Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lasers, Software And The Devil's Slide

Date:
July 4, 2008
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Running for more than 1,000 kilometers along picturesque coastline, California's Highway 1 is easy prey for many of the natural hazards plaguing the region, including landslides.

Close-up image of the tunnel roof showing a gVT measurement location. The arrow is a vector perpendicular to a surface that marks a discontinuity between rock layers. The orientation of the arrow in space gives the azimuth and slope of the surface.
Credit: Jeramy Decker, Kiewit Corp

Running for more than 1,000 kilometers along picturesque coastline, California's Highway 1 is easy prey for many of the natural hazards plaguing the region, including landslides.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is currently building a kilometer-long tunnel to bypass one of the most landslide-prone stretches of the highway, the Devil's Slide, to help ensure drivers' safe passage.

Using a new software package developed by researchers at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., project engineers are getting a detailed 3-D view of the rock exposed in the excavation, adding a new tool for improving both safety and construction progress.

Developed as part of a National Science Foundation Information Technology Research Initiative (ITR) project, the software, called "geotechnical Visualization Tool" (gVT), converts imagery of millions of rock-surface points--collected at a safe distance by a laser scanner--into an easily manipulated web of information. The data become a permanent digital record of the newly exposed material.

The scan data, at a resolution of 5 millimeters, provides information that the software program packages into enormous visualizations incorporating up to 10 meters of excavated tunnel. Engineers then use gVT to spot potential hazards to both the tunnel and the construction crews before weaknesses in the rock have a chance to trigger a collapse.

The information is so detailed that researchers can observe where rock layers are separating andhow fractures are oriented. Researchers caneven recreate sections of rock after they have fallen, providing a critical asset for determining where and how to safely drill. Because the data is portable, engineers can conduct all of the analyses from their home base at any time, far from the danger of the tunnel.

"Geologic maps have traditionally been made using manual measurements taken by geologists directly on the rock," said Joseph Dove, the lead developer of gVT at Virginia Tech and co-PI on the ITR project. "Laser scanning is revolutionary for underground mapping because it allows direct collection of digital data in three dimensions at high resolution."

After a careful analysis of the scanned data, the engineers can take manual follow-up measurements to confirm their results.

"These 3-D visualizations enhance geological documentation and an engineer's ability to make decisions," added Jeramy Decker, a Ph.D. graduate of Virginia Tech and co-developer of gVT, now at Kiewitt Pacific Company, the construction contractor excavating the tunnels.

In use as part of a suite of private industry engineering tools and software critical to the tunneling beneath Devil's Slide, gVT is the product of a two-year collaboration between civil engineers and computer scientists. The Devil's Slide application is the first use of gVT in a true construction environment.

Decker presented the new technique in a talk at the 42nd U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium in San Francisco on June 29th.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Lasers, Software And The Devil's Slide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630130116.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2008, July 4). Lasers, Software And The Devil's Slide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630130116.htm
National Science Foundation. "Lasers, Software And The Devil's Slide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630130116.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Hurricane Gonzalo pounded Bermuda with wind and heavy surf on Friday, bearing down on the tiny British territory as a powerful Category 3 storm that could raise coastal seas as much as 10 feet. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Powerful hurricane could hit Bermuda this weekend, and even if it misses it will likely do some damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) One of the largest volcanic eruptions in centuries is occurring on Iceland. The volcano Bardarbunga is producing high levels of sulfur dioxide. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins