of Earth Science / Northeastern
INTRODUCTION TO GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING
The completed report is due on Tuesday, May 4,
at 7:05 pm. Please bring it to S-130.
project for the semester involves an Illinois Department of
Transportation (IDOT) project site. You will receive a general
description of the work as well as boring logs and other data; your task
is to write a report summarizing geotechnical conditions at the area and
making recommendations to IDOT. A location map and description of
the project will be e-mailed to you.
NOTE: This work is based on a real project, using data and drawings from
a real geotechnical engineering firm. To keep it fair, and to avoid
annoying the professionals who agreed to help us by providing their
data, do not contact anyone at the engineering firm regarding this
project. You may work together with other students to develop your
ideas and work out the problems. However, every student is responsible
for every portion of the project and will hand in her/his own paper
Work on this project
will be done in a step-by-step fashion. Each step will be done
separately, and then all the parts will be compiled for the final
report. For each step, you'll turn in a draft of your work, which I
will review and comment on. Your job then is to revise that portion of
the work according to the comments, and put it together with the other
portions of the work as you compile the final report. The final report
should be polished so that it reads smoothly (not as just a collection
of homework assignments).
A few resources:
USGS Map Locator (online, free, downloadable
* The ISGS online database (ILWATER) lets you locate
well records for a given location. Go to the Earth
Science Department web page, click "Terrific Links!" and
then the link for the ISGS. At their home page,
find ILWATER near the top of the page. Read the
instructions for accessing data, disable your popup
blocker, and then open the ILWATER mapping web
interface. Practice zooming in, zooming out, and
panning. To locate well records, you must be at
the proper zoom level; you'll know it when you get there
because "Water and Related Wells" will appear in the
"Layers" column to the right. When you see this,
you can use the "Select Within" tool to outline an area.
A list of well records will appear at the bottom of the
screen. Click each one to see the record, or use
the "Identify" tool to click on a specific dot.
The website is funky and unstable; if you have trouble,
try again later.
here to see new parts of the assignment as they are
The first step is to conduct a site reconnaissance
to determine site conditions with respect to topography,
physiographic setting, and geology. Locate the
project site on maps (topographic and geologic). Based on these sources
(or any others you may consult), write a description of the site topography
(no more than a half-page), and a general description of the sediment
deposits at the site (between a half page and a page) and
bedrock at the site and in the general area (between a half page and a
page). Click to see
this work will be evaluated. (Assigned in class the week of
March 29, 2009.)
NOTE: See an outline of the paper
below; it will be expanded as we go along. Use a
scientific/technical writing style: an impersonal style
that communicates clearly, completely, concisely, and
without editorializing. Do not use the words "I", "we", "our", or "my". Use
the third person, and while you should avoid passive voice as much as
possible, don't be afraid to use it when you need it.
Analyze the boring log data.
Specifically, address these questions:
* Methods: What drilling
and sampling methods were used?
* Soil Boring Data Analysis
and Results: Write a
sentence or two to present the boring logs as Results.
The logs themselves will go in the Appendices.
Describe the soil and rock encountered in the borings.
Your description should be based on the boring log as
well as the laboratory test results. This portion
of your report should be 1-1.5 pages in length. It
will be followed by another few paragraphs (see Step 5,
Soil Boring Data Analysis and
Results, continued. Construct a cross section that
illustrates the geology of the area. It should be
extensive enough to illustrate whatever the bridge
designers and constructors will need to know to create a
safe structure. Your cross section will go into
the report under "Results". Create a map that illustrates the
line of cross section, (showing where the cross section
extends). Be sure to note on your cross section
the vertical exaggeration.
Step 4. Soil
Boring Data Analysis and Results, continued. Using
the data provided on laboratory results, calculate the
Cc and Cu, as appropriate. Classify the soil
samples according to the USCS. Interpret the
AASHTO, USDA, SPT, Qu, and RQD results for
each sample. Summarize all the soil sample
information in a single table of results. Using
all this data, as well as the boring logs, write a short
paragraph describing each geologic unit illustrated in
your cross section.
Considering everything you have learned about soil and
rock conditions at the site, write a few paragraphs
describing the suitability of the geologic materials at
the site for the proposed structure (bridge and
embankments). This portion of the paper will
probably be no more than 2-3 paragraphs.
Recommendations: Write a short section (no
more than two paragraphs) telling if you have any
specific recommendations as to how the engineers should
proceed as they design the project.
ORGANIZATION OF THE
|* Cover page giving report title,
date, and your name. If you want to make up a name and
logo for your imaginary geotechnical consulting firm,
include that on the first page too.
* Introduction: Start with the heading, "Introduction".
This section will include the
Scope of Work
(a general introduction to the project,
including the purpose, location, and
general conditions under which it was carried out), and
the General Geology.
* Methods and Results: Start with
the heading, "Soil Boring Data Analysis and
Results", and insert the
sections you wrote in Steps 2, 3, and 4, detailed above.
* Discussion and Recommendations:
Start with the heading, "Discussion".
Here, insert the section from Steps 2 and 5 above. Finally, include a short section called
"Recommendations". In this section, tell if you have
any specific recommendations as to how the engineers
should proceed as they design the project.
* References Cited: Start a new page with the heading,
"References Cited". List references cited in
alphabetical order by author's last name, using the same
format that our textbook uses. See
more on citations
* Appendices: This section includes lengthy tables, soil
boring logs, or other lengthy features that would
interrupt the flow of the text if included in the body
of the paper. Start this section with a cover page
that says, "Appendices" (or "Appendix", if there
is only one). The word should be centered
on the page. Assign each appendix a letter
in alpha order: Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.
* Figures: Figures should
be numbered consecutively (1, 2, 3...) All
figures must be referred to in the paper.
[Examples: "Figure 1 shows....", "A
location map appears in Figure 2," "A graph
illustrating soil properties (Figure 3)
* Tables: Tables should be numbered consecutively (1, 2,
3...) All tables must be referred to in the paper.
FORMAT: Text portions of the work must be typed,
double-spaced, with margins of 1.5 inches on the left
and 1 inch on the top, bottom, and right. You may use a
1.5 inch margin at the top of the first page if you
wish. Any equations or numerical calculations may be
typed or written neatly by hand, in ink.
AVOIDING PLAGIARISM: You
MUST CITE THE SOURCE of any information you use that is
not from your own brain. Use the same
citation format that our textbook uses.
Academic integrity: The
NEIU policy on
academic misconduct will be strictly enforced. A
site from Indiana
University explains and gives examples of plagiarism and provides
helpful tips on how to avoid it. Cheating on homework, exams, quizzes, or other
course components will result in a score of zero for that assignment or more
severe penalties, as described in the NEIU policy.
Department of Earth Science | Northeastern
Copyright 2010 by Laura L. Sanders. Last
updated April 26, 2010.