CHAPTER THREE
Meeting the Challenges With New Technologies and Tools

The seven areas of national need served by geoengineering and the associated critical issues identified in the 1989 National Research Council report on geotechnology (see Table 2.1) has helped the geoengineering community in the United States to define its research agenda for the last 15 years. The knowledge gaps and new realities discussed in Chapter 2 provide a basis for establishing the research agenda for the geoengineering community at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

In this chapter we present an overview of promising current and emerging technologies in various fields of engineering and science that have the potential to improve significantly the practice of geoengineering in the twenty-first century. Emphasis is placed on the emerging technologies that are focal areas for research expenditures nationwide, including bioengineering, nanotechnology, sensors and sensing, geophysical methods, remote sensing, and information technology and cyber infrastructure. National Science Foundation (NSF) priority areas and fiscal year (FY) budget requests for some of them are given in Table 3.1. Of special interest to geoengineering are Biocomplexity in the Environment, Mathematical Sciences, and Nanoscale Science and Engineering. Each section of the chapter consists of two parts. The first part presents a brief description of the technology designed for readers in the geoengineering research community; a short list of selected references is included to



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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation CHAPTER THREE Meeting the Challenges With New Technologies and Tools The seven areas of national need served by geoengineering and the associated critical issues identified in the 1989 National Research Council report on geotechnology (see Table 2.1) has helped the geoengineering community in the United States to define its research agenda for the last 15 years. The knowledge gaps and new realities discussed in Chapter 2 provide a basis for establishing the research agenda for the geoengineering community at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In this chapter we present an overview of promising current and emerging technologies in various fields of engineering and science that have the potential to improve significantly the practice of geoengineering in the twenty-first century. Emphasis is placed on the emerging technologies that are focal areas for research expenditures nationwide, including bioengineering, nanotechnology, sensors and sensing, geophysical methods, remote sensing, and information technology and cyber infrastructure. National Science Foundation (NSF) priority areas and fiscal year (FY) budget requests for some of them are given in Table 3.1. Of special interest to geoengineering are Biocomplexity in the Environment, Mathematical Sciences, and Nanoscale Science and Engineering. Each section of the chapter consists of two parts. The first part presents a brief description of the technology designed for readers in the geoengineering research community; a short list of selected references is included to

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation TABLE 3.1 NSF Budget Request by Priority Area PRIORITY AREA FY 2005 REQUEST (IN MILLIONS) Biocomplexity in the Environment $100 Human and Social Dynamics $ 23 Mathematical Sciences $ 90 Nanoscale Science and Engineering $305 Workforce for the 21st Century $ 20   SOURCE: http://www.nsf.gov/about/budget/fy2005. provide an entrée to the field for geoengineering researchers. The second part is intended to spark the imagination about the possible application of these technologies. 3.1 BIOTECHNOLOGIES 3.1.1 Background The latter half of the twentieth century witnessed the transformation of biology from a descriptive science to a science that is fully able to describe the structure, mechanisms, and chemistry that control the behavior of living things. This transformation has led to an explosion of new applications in fields as disparate as medicine, agriculture, computing, and Earth processes. Applications to Earth processes in particular may provide exciting new avenues for geoengineering. Initially, abiotic physical and chemical processes dominated the shaping of Earth. These same processes also led to the establishment of self-replicating molecules that started to exploit the residual stored energy in inorganic constituents using existing energy gradients and flux driven by the geoheat gradient and sunlight. From this aseptic beginning, life began to build more complex systems and initiate a radical reshaping of the geochemical and geological environment of Earth. The biologically induced changes are dramatic. For example, life has changed Earth’s

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation surface fundamentally from a highly reducing environment to an oxidized environment. The evolution of photosynthetic organisms beginning approximately 3.5 billion years ago established present-day oxygen concentrations and radically changed physical, geological, chemical, and biological processes on our planet (see Figure 3.1). Increased oxygen affected geologic processes by causing the oxidation of minerals as well as biology by creating conditions favorable for oxygen-breathing organisms. Life even affects the weather and helps to regulate the temperature of Earth. For example, some algae or phytoplankton in the ocean emit dimethyl sulphide that is capable of nucleating raindrops and causing rain. As the sun shines, more phytoplankton grow. These in turn nucleate clouds, which in turn control the temperature (http://www.oceansonline.com/gaiaho.htm). Biological processes affecting Earth work on very small scales and in short time frames. It is the sheer magnitude of the amount of biomass and the cumulative effects of these processes over long time frames that shape Earth. It is estimated that the approximately 350 to 550 × 1015 grams FIGURE 3.1 The biogeological time line. Approximate timing of major events (billion years from present day) in the history of life on Earth. SOURCE: Image courtesy of Dr. Bharat Patel, http://trishul.sci.gu.edu.au/courses/ss13bmm/introduction_MAM.pdf.

