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Teaching information and download centre

Computational methods in engineering geology


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BOKU 872.006 UE2 SS2017 2016 [In German]

Martin Mergili and Christian Zangerl

In engineering geology, computer models are often employed to analyze or to predict the stability of a given slope, or the propagation of landslide processes. Computer models may assist in assessing the current state and in anticipating the occurrence and characteristics of possible future processes. Model results may represent a basis for risk management. This course introduces to the key aspects of computer modelling in engineering geology, with a strong focus on landslide processes.

The course largely follows a concept of learning by doing. After a general introduction, the various aspects of modelling are elaborated by introducing step-by-step solutions of selected real-world examples. Even though the course is coupled to specific software, it introduces general skills which can be applied with various tools. It also attempts to convey a feeling for which methods are appropriate for which types of tasks. At the end of the course the participants will

  • know some relevant software packages for modelling of mass movements and their scope of application;
  • be able to apply computer models in an independent and responsible way;
  • know about the possibilities to develop their own model applications;
  • be able to design simple model applications by themselves;
  • be able to critically evaluate model results.

Some basic geotechnical knowledge and computational skills are expected from the participants.

Further information on the course in BOKU Online
Course programme in German [2017SS UE Computeranwendungen Ingenieurgeologie Programm.pdf]

Lesson
Date and time
Lecturer
Teaching method
Content
Presentations and tasks
Data
Tools
Scripts
01
Monday
06 March 2017
16:00-20:00
Martin Mergili
Presentation
Discussion
Guided training

Systems and models

Computer modelling has become an extensive field with a variety of aspects. In the first lesson you will
  • get introduced to some fundamental concepts with regard to systems and models
  • learn about chaos, uncertainties, and the importance of model validation
  • write your very first modelling tool by yourself
02
Monday
13 March 2017
16:00-20:00
Martin Mergili
Presentation
Discussion
Guided training

GIS-supported landslide release modelling

The stability of slopes - i.e. their susceptibility to the release of landslides - is essential for engineering as well as for spatial planning. Depending on the purpose and the scale of interest, various methods have been developed to spatially analyze landslide susceptibility. In this lesson wou will
  • learn about possible methods to analyze landslide susceptibility
  • extend the modelling tool you have developed in the first lesson
  • enrich your tool with functionalities for the treatment of uncertainties as well as automatic validation and visualization
03
Monday
20 March 2017
16:00-20:00
Martin Mergili
Presentation
Discussion
Guided training

GIS-supported mass flow modelling

The hazards and risks related to rapid landslides such as debris flows or rock avalanches strongly depend on their velocity, energy, travel distance, and impact area. Spatial modelling techniques are employed to reconstruct observed events or, more importantly, to anticipate the propagation of possible future events. In this lesson you will
  • learn about strategies for modelling the propagation of mass flows
  • get introduced to the open source model applications r.randomwalk and r.avaflow
  • perform basic modelling tasks with these software tools
  • learn how to conveniently automatize modelling work flows
The training requires an installation of Ubuntu 16.04LTS (access to virtual machines is provided to the participants). The training data, tools, and scripts can be obtained directly from the application web sites or are provided at the beginning of the lesson.
04
Monday
27 March 2017
16:00-20:00
Martin Mergili
Independent work by the participants

Mid-term exercise

The mid-term exercise consists of a modelling task and some theoretical questions on the content of the presentations. The outcome of this exercise will contribute 65 per cent to the final mark.
05
06
Wednesday
3 May 2017
08:00-12:00
13:00-17:00
Christian Zangerl
Presentation
Discussion
Guided training

Numerical simulation of jointed rock masses

You will get introduced to the distinct element method for deformation analysis of jointed rock masses. The software UDEC by Ithasca will be employed for the training of the methods learned. All materials needed will be distributed at the start of the lesson. The final exercise is designed as homework which has to be submitted to christian.j.zangerl@boku.ac.at until 17 May 2017, 24:00 CEST. All further details are provided during the lesson. The final exercise will contribute 35 per cent to the final mark.