permafrost Engineering Task Force of the International Permafrost Association and an Adjunct Professor at the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Manitoba. He was the recipient of the Troy L. Péwé award in 2003 and was awarded the Roger J. E. Brown Memorial Award from the Canadian Geotechnical Society in 2010 for his contributions to permafrost engineering research and to the cold regions engineering division.
Keynote – Dr. Jean Hutchinson

Applications of Remote Sensing Techniques to Managing Rock Slope Instability Risk
The recent development of rapid, accurate and sophisticated remote sensing tools has provided valuable rock slope change data, previously impossible to obtain. The analysis techniques discussed in this paper utilize detailed and precise models of three-dimensional geometry developed from photographs and LiDAR point clouds. Models of the rock slope from data collected at similar times can be combined, taking advantage of data at different resolutions and collected from different vantage points and platforms. Such models can be used for remote mapping of discontinuities and lithology, as well demonstrated by others. The added value for slope stability management discussed in this conference is realized when geometrical models from different times are compared. Depending upon the frequency of measurements and the rate of change of the rock slope, prior to slope failure it is possible to hypothesize the slope failure mode, the potential volume of the impending failure and in some cases, to provide an accurate estimate of the time of failure. In back analysis, it is possible to determine the distribution of the source zone(s), to assess the path of movement, and to calculate the volume of the source volume and accumulated debris. The case histories demonstrate our enhanced ability to detect and manage the risk of rock slope failure.
  Dr. Jean Hutchinson is a Professor and Department Head for Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering at Queen’s University. Jean holds degrees in GeoEngineering from the University of Toronto in 1984; Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Alberta in 1988, and Rock Engineering from the University of Toronto in 1992. Dr. Hutchinson has worked in industry (Ministry of Transportation Ontario, Klohn Crippen Consultants Ltd.), research (University of Alberta, University of Toronto, Laurentian University and CSIRO) and academic (University of Waterloo, Queen’s University) positions during her career. Dr. Hutchinson’s research areas include work on engineering geology risk assessment, natural hazards and landslides, mining induced ground subsidence, underground rock support design, insitu and remote sensing techniques for assessing ground conditions, and engineering education. Dr. Hutchinson is currently serving as a Trustee on the Board of the Canadian Foundation for Geotechnique, and as Chair of the Trailblazer Award Selection Committee for Women in Mining Canada. She is a proud Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, and is delighted to have received the Thomas Roy, John Franklin and Stermac Awards from the CGS.
Keynote – Dr. Guy Doré

Adaptation of Transportation Infrastructure in Northern Quebec and Canada: Problem Assessment and Development of Solutions
Transportation infrastructure is essential for social and economic development of Northern regions. Permafrost degradation caused by poorly adapted design and construction practices and by climate change is now threatening the structural and functional capacities of roads and airstrips. The presentation will describe a research program conducted over the last 15 years with the support of several industrial partners. The goal of the program is to improve our capacity to build and maintain transportation infrastructure on sensitive permafrost. The objectives are (1) to improve knowledge on factors causing permafrost degradation around airport and road embankments, (2) to assess the vulnerability of airstrips and roads in Northern Canada, (3) to propose adaptation strategies for vulnerable facility, and (4) to develop performing stabilization techniques and document their cost effectiveness. The program involves documenting the problems affecting transportation infrastructure and the development of solutions through rigorous modelling and experimentation, and finally, the implementation of the solutions through pilot projects conducted with the cooperation of transportation agencies.
  Dr. Guy Doré has graduated in geological engineering at Laval University in 1980.  He has later completed a master degree (M.Sc.) in engineering geology and a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree in civil engineering at Laval University. Between 1981 and 1997, he has occupied different responsibilities with the Québec Ministry of Transportation. Since summer of 1997, Dr. Doré is professor in pavement engineering at the civil engineering department of Laval University.  He is teaching several road pavement courses and he is very active in research on pavement response and performance in cold climates as well as on permafrost engineering. Amongst other publications, he co-authored the books “Cold regions pavement engineering” published by ASCE press and McGraw Hill, and “Guidelines for development and management of transportation infrastructure in permafrost regions” published by the transportation association of Canada. He currently holds the NSERC industrial research chair on the interaction between trucks, climate and pavements and he manages the “ARQULUK” research program on permafrost engineering applied to transportation infrastructure.
Colloquium – Dr. Greg Siemens, P. Eng

Unsaturated Soil Mechanics: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice
Most geo-engineering applications occur within the unsaturated zone or include an unsaturated component. For example all compacted construction materials are unsaturated following placement. In nature, the unsaturated zone (also known as the vadose zone) is the near-surface ground area, which is the linkage between weather systems above and the saturated groundwater system below. Unsaturated soil mechanics describes the principles of soil behaviour for the conditions ranging from completely dry (Sr=0) to saturated (Sr=1,0). Canada has a long and productive legacy of unsaturated soils research focusing on advancing the theory and practical use of unsaturated soil mechanics. The Canadian Geotechnical Journal is widely recognized for its repository of unsaturated soils publications in theoretical, laboratory, and case studies from Canadian and international authors. New advancements in laboratory testing, constitutive modeling, and field studies have provided breakthroughs in fundamental understanding and provide for the practical use of unsaturated soil principles in some cases. However, use of unsaturated soil mechanics in practice continues to lag significantly behind the state-of-the-art. In design, unsaturated effects are often viewed as providing additional safety factor rather than an opportunity for greater efficiency. For example, design of a shallow foundation will often consider the saturated friction angle of a granular material and ignore the depth of the foundation relative to the water table. This colloquium will examine the principles of unsaturated soil mechanics principles through illustrative examples. The illustrations will provide motivation for examining the tension between research and practical use of unsaturated soil mechanics. The ‘lessons learned’ from the cases are beneficial to the geo-engineering community and to generate new interest and wider use of unsaturated soil principles.
  Dr. Greg Siemens trained at the University of Manitoba receiving a BSc in Civil Engineering in 2003 and a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering in 2006. He then took up a tenure-track position in the Civil Engineering Department at the Royal Military College of Canada and was appointed Research Director in the GeoEngineering Centre at Queen’s-RMC. He is cross-appointed to the Civil Engineering Departments at Queen’s University, University of Manitoba and University of British Columbia – Okanagan. In 2010 Dr. Siemens was promoted to Associate Professor. Dr. Siemens expertise is in unsaturated soil mechanics with focus on swelling soils, deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel, near-surface groundwater hydrology and geosynthetics. Since arriving at RMC he has attracted over $1.5M in research funds from industrial sponsors, NSERC and the Department of National Defence.  Dr. Siemens has over 80 publications including journal papers, conference papers and technical reports. He has received recognition for publications in Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Geosynthetics International and Geotextiles & Geomembranes. Dr. Siemens is also active in local, national and international committees including the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS), and American Society for Civil Engineering (ASCE).  He is a member of the Professional Engineers Ontario, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba, Canadian Geotechnical Society, International Geosynthetics Society, Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers and North American Geosynthetics Society.