Faculty Profile

Scott M. Olson

Civil and Environmental Engineering
 Scott M. Olson
Scott M. Olson
Associate Professor
2230d Newmark Civil Engineering Bldg
205 N. Mathews
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 265-7584

Administrative Titles

  • CEE Excellence Faculty Scholar

Primary Research Area

  • Geotechnical Engineering

Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001
  • Master of Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1995
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993

Biography

Scott M. Olson holds a B.S. (University of Illinois 1993), M.S. (University of Illinois 1995), and Ph.D. (University of Illinois 2001), all in civil engineering. From 1995 through 1997, Scott worked in private practice for Woodward-Clyde Consultants. After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Olson returned to private practice with URS Corporation and also taught geotechnical earthquake engineering courses at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He joined the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois in August 2004, and holds a 0% appointment in the Department of Geology.

Dr. Olson teaches several courses in geotechnical engineering: an undergraduate introduction to geotechnical engineering course (CEE 380), a mixed undergraduate and graduate course in applied soil mechanics (CEE 484), and three graduate courses on excavations and support systems (CEE 580), rock mechanics (CEE 586), and geotechnical field measurements (CEE 590).

Dr. Olson is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Canadian Geotechnical Society, the North American Geosynthetics Society, the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, and the Seismological Society of America. Dr. Olson previously was a member of the governor-appointed Missouri Seismic Safety Commission, and has served on numerous review panels for the National Science Foundation, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, and the U.S. Geological Survey. He is a licensed professional engineer and continues to participate in consulting projects with industry.

Dr. Olson has received several honors and awards for his research, practice-related, and teaching accomplishments. In 2003, the Canadian Geotechnical Society awarded him the R.M. Quigley Award for the best paper in the 2002 Canadian Geotechnical Journal. In 2004, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awarded him the Arthur Casagrande Award for his work on the residual strength of liquefied soils. The Casagrande Award was established to provide professional development opportunities for outstanding, young (under 35) practitioners, researchers, and teachers of geotechnical engineering. Dr. Olson was the first practitioner to receive this award. And, in 2012, Prof. Olson received the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize from ASCE.

Academic Positions

  • Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010 ~ present
  • Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004 ~ 2010
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Missouri at Rolla, 2003 ~ 2004

Other Professional Employment

  • Project Engineer, URS Corporation (St. Louis, MO), 1/2001 ~ 12/2004
  • Senior Staff Engineer, Woodward-Clyde Consultants (St. Louis, MO), 5/1995 ~ 9/1997

Major Consulting Activities

  • Geoconsultoria S/C Ltda: Review of 12 tailings dams up to 130m high (MG, Brazil) (2016~present)
  • VogBR: Review of six tailings dams up to 100m high (MG, Brazil) (2016~present)
  • Public Utility District No. 2, Grant Co., WA: seismic hazard and liquefaction analysis of Wanapum Dam (Grant Co., Washington) (2016)
  • Barr Engineering Co.: 100-ft raise of mine waste tailings facility (Minnesota) (2012~present)
  • Montana Department of Natural Resources: Seismic retrofit for large earthen dam (2014~2015)
  • BBC&M Engineering, Inc.: fly ash pond (Ohio) (2011)
  • TSi Engineering: water and wastewater treatment facilities (St. Louis, MO) (2011); seismic retrofit of structures at Proctor & Gamble plant (St. Louis, MO) (2011~2012)
  • Teng & Associates: new I-70 alignment and collectors (St. Louis, MO) (2009~2010)
  • Dan Brown and Associates: new I-15 bridge (Salt Lake City, UT) (2008~2009)
  • HNTB Corporation: new I-70 bridge over Mississippi River (St. Louis, MO) (2008~2009)
  • Shell Oil Company: expansion of oil sand tailings dam facility (Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada) (2008~2009)
  • Kiewit Engineering: new port facility (Portland, OR) (2007); new light rail alignment (Salt Lake City, UT) (2007); new highway bridges (Vancouver, British Columbia) (2007~2009); new power plants (Portland, OR and Sacramento, CA); highway interchange (Los Angeles, CA) (2010 ~ 2012); two bridge replacements (New York, NY) (2012 ~ 2015)

Professional Registrations

  • Professional Engineer, Missouri, 1/2005~present

Research Statement

Dr. Olson's research interests include: geohazard identification and assessment, liquefaction engineering and mitigation, laboratory testing, paleoseismology and paleoliquefaction, ground response analysis, static and seismic slope stability, insitu testing, instrumentation, behavior of tailings materials, soil/structure interaction of bridge foundations.

