The University of New Hampshire Annual Pedro de Alba Lecture

in Geotechnical Engineering


2014 Lecture


The Increasing Role of Seismic Measurements in Geotechnical Engineering

Speaker: Professor Kenneth H. Stokoe, II, Ph.D.

Professor and Jennie C. and Milton T. Graves Chair in Engineering

The University Texas at Austin

Date and Time: 9 April 2014, 6:30-8 PM

Networking hour (Cash Bar and Appetizer) at 5:30

Venue: University of New Hampshire, Huddleston Hall


The geotechnical engineer has always been faced with the problem of characterizing near-surface materials. The near-surface region is often within 10 to 100 m of the ground surface. Traditionally, field exploration programs have involved boring, sampling, and penetration testing. In the 1960s, in situ geophysical measurements began to be employed in geotechnical engineering. This work primarily involved seismic (stress wave) measurements which were adapted from exploration geophysics. Seismic measurements were used to characterize geotechnical sites (e.g. layering, top of bedrock, depth to water table) and geotechnical materials (e.g. stiffnesses in shear and compression). The real demand for seismic measurements grew out of the need to evaluate the dynamic properties of near-surface soils, specifically the shear-wave velocity, Vs. Shear-wave velocity is a key parameter in soil dynamics and geotechnical earthquake engineering. Today, however, in situ seismic measurements are used in many more applications as discussed in this lecture.

To watch the 2014 de Alba Lecture click here


For more information and in order to register please contact Jean Benoît at or Majid Ghayoomi at

Sponsorship opportunities are available in support of this annual event.

Previous Lectures , you can watch the recorded lectures.


Professor de Alba's Bio:

Born in Chihuahua, Mexico on April 2, 1939, Pedro A. de Alba obtained his BSCE in 1964 from the National University of Mexico (UNAM). He then worked as a design engineer for public and private sector, before obtaining his MS in 1969 from the University of California, Berkeley. He obtained his Ph.D. working on liquefaction of sands during earthquakes under the supervision of his advisor, Dr. H. Bolton Seed. After his Ph.D. in 1974, he worked as a senior engineer for Shannon & Wilson in Burlingame, California (1974-1976) and then as a research engineer at Berkeley (1976-1977) before joining the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Hampshire in 1977. In his 33 years at UNH he taught over twelve different courses in geotechnical engineering at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Professor de Alba was an outstanding teacher, a scholar and, above all, a gentleman. He was a mentor and a role model to his students and colleagues. In his numerous service roles he always showed great compassion and support for students and the university. His professional interests were in experimental techniques for measuring the dynamic response of soils, especially residual strength of liquefied sand. Professionally he was involved with several major research projects including the deep array for earthquake response at Treasure Island and the National Geotechnical Experimentation Sites program. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the American Society for Testing and Materials where he served as an editorial board member for the Geotechnical Testing Journal. He was also co-editor and founder of the earthquake engineering journal Sismodinámica. His dedication to the engineering profession was truly exemplary.