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation of carbon are stored in 4 to 6 × 1030 microorganisms, which represent 50 percent of the total amount of carbon stored in living organisms on Earth (Whitman et al., 1998). Assuming an average cell diameter of 1 μm, the surface area of 1030 microorganisms would amount to over 1 × 1013 square kilometers of a one-cell-thick live membrane acting as a biochemical factory. In contrast, Earth’s surface is much smaller, only approximately 1 × 108 square kilometers. Therefore, small-length-scale bioprocesses that work at the micro- to millisecond time frame can affect large areas and operate over millennia. Biomediated geochemical interactions have a significant effect on the composition and properties of soil and rock near Earth’s surface. Microbial life (or any biological activity, for that matter) requires a source of energy (sunlight or chemical reactions), a source of cellular carbon (inorganic or organic compounds), water, and an adequate environment for growth. Microorganisms can have a short reproduction period (10 minutes to an hour). These high-speed generation rates, mutations, and natural selection lead to very fast adaptation and extraordinary biodiversity and rapid propagation. Therefore, microbial activity can be expected everywhere in the near surface. There are from ~ 109 to 1012 microorganisms per kilogram of soil in Earth’s near surface (upper few meters). Bacteria, the most common microorganisms in soils, are 0.5 μm to 3 μm in size, and spores can be as small as 0.2 μm. Thus, microorganisms are in the same size range as fine sand and smaller soil particles as shown in Figure 3.2. Most biological activity occurs in silt-size or coarser particles and rock fractures. Additional information on biological principles and biomediated geochemical processes, their role on the evolution of Earth, and their potential applications is in Chapelle (2001), Ehrlich (1996, 1999), Hattori (1973), and Paul and Clark (1996), among others. 3.1.2 Biology and Geoengineering Given the ubiquitous presence of biological processes in the subsurface, it is surprising that only recently are geoengineers becoming

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation FIGURE 3.2 Comparative sizes of microorganisms and soil particles. SOURCE: Mitchell and Santamarina (2005); used with permission. aware of them and are beginning to study their role in determining and controlling soil properties and behavior and exploiting them in engineering applications. Geoenvironmental engineering applications. Perhaps the greatest progress in practical application of biological processes in geoengineering has been in bioremediation of contaminated ground, and much of this work has been under the purview of environmental engineers. Nonetheless, geoengineers have contributed significantly to these developments through their work on site characterization, developing means for bioaugmentation and biostimulation in the ground, the definition of seepage flows and pathways, the development and implementation of sampling and monitoring programs, and the design and construction of passive reactive barriers. A passive reactive barrier consists of a reactant-filled trench across which a contaminated seepage plume must pass. The reactants in the trench then neutralize the contaminants so that the seepage emerging from the trench no longer poses an environmental risk. Even anthropogenic compounds in soil are broken down by many different microorganisms and plants. Chlorinated aliphatics and aromatics

