Marshall University to sponsor regional forum on geohazards and transportation

Thursday, March 20,  2014

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Engineers, geologists, transportation planners and consultants from across the region will meet Aug. 5-7 at the Clarion Hotel in Lexington, Ky., for the 14th annual technical forum of the Appalachian States Coalition for Geohazards in Transportation.

The forum, “Geohazards Impacting Transportation in Appalachia,” is being sponsored by Marshall University’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS) and will be hosted by the Kentucky Geological Survey.

According to Dr. Tony Szwilski, CEGAS director, geohazards are geological conditions that have the potential to cause damage to infrastructure. He said geohazards that affect transportation in the Appalachian region include rock falls and landslides, as well as earthquakes.

He said members of the coalition meet each year to share research and technological developments, risk assessment methods and emergency response procedures.

“This meeting is an excellent opportunity for geotechnical professionals to exchange information and best practices, and to talk about transportation projects,” he added. “It is always an exciting prospect for those of us in this field to collaborate with the federal, state and private entities faced with preventing, correcting or remediating the types of geological conditions we face in the Appalachian region.”

A pre-conference field trip will be held on Aug. 5. Field trip participants will explore the geology, history and geohazards of the Pine Mountain, Cumberland Gap and Middlesboro area of southeastern Kentucky. The highlight of the field trip will be visiting the Cumberland Gap Tunnel. Szwilski said many geotechnical issues were encountered during tunnel construction, and mitigation efforts continue today. He said other stops will include Chain Rock in Pineville, Ky., Pinnacle Overlook in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and an iron furnace in Cumberland Gap, Tenn.

Szwilski said the planning committee is accepting abstracts for presentations at the conference. Topics of interest include scour, scour mitigation and stream restoration; tunneling; karst; instrumentation; seismic impacting infrastructure design; remote sensing; innovative landslide mitigation and correction; rockfalls; hydrogeology and impacts of mining. The deadline for submission of abstracts is May 16.

Vendors from across the country will be on hand at the forum to display some of their latest technologies. Exhibitor space is available.

For more information or to register for the forum, visit

Contact:  Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304.746.1964