Research Interests

  • Liquefaction engineering and mitigation
  • Laboratory and centrifuge testing
  • Geohazard identification and assessment
  • Behavior of tailings materials
  • Ground response analysis
  • Paleoseismology and paleoliquefaction
  • Insitu testing
  • Geotechnical instrumentation
  • Static and seismic slope stability
  • Soil/structure interaction of bridge foundations

Research Areas

Chapters in Books

  • Olson, S.M. "Residual strength of liquefied soil." in Beer, M., Kougioumtzoglou, I.A., Patelli, E., and Au, I.S.-K. (editors). Encyclopedia of Earthquake Engineering, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg Publishing, 2015.
  • Hashash, Y.M.A., Kim, B., Olson, S.M., and Moon, S. "Geotechnical issues and site response in the central U.S." Chapter 6 in Beavers, J. (editor). Seismic Hazard Design Issues, ASCE Press, Reston, VA, 2014.
  • Olson, S.M. "Field evaluation of liquefaction susceptibility of soils with high fines content" Appendix in McCalpin, J.P. (editor). Paleoseismology, 2nd Edition. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, 2009.

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Saye, S.R., Santos, J., Olson, S.M., and Leigh, R. (2017). Linear trendlines to assess soil classification from cone penetration test data. ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, in press.
  • Kozak, D.L., Luo, J., Olson, S.M., LaFave, J.M., and Fahnestock, L.A. (2017). Modification of ground motions for use in central North America. Earthquakes and Structures, an International Journal, in press.
  • Olson, S.M., Hashash, Y.M.A., Muszynski, M.R., and Phillips, C. (2017). Passive wedge formation and limiting lateral loads on large foundations during lateral spreading. ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 143(7), 13p.
  • Muszynski, M.R., Olson, S.M., Hashash, Y.M.A., and Phillips, C. (2016). Earth pressure measurements using tactile pressure sensors in a saturated sand during static and dynamic centrifuge testing. ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal, 39(3), 20p.
  • Dewoolkar, M., Hargy, J., Anderson, I., de Alba, P., and Olson, S.M. (2016) Residual and post-liquefaction strength of a liquefiable sand. ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 142(2), 11p.
  • Hashash, Y.M.A., Abrahamson, N.A., Olson, S.M., Hague, S., and Kim, B. (2015) "Conditional mean spectra in site-specific seismic hazard evaluation for a major river crossing in the central U.S." Earthquake Spectra, 32(1), 47-69.
  • Muszynski, M.R., Olson, S.M., Hashash, Y.M.A., and Phillips, C. (2014). Repeatability of centrifuge tests containing a large, rigid foundation subjected to lateral spreading. ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal, 37(6), 15p.
  • Sadrekarimi, A. and Olson, S.M. (2014). Residual state of sands. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 140(4), 10p.
  • Phillips, C., Hashash, Y.M.A., Olson, S.M., and Muszynski, M.R. (2012). Significance of small strain damping and dilation parameters in numerical modeling of free-field lateral spreading centrifuge tests. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 42, 161-176.
  • Sadrekarimi, A. and Olson, S.M. (2012). Effect of sample preparation method on critical state behavior of sands. ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal, 35(4),15 p.
  • Oka, L.G., Delwoolkar, M. and Olson, S.M. (2012). Uncertainties in evaluating liquefaction potential of cohesionless soils in the vicinity of large embankments. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 43, 33-44.
  • Ledezma, C., Ashford, S., Hutchinson, T., Moss, R., Arduino, P., Kayen, R., and Olson, S. (2012). Effects of liquefaction-induced ground failure on bridges, roads, and railroads. Special Issue on 2010 Chile Earthquake, Earthquake Spectra, 28(S1), S119-143.
  • Bray, J., Rollins, K., Hutchinson, T., Verdugo, R., Ledezma, C., Assimaki, D., Mylonakis, G., Montalya, G., Arduino, P., Olson, S., Kayen, R., Hashash, Y., and Candia, G. (2012). Effects of ground failure on buildings, ports, and industrial facilities. Special Issue on 2010 Chile Earthquake, Earthquake Spectra, 28(S1), S97-S118.
  • Verdugo, R., Sitar, N., Frost, D., Bray, J.D., Candia, G., Eldridge, T., Hashash, Y., Olson, S.M., and Urzua, A. (2012). Seismic performance of earth structures: dams, levees, tailings dams and retaining walls. Special Issue on 2010 Chile Earthquake, Earthquake Spectra, 28(S1), S75-S96.
  • Hashash, Y.M.A., Kim, B., Olson, S.M., and Ahmad, I. (2012). Seismic hazard analysis using discrete faults in Northwestern Pakistan: Part II - results of seismic hazard analysis. Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 16(8), 1161-1183.
  • Hashash, Y.M.A., Kim, B., Olson, S.M., and Ahmad, I. (2012). Seismic hazard analysis using discrete faults in Northwestern Pakistan: Part I - methodology and evaluation