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation are readily degraded, as are such complex compounds as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) (NRC, 1993). Microorganisms can also remediate contamination due to metals and radionucles (http://www.lbl.gov/NABIR/). The organisms take their energy and carbon from these compounds and grow on them. Bioremediation takes advantage of these microbial processes to transmute or immobilize harmful substances. Still incomplete, however, is detailed understanding of how microbes transform contaminants at the molecular level, the nature of bioavailability of contaminants to microbes, interactions between biological and geochemical behavior, and microbial community dynamics and ecology. Geomechanical applications. Biomediated geomechanical processes can have significant impacts on the geomechanical behavior of Earth materials. Microorganisms can selectively pull or immobilize metals and other inorganic compounds from solution, release enzymes and proteins that change their environment (e.g., charges, cation capacity, and pH of soils), and cause the precipitation of inorganic compounds. Microbial activity can directly or indirectly affect the physical properties of soils on a permanent or a temporary basis. Conceivably, it could even be used for such purposes as producing self-healing infrastructure. Consider, for example, the construction of a conventional, aboveground building with subsurface infrastructure that requires a supported excavation in sand. Traditionally, this construction would normally require the installation of sheet piling or other shoring techniques to prevent infiltration of groundwater, to control movement of soil into the excavation, and to minimize subsidence of other existing and adjacent structures. Imagine instead that six months before construction and excavation a solution of specialized or genetically engineered microorganisms, along with special amendments to sustain the microorganisms, was injected into the sand throughout the depths requiring soil improvement. Assume that these microorganisms then produced a polymer or resulted in the precipitation of inorganic compounds that cemented the soil particles together and made the soil very stiff and possibly even impervious

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation to groundwater flow. A process of this type would also have application for the passive stabilization of loose saturated sands that are susceptible to liquefaction in seismic areas. Or perhaps we could learn to grow foundations with biological processes much like trees grow roots. These foundations might require no disruptive excavation and might well provide the most appropriate support systems in unconsolidated soils. Applications of such stabilization technology might well also apply to tunneling, where biota could be called on to limit water inflows and prevent tunnel collapse. Even further, perhaps biological media would soften rock before it is excavated thus decreasing excavation costs and facilitating the use of the underground. Such techniques could result in faster excavation methods, and a reduction or elimination of excavation support and water control. These are only a few examples of the potential applications offered by a new paradigm of biomediated geochemical processes in geoengineering. Even further, could biotechnology be developed such that a soil and microbial system could behave as a smart material responding to changing conditions such as occur during earthquakes or fires? Biotechnology is already used in resource recovery, with bioleaching being used to extract base metals, such as copper, zinc, and cobalt, and as a pre-treatment process to enhance extraction of gold. Thus, the promise of biotechnology to improve geoengineering and construction is already being realized. It is on a steep slope of advancement, and as new information, understanding, and technology become available new applications can surely follow. In mining, truly revolutionary developments could occur if microorganisms could be used in situ to increase permeability and porosity of hard rock, specifically a sulfide mineral deposit, to enable good solution contact between the mineralized material and the lixiviants used to solubilize the minerals. This development would enable in situ mining of base and precious metals, which would significantly minimize the environmental impacts of mining. As well, microorganisms could be used to create an impermeable cavity underground to contain and control solutions in situ so that metals dissolved in the lixiviant could be

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation collected and to eliminate the possibility of contaminating groundwater in an in situ mining application. 3.2 NANOTECHNOLOGIES 3.2.1 Background Nanotechnology deals with the structure and behavior of materials at a very small scale, typically from less than a micron down to submolecular sizes. Although perhaps never considering themselves nanotechnologists, soil scientists and engineers, with their interest in the study of clay-size particles (< 0.002 mm), are among the earliest workers in the field. Most material types and properties change with scale. For example, soil particles change in composition and shape from predominantly bulky quartz and feldspar to platy mica and clay over the range of particle sizes from sand and gravel down to silt and clay. A central challenge in geoengineering is to understand the changes in properties and behavior in moving from large to small, whereas a central theme in nanotechnology is to take advantage of this transition and attain novel material performance through nanostructuring of new materials. Material properties may be affected or engineered using nanoscale building blocks, controlling their size, size distribution, composition, shape, surface chemistry, and manipulating their assembly. Building nanoscale structures requires a fundamental understanding of nanoscale processes. Sidebar 3.1 highlights events in the development of nanotechnology. Several important effects relative to inter-particle interactions gain relevance at the nanoscale. Nanomaterials possess very high specific surface (ratio of surface area to mass), and chemical activity is specific surface dependent. For example, the specific surface of a 1 nm cube is about 2400 m2/g. The maximum specific surface for bentonite clay (sodium montmorillonite) is about 800 m2/g, and about half of the constituent atoms are exposed at the surface and thus available for chemical interactions. High specific surface means high adsorption capacity and great sensitivity of nano-size particles to specific adsorbed

