Geotechnical Field Research Site

The Geotechnical Engineering Field Research Site at Oregon State University provides researchers, engineering practitioners, and contractors with a well-characterized site for state-of-the-art research and product testing. The site was established in 1997 with the first round of extensive geotechnical and geophysical investigations. Since that time the data base of geotechnical and geophysical information at the site has been significantly expanded with results from the following tests:

Two people with construction attire working together in a construction site.
The field site provides students
with first-hand experience with
geotechnical drilling and sampling methods
  • Standard geotechnical drilling, sampling and laboratory testing of soils.
  • In situ testing including Standard Penetration Tests, Seismic Cone Penetration Tests, Dilatometer Tests, and Pressuremeter Tests.
  • Geophysical testing including Downhole SH-Wave Velocity, Seismic Refraction (P and SH wave methods), Spectral Analysis of Surface Waves method, and Reflection Microtremor method.

The site is flat, open and free of overhead obstructions. The working area available for field testing or fabrication of full-scale models is approximately 500 ft. by 300 ft. The site has easy access for testing and construction equipment, adjacent city water supply, and nearby power and computer access. The soils are predominantly overconsolidated fine-grain materials with a depth to bedrock of 90 to 100 feet. The groundwater table fluctuates between depths of 4 and 7 feet below surface grade.

Several significant field investigations have been performed at the site. Representative examples include:

  • Construction and quality assurance testing of drilled shaft foundations (five 3 ft. diameter, 42 ft. long).
  • Performance of geosynthetic reinforced, unpaved roadways.
  • Comparison of geophysical methods for measuring the shear wave velocity of soils.
  • Development of correlations between in situ test data and laboratory data for silt-rich soils prevalent in the Willamette Valley-Portland region.

Additional collaborative investigations involving full-scale testing of Mechanical Stabilize Earth walls, the performance of embankments on improved soil, axial and lateral capacities of pile foundations with pile caps, and the load-deformation behavior of spread footings have been proposed at the research site.

Practicing engineers and geophysicists, specialty contractors, and researchers are invited to conduct experiments at this site. For additional information please contact Prof. Armin Stuedlein.

The wealth of data that now exists for the soils at the Geotechnical Engineering Field Research site has been made possible by the valuable contributions of time, direct funding, and in-kind support of many individuals and organizations. The Geotechnical Engineering Group at OSU is extremely grateful to the following:

  • Subsurface Technologies, Inc., Banks, Oregon.
  • Geo-Tech Explorations, Inc., Tualatin, Oregon.
  • Dr. Wesley Spang, GeoCon Northwest, Beaverton, Oregon
  • Mr. Bryan Wavra, GeoCon Northwest, Beaverton, Oregon.
  • Dr. Roland French, Northwest Geophysical Associates, Corvallis, Oregon.
  • Mr. Andrew Siemens, Siemens & Associates, Bend, Oregon.
  • Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland, Oregon.
  • International Association of Foundation Drillers, West Coast Chapter firms.

Special acknowledgement is provided for current and past students in the "In Situ and Laboratory Testing of Soils" class. Their collective hard work and commitment to the Geotechnical Engineering Field Research Site has made this facility a valuable asset to the geo-profession.