Excellent return to in person conferences at GeoNiagara 2021

Congratulations and thank you to the Canadian Geotechnical Society and the GeoNiagara 2021 Local Organizing Committee for hosting a fabulous conference in September 2021!

Three professors and eight graduate students attended the event, which was our first return to in person conferences since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We very much enjoyed sharing some of our research, seeing many colleagues and meeting new ones, experiencing Niagara Falls and the Power Plant, and competing in GEOpardy!

Our students delivered an excellent and diverse set of technical presentations, as follows:

  • Timothy Packulak (PhD candidate): “Comparison of corrected joint normal and shear stiffness between crystalline and carbonate rock joints
  • Evan Dressel (MASc candidate): “Guidelines for estimating residual GSI and the effects of Hoek-Brown dilation on continuum 3D pillar behaviour
  • Caitlin Fischer (MASc candidate): “The use of explicit numerical models for the prediction of residual rockmass behaviour around a circular tunnel
  • Amanda Hyslop (MASc candidate): “Structural and geomechanical analysis of the 2016 Elephant Rock failure, Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park, NB
  • Nicholas MacDonald (MASc candidate): “A critical review of laboratory multi-stage direct shear testing for rock fractures
  • Simone Markus (PhD candidate): “A review of excavation induced coupled consolidation analysis in jointed rock
  • Mark McDonald (MASc candidate): “Interpreting elastic properties of rock core from ultrasonic pulse velocity measurements

In addition, Emelie Gagnon (MASc candidate) received 1st Prize for the 2021 Undergraduate Student Group Project Award, along with her teammates Allison Brannigan, Rachel Burns, and Renee McAnerney on their undergraduate capstone engineering design project titled “Pit stabilization for in-pit tailings storage“.

Caitlin Fischer and Mark McDonald also accepted their 1st Prize certificates for winning the 2020 Undergraduate Student Group Project Award, along with their teammate Emily Miszk, on their undergraduate capstone project titled “Intermontane Mining Ltd. open pit mine wall pushback design“. The award presented was deferred from the remote 2020 GeoVirtual Conference to this in person event.

Prof. Mark Diederichs delivered an excellent R.M. Hardy Keynote Address to kick off the conference, titled “Underground construction in complex rock environments: Promises and pitfalls of observational design“.

As the new Chair of the Rock Mechanics Division (RMD), Prof. Jennifer Day presented a series of new special projects with other members of the RMD Executive Committee at the Division’s Annual General Meeting.

Prof. Jean Hutchinson successfully nominated and presented the CGS Legget Award, the highest lifetime achievement award, to colleague Doug Van Dine.

Evan Dressel, Caitlin Fischer, Emelie Gagnon, Nicholas MacDonald, and Mark McDonald also demonstrated their keen geotechnical knowledge and won 2nd Prize in the student GEOpardy competition!