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation SIDEBAR 3.1 A Brief History of Nanotechnology 1959 Richard Feynman addresses the American Physical Society with “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom: An Invitation to Enter a New Field of Physics.” He recognizes the potential for new, exciting discoveries, the possibility of fabricating new materials and devices at the molecular scale, and identifies the need for new equipment and instrumentation for manipulation and measurement. 1980s Important advances in instrumentation (e.g., scanning tunneling microscopes, atomic force microscopes, near-field microscopes), and in computer capability that can support extensive simulation studies (e.g., molecular dynamics). E. Drexler (1986) in “Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology” coins the term “nanotechnology.” 2000 President Clinton announces a $500 million national nanotechnology initiative to generate breakthroughs in “materials and manufacturing, nanoelectronics, medicine and healthcare, environment, energy, chemicals, biotechnology, agriculture, information technology, and national security.”a 2005 There are more than 30 centers dedicated to nanotechnology research at U.S. universities and industrial laboratories. The annual research and development funding approaches $1 billion (combining National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Heath, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Environmental Protection Agency allocations), with similar investments in Western Europe and in Japan. Atomic force microscopes can reach a sensitivity of sub-attonewton (10−18N) and deploy multiple parallel sensing probes for faster data gathering. Single-electron devices (transistors and memory) have already been demonstrated. Many commercial applications of nanotechnology research affect everyday life. The health risks of nanomaterials remain mostly unknown. a Office of the Press Secretary. National Nanotechnology Initiative: Leading to the Next Industrial Revolution. Press Release, January 21, 2000. Available at: http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/New/html/20000121_4.html. Accessed September 1, 2005.

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation materials. Interactions between nanoparticles are determined by inter-particle electrical forces. The pH and ionic concentration of the aqueous pore fluid alter the surface chemistry through dissolution, protonation, and adsorption. Therefore, pore fluid characteristics affect the self-assembly of nanocomponents and their long-term stability. Nanosystems exhibit phenomena not usually observed in continuous systems. Some salient comparisons between different types of behavior at macro- and nanoscales and how analysis and engineering are done at these two levels are summarized in Table 3.2. Among the challenges to be met in introducing nanotechnology into geoengineering is to be able to upscale the nano-level phenomena and process descriptions to the macroscale behavior, materials, and structures that are the usual end points of the engineer’s efforts. Current research in the nanotechnology field falls into three main areas: Fundamental issues that are concerned with improved dimensional and structural definition, local chemistry control, and surface properties; Assembly, segregation, and aggregation; effective biological synthesis, self-replication, and assembly; and environmental effects and fabrication control. Nanomaterials by design involve bottom-up fabrication, synthesis from solution rather than solid-state fabrication, short manufacturing times, and reproducibility. Application challenges. Among the application areas receiving attention at the present are nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, and magnetics; microspacecraft; bionanodevices for detection and mitigation of health threats; healthcare, therapeutics and diagnostics healthcare; and energy conversion and storage. Additional information on fundamental aspects of nanotechnology and its applications is given in Zhang et al. (2002), Wang et al. (2002), and elsewhere. Articles and keynote lectures by Ken P. Chong are readily found on the Internet and are excellent sources of information on nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation’s vision for its future.

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation TABLE 3.2 Analysis and Engineering at Macro- and Nanoscales   MACROSCALE ENGINEERING IS DONE CONSIDERING THAT NANOSCALE ENGINEERING IS DONE CONSIDERING THAT General properties   Continuum behavior Generalized constitutive models are applicable   Analysis of discrete particle behavior In terms of discrete atomic nature of matter The discrete distribution of charges Quantized energy The failure of continuum theories at this scale Magnetic properties   Magnetic responses reflect the average of individual magnetic fields of a system’s constituents   Magnetic response reflects the electron’s intrinsic spin Quantum tunneling of magnetic moment is observed (nanomagnets) Conduction and transport processes   Flow is continuous according to Darcy’s law, Ohm’s law, Fourier’s law, Fick’s law, Advection-dispersion equation   Mean free path of phonons becomes comparable to the prevailing scale Transport is sporadic and irregular Charge confinement and surface effects produce electronic density states (nanodots) rather than the continuum density state in bulk matter Thermo-dynamic conditions   Temperature and pressure are state parameters   Thermodynamic limits are reached at the nanoscale Brownian motion cannot be disregarded Thermal energy can exceed other excitations Nanodevices are very sensitive to thermal noise Strong coupling effects can develop among all forms of energy (thermal, electrical, optical, magnetic, mechanical, chemical). For example, nanodots exhibit strong optical emission

