2017 E.B. Burwell, Jr. Award

Presented to:

P.L. Johnson
P.L. Johnson

along with
Shires, P.O., and Sneddon, T.P.


“2016, Geologic and Geotechnical Factors Controlling Incipient Slope Instability at a Gravel Quarry, Livermore Basin, California”

Citation by Mike Hart

The E.B. Burwell Jr. Award is given to authors of a paper that advances knowledge concerning principles of the practice of engineering geology. The paper authored by Phil Johnson, Pat Shires, and Tim Sneddon certainly accomplished that feat. Not only is the paper well written and well organized, it has managed to utilize all the components of engineering geology that go into characterizing and solving a complex geotechnical problem. The paper describes the slow deformation of slopes in a gravel quarry that if allowed to continue unabated, could have resulted in catastrophic landsliding. The authors followed a classic approach to their investigation that included research, site characterization, a well-planned subsurface investigation, analysis, and finally, design of a solution to incipient landslide failure. Their careful investigation and analysis prevented what would have likely evolved into a fully developed landslide affecting a nearby residential development. The paper shows what can be accomplished when all the tools of the engineering geologist and geotechnical engineer are brought to focus in solving a difficult geotechnical problem.

top2017 E.B. Burwell, Jr., Award — Response by P.L. Johnson