News & Features

Kenneth Stokoe and Brady Cox - Outstanding Contributor Award

Ken Stokoe and colleagues standing in front of large construction truck, all wearing orange and reflective vests

NEES @UTexas Team: Ken Stokoe, Sungmoon Hwang, Robert Kent, Julia Roberts, Brady Cox, Cecil Hoffpauir and Farn-Yuh Menq. Missing: Andrew Valentine

July 18, 2014

A project led by Professor Kenneth Stokoe and Assistant Professor Brady Cox, “Field Investigation of Shallow Ground Improvement Methods for Inhibiting Liquefaction Triggering; Christchurch New Zealand,” was selected for the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Outstanding Contributor Award in the category of Influential NEES Project - Geotechnical.

NEES researchers address a wide range of challenges in earthquake and tsunami engineering, advancing knowledge and transforming practice. Advances in collaboration, large-scale experimentation, and development of tomorrow’s engineering workforce have been realized in the past decade in the fourteen NEES facilities across the US.

The research team headed by Stokoe and Cox has been working in Christchurch, New Zealand to help rebuild the city and improve its resilience to earthquakes in the aftermath of the Canterbury Earthquakes, six powerful quakes that hit the area in 2010-11, causing serious damage.

The research is focused on preventing and repairing damage from liquefaction, a process by which soil loses strength and stiffness and acts like a heavy fluid. The process often occurs during an earthquake, undermining foundations and softening soil supporting infrastructure. Because the soils in Christchurch are loose, sandy, and saturated with water, the city is particularly susceptible.

The research team is developing effective solutions to increase the resilience of homes and low-rise structures that are especially at risk. A large mobile shaker, called T-Rex, is being used to test the ground improvements.

The project’s exemplary impact, validating ground improvements for liquefaction-prone regions in the U.S. and around the world, is a significant contribution to earthquake engineering. The award will be presented at the 2014 Quake Summit in Anchorage, AK.