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation FIGURE 3.8 Evolution of fastest computer performance since 1993 (http://www.top500.org/lists/2004/11/PerformanceDevelopment.php). in Mountain View, California. Both computers recently exceeded the performance of the Earth Simulator supercomputer (35.86 Tflop/s) in Yokohama, Japan, which was the fastest computer between 2002 and 2004. These supercomputers are clusters of thousands of processors (Earth Simulator involves 5,120 processors). Even with this computing power, large-scale problems are still based on crude material models and employ simplified geometry and boundary conditions. Spatially varying material properties and geometries representative of actual in situ conditions would result in problems too large and complex for modern computers. The integration of computer technology and communication networks has made distributed information systems possible. Unlike conventional networks that focus on communications among devices, the Grid harnesses unused processing cycles of all computers in a network for solving problems too intensive for any stand-alone machine. Grid

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation computing is intended to provide extraordinary computational power by dynamically linking high-performance computational resources over wide areas, thus balancing supply and demand. Many large-scale computer simulations now use the Grid (Foster and Kesselman, 1999). In a related initiative NSF has recently launched a middleware project to enable the seamless federation of resources across networks. Middleware software is an evolving layer of services that connects two or more separate applications across the Internet or local area networks. It resides between the network and more traditional applications for managing security, access, and information exchange. The Grid and middleware are examples of current developments of the cyberinfrastructure. The term “cyberinfrastructure” refers to the “system of information and communication technologies together with trained human resources and supporting service organizations that are increasingly required for the creation, dissemination, and preservation of data, information, and knowledge in the digital age” (Atkins et al., 2003). Cyberinfrastructure is an enabler of research. It is recognized that an advanced cyberinfrastructure can be the basis for revolutionizing the conduct of scientific and engineering research and education, and it can have broad impact in many other knowledge-intensive domains. The creation and usage of the cyberinfrastructure requires synergy among the computer science, engineering, and science research communities. Extrapolating in large part from prior NSF investments in cyberinfrastructure (including high-performance computing, networking, middleware, and digital libraries, trends in the information technology industry, and the vision and innovation coming from many research communities), the NSF Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure asserted in 2003 (http://www.cise.nsf.gov/sci/reports/toc.htm) that the capacity of information technology has crossed thresholds that now make possible a comprehensive cyberinfrastructure on which to build new types of scientific and engineering knowledge environments and organizations and to pursue research in new ways and with increased efficacy. Such environments and organizations enabled by cyberinfrastructure are increasingly required to address national and global priorities

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation such as global climate change, protecting our natural environment, applying genomics and proteomics to human health, maintaining national security, mastering the world of nanotechnology, predicting and protecting against natural and human disasters, as well as to address some of our most fundamental intellectual questions, such as the formation of the universe and the fundamental character of matter. For additional information on information technology and cyberinfrastructure, see NRC (1993, 2001b,c). 3.6.2 Information Technology and Geoengineering The importance of information systems and technology to advances in geoengineering cannot be overstated. Geoengineers will need to understand, implement, and benefit from such technology at all scales. For example, it will not just be that geoengineers will need more information about urban systems; urban systems will become characterized at all levels by the development of information systems: smart materials, smart buildings, smart urban geoplatforms, smart infrastructure, and the like. The twenty-first century should see the advent of smart geosystems: geoengineered systems with information structures built into them. These systems will not just talk hierarchically (that is, to geoengineers), but they will also be self-referential: self-defining, self-diagnosing, and self-healing. This is where communications networks have already gone, and where other infrastructure systems are heading. This has implications not only for research and innovation but also for geoengineering curricula and professional practice. The profession must address not just geosensing and monitoring, but also the evolution of information-rich, self-referential geosystems. The explosion in information technology offers the potential for added value from existing hardware and software systems as well as for development of new hardware and software. Many (perhaps most) existing monitoring and sensing systems are easily integrated into an information-rich smart system context. There are more than 1,600 catalogued computer programs specifically written to solve geoengineering

