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JULY MEETING NOTICE
***Tuesday, July 14th***
Download July Newsletter

Topic: "Reassessment of the
St. Francis Dam Failure"

Speaker: J. David Rogers,
Dept. of Geological Engineering,
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Location: Steven's Steak House
5332 Stevens Place, Commerce, California

Time: 6:00 p.m.-Social Hour; 7:00 p.m.-Dinner, 7:45 p.m.-Presentation

Cost: $30 per person with reservations, $35 without reservations,
$15 with a valid Student ID.

Reservations: Please e-mail Jon Relyea at jon@radiusmaps.net
or call 800-554-3205

Abstract:
The St. Francis Dam failed catastrophically on its first full filling near midnight on March 12/13, 1928, killing approximately 432 people, including 126 dependents of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, who owned the dam. The disaster also brought an abrupt end to the colorful career of William Mulholland, architect of the Los Angeles water supply system. The lecture begins with a brief description of the Los Angeles-Owens River Aqueduct, the perceived need for St. Francis, its original construction, the damís untimely demise, and the disasterís aftermath. No less than 13 official boards of inquiry were convened by various agencies. Most of these groups erroneously concluded that the dam failed on its right abutment due to seepage piping along a dormant fault. The lecture also describes the various forensic methods available to test various postulates for the failure, using state-of-the-art technology not available when the dam failed. The physical evidence is examined in light of the purported theories for failure, presenting the methods used to reconstruct the likely failure sequence, utilizing all manner of available information, including survey data and colorized ground photos.
 
Speaker:
J. David Rogers received his B.S. in Geology (California State Polytechnic University), M.S. in Civil Engineering (U.C. Berkeley), and Ph.D. in Geological and Geotechnical Engineering (U.C. Berkeley).

Prior to entering academia he worked in the private sector on a wide array of projects involving forensic geology and engineering. His Reassessment of the St. Francis Dam Failure article was recognized with the GSAís Burwell Award and the National Research Councilís Rock Mechanics Award. His lecture on the St. Francis Dam was selected by AEG and GSA for the Jahnsí Distinguished Lectureship in 1996 and Sigma Xiís College of Distinguished Lecturers between 1999-2001.

Professor Rogers served on the faculty of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at U. C. Berkeley from 1994-2001 before accepting the Hasselmann Chair in Geological Engineering at the Missouri University of Science & Technology. This summer he is here in southern California as a Trent Dames and Dibner Research Fellow at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, writing a book about the St. Francis Dam failure and its impact on California, the Boulder Canyon Project, and the nation at large.