Spring 2014 Seminars and Thesis Presentations

The CEE graduate student seminar series is usually held the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month from 4:00-4:50 pm in CB204W. The SDSM&T and engineering community are welcome to attend. Professional development hour (PDH) certificates mailed to attendees upon request for some seminars (noted below). For more information, contact Dr. Soonkie Nam (Soonkie.Nam@sdsmt.edu).

Spring 2014 Schedule 

February 19, 2014:

Contract Administration - Major Project Impacts 
Steve Palmer, PE (CE '97), SD DOT, Rapid City, SD
Public agencies typically administer larger projects that have much greater impacts to the public than private projects. Those impacts are even greater when the project itself is impacted by major issues. This presentation will address impacts to several projects and the public agency's obligations and responses to those impacts. 

March 5, 2014:

Mongolia: Culture, People and Research
Dr. Scott Kenner, PE, CEE Professor, SDSM&T (CE '77 and MSCE '79)    
This talk will highlight activities Dr. Scott Kenner experienced on his Fulbright Scholarship to Mongolia. Over his ten month stay in Mongolia he spent half his time working in the capital city Ulanbaatar and half his time in Erdenet, a major mining community. His experiences include Khuvsgul Lake, in the north, to Shambhala Monastery in the southern Gobi Desert. Mongolia was ruled by the Soviet Union until 1990 when it separated and established a democratic Mongolia. The historical herder lifestyle is becoming dominated by urbanization of Ulanbaatar and significant growth in development of natural resources especially cooper, coal, gold and uranium. Dr. Kenner taught courses and collaborated on research with faculty and students at the Mongolia University of Science and Technology, National University of Mongolia, and Erdenet Institute of Technology. Working with colleague Soninkhishig Nergue, physical habitat analysis along with statistical analysis of daily flow records was done to develop environmental low flows on the Orkhon River to support analysis of proposed reservoirs. Additionally water balance analysis was done for the Erdenet Cooper Mine in collaboration with Kh Oyuntungalag from Erdenet Institute of Technology.

March 26, 2014:

Achieving Your Engineering Aspirations
Connie Determan, Vice President of Environmental, Kiewit (CE '84 and MSCE '85)
A 25-year veteran of the industry, Connie Determan, Vice President of Environmental at Kiewit Corporation, will be visiting on March 26, 2014 to offer advice and share lessons learned to help you not only reach, but exceed your engineering aspirations. A graduate of Pierre Riggs High School, Determan obtained her Master of Science degree in civil engineering with an emphasis on geotechnical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

As part of her presentation, Determan will focus on the importance of stepping outside your wheelhouse and gaining experience across all engineering disciplines. Throughout her career, Determan has worked in areas such as mining, food manufacturing, power generation, wind energy, confined animal units, demolition projects and construction. Determan will also speak to the importance of integrating ethics into engineering and management decisions in a way that sustains the natural environment. We all must be committed to building healthy and sustainable communities for everyone. By having a better understanding of all engineering fields and their interrelatedness, you will further your career and reach your engineering dreams.    

April 9, 2014:

2014 Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference

In lieu of the CEE graduate student seminar this week, students are encouraged to go to the 2014 Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, which will include technical sessions, a keynote speaker, and a combined poster session and evening social. The 2014 conference will be sponsored by the National Weather Service, South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, U.S. Geological Survey, and the West Dakota Water Development District. Registration information will be available February 15, 2014 at the conference website http://sd.water.usgs.gov/WSDconf/. Professional development hours (or continuing education credits) will be available to interested participants. Planned registration fees for professionals are $70 for early-bird (between February 15 and March 17, 2014) and $100 after March 17, 2014. Registration will be free for students and the general public with the option to purchase lunch for $20.  

April 16, 2014

Permeability of the Inyan Kara Group in the Black Hills Area
Dr. Perry H. Rahn, PE, Professor Emeritus, SDSM&T Department of Geology & Geological Engineering
Fluvial sandstone channels in the Cretaceous Inyan Kara Group in western South Dakota have variable thickness and texture, causing variability of the hydraulic conductivity. Pumping tests in two 120-ft thick sandstones at a proposed in-situ leach uranium mine in the Dewey/Burdock area provide hydraulic conductivity data. The hydraulic conductivity in the upper sandstone (Fall River Formation) is 0.45 ft/day and the lower sandstone (Chilson Member of the Lakota Formation) is 1.56 ft/day. These data, along with the prevailing gradient of the potentiometric surface, can be used with conventional Darcy Law equations to estimate the groundwater velocity.  The average groundwater velocity for these two sandstones in the Inyan Kara Group is approximately 66 ft/year.

Real groundwater velocity data for this aquifer seem to invalidate this Darcy Law prediction. Based on tritium data, Gott et al. (1974) determined the groundwater velocity in the Inyan Kara Group in the Dewey/Burdock area is 5,480 ft/year.  This value seems very high, but may indicate fast groundwater movement through very permeable units or through fractures.

An important environmental consideration following the abandonment of this proposed uranium mine is that the groundwater will migrate down gradient and may contain a high concentration of dissolved uranium (with daughter products radium and radon) and selenium. The rate of movement of these elements would be less than the groundwater velocity because of retardation associated with geochemical reactions related to changes of pH and oxidation/reduction potential.