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation problems in soil mechanics, rock mechanics, engineering geology, foundation engineering, hydrogeology, geoenvironmental engineering, and environmental engineering. Some of these programs are capable of solving very complex nonlinear problems, time-dependent dynamic phenomena, including combined mechanical-chemical-thermal-biological processes and complex construction sequences (tunnels, foundations, excavations). State-of-the-art examples of computational geoengineering are illustrated in Figure 3.9 for multiphase flow (oil, water, and gas) and pollutant dispersion followed by biochemical reactions. The figure also illustrates the power of result visualization when interpreting the results of large, complex simulations. Advances in computational geoengineering have benefited from multidisciplinary collaborations. For example, the Seismic Performance for Urban Regions (SPUR) project is designed to simulate the effects of earthquakes on urban regions, and is the collective result of structural engineers, computer scientists, and seismologists (ERC, 2005). Based on a distributed simulation framework and on advanced computational and FIGURE 3.9 Computer simulations. (a) Oil production: 3-D maps of an oil reservoir and the flow of oil, water, and gas through a complex porous medium. (b) Remediation: dispersion of pollutants in porous substrata where biochemical reactions are followed. Various species concentrations are shown using different colors. SOURCE: Oden et al. (2003). Reprinted with permission from Elsevier.

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation visualization methods, SPUR permits forecasting and visualizing the extent and distribution of damage to buildings, bridges, and lifelines caused by earthquakes of different magnitudes and depths (see Figure 3.10). Geoengineers work extensively with spatial data. Databases that have the capability to code, store, manipulate, and display spatial data are herein grouped under geographic information systems (GIS). These systems gain critical importance in facilitating the identification of patterns and trends, in extracting information from massive datasets, and through valuable analysis and management tools, which include two- and three-dimensional displays and extensive imbedded modeling capabilities FIGURE 3.10 Seismic Performance for Urban Regions (SPUR) simulation of regional effects after a large earthquake. (a) This image shows the intensity of earthquake shaking that originates from a fault rupture at depth. SOURCE: Java-based Web interface for earthquake ground motion simulation. Web interface: Tomasz Haupt, Engineering Research Center, Mississippi State University. Visualization: Joerg Meyer, University of California at Irvine; used with permission. (b) Images represent buildings (tall rectangles) that respond to the earthquake ground motion propagating across the city. SOURCE: Ground motion and structural response simulation in a 3-D virtual environment. Prashant Chopra and Joerg Meyer, University of California at Irvine; used with permission. Available at http://imaging.eng.uci/~jmeyer/SPUR/.

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation (e.g., statistical, logical, mechanical). GIS technology not only supports the geoengineer but also facilitates communication between researchers, practitioners, and the public. Current developments are oriented toward fully exploiting the capabilities of GIS with new sensor technology to allow us to capture and manipulate three-dimensional time-varying data. The integration of sensor technology in geophysical measurements discussed above with visualization tools and data management that can be scaled to the types of problems encountered in the broader field of geoengineering provides an example of the role of information technology. Imagine the application of hybrid systems that will extensively combine dense sensor arrays with computer models to drastically increase the availability of data and decrease uncertainty in geoengineering applications, and allow the rational consideration of all available subsurface data in real-time decision making. While current GIS technology may be employed for developing smart sensor networks for data management, to take full advantage of their database capability current two- and three-dimensional databases must evolve into true geologic data models in which data is stored and interpreted in a geologic context and with multidimensional modeling and interpretation capabilities integrated into the data management, manipulation, and display schemes. In the future, geoengineering researchers and practitioners will be able to implement complex computer models and examine multiscale and multiphysics phenomena, examine the complete range of physical phenomena at all applicable spatial and temporal scales, integrate computational models with large datasets originating from dense sensor arrays and satellite remote sensing, and examine uncertainties of computer simulations through realistic modeling. They will be able to conduct these analyses and control laboratory and field testing remotely, in cooperation with other colleagues in interdisciplinary teams pulling together human, technological, and computational capabilities in the cyberinfrastructure. Information technology will enable geoengineers to mine and analyze the voluminous information produced by field and airborne sensors. Using advanced computer networks, geoengineers will query and scrutinize gigabytes of information. They will construct

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation efficiently realistic computer models of geoengineered structures that include detailed information on geometries and material properties. They will have a large digital library of in-depth case histories to train students in geoengineering. They will have the opportunities to make more educated real-time decisions based on the realistic computer simulations and rapid exchanges of information. 3.7 THE POTENTIAL OF THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR ADVANCING GEOENGINEERING A comprehensive and complete understanding of soils and rocks and the development of effective, efficient, and economical new solutions to problems in geoengineering must consider not only mechanical interactions but also interactions with all forms of energy: mechanical, thermal, chemical, and electrical. New ways of obtaining and processing information about soils and rocks have the potential to revolutionize our engineering capabilities. Some of the ways that the new technologies we have discussed in this chapter may make this happen are summarized in Table 3.5. Application of all these new technologies and the need to incorporate more electronics, biology, chemistry, material science, and information technology into geoengineering has major implications for education as well as practice, and these issues are discussed in Chapter 5. The committee sees tremendous opportunities for advancing geoengineering through interaction with other disciplines, especially in the areas of biotechnology, nanotechnology, MEMS and microsensors, geosensing, information technology, cyberinfrastructure, and multispatial and multitemporal geographical data modeling, analysis, and visualization. Pilot projects with vertical integration of research of multiple disciplines—perhaps including industry, multiple government agencies, and multiple universities—should be explored as alternatives to more traditional interdisciplinary proposals. The importance of the human factors discussed earlier in this chapter should not be neglected in the application of advanced technology, whether it be advanced sensors, geophysical exploration, remote sensing,

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation TABLE 3.5 The Potential of New Technologies to Advance Knowledge and Practice in Geotechnology DISCIPLINE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON GEOTECHNOLOGY TIMING REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE FOR GEOENGINEERS Biotechnology High improved understanding of Earth material behavior new construction materials applications for in situ ground remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater will increase passive methods for ground stabilization may be possible better resource recovery methods may develop Mature concepts permit high impact in the short-term.   biology geochemistry Nanotechnology Medium to Low nanotechnology is a recognized part of soil technology enhanced understanding based on more study of reactions at the nanoscale new materials and methods solutions looking for problems at this stage? Field in early stages of development. Its full impact in geotechnology should be expected in the long term.   physics chemistry Sensors and sensing systems Medium to High Depending on whether the promise of MEMS is met, MEMS developers should be connected to geotechnical problem solvers (see Chapter 5). will require geoengineers to increase their knowledge of electronics proper integration can revolutionize laboratory measurement through noninvasive sensing can make geophysical methods cheaper and more pervasive integration of development work by other industries essential Revolutionary developments in progress. Sensors already available and systems can have high impact in the short term.   electronics signal processing inversion math

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation DISCIPLINE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON GEOTECHNOLOGY TIMING REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE FOR GEOENGINEERS Geophysical methods High will require increasing the benefit-cost ratio noninvasive methods need more development new data acquisition and processing methods enhance applicability tomographic methods allow 3-D characterization Revolutionary and mature tools available. Further emphasis on high-resolution near-surface characterization will have renewed impact in the mid-term.   electronics signal processing inversion math Remote sensing High ongoing, fruitful area for research and development ground-truthing observations remain a research issue research could address the potential for real-time decision making A new family of unprecedented tools will have significant impact in the short term.   signal processing data management computer science Information technology High ongoing developments provides a mechanism for collaboration requires synergy among the computer science, engineering, and science research communities for fruition aspire to 4-D GIS for real-time decision making development of self-referential smart geosystems with built-in information structures Its critical role in sensing systems, geophysics, and remote sensing will determine their impact in the short term. Smart infrastructure systems are already on the drawing board and under development. Existing geosensing and monitoring devices are available and ready for integration with these systems.   data management computer science

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Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation information technology, or some other technological advancement. Such issues as procurement, calibration, validation, data collection, and data interpretation remain vital to successful implementation of new tools and technologies. We conclude that many of the most important tools for achieving major advances in geoengineering are likely to come from forward-looking, creative, and inspired individuals working alone or with one or two colleagues in related disciplines. We urge, therefore, that NSF increase its investments in this type of research, including especially the support of a greater proportion of projects that may be classified as high risk but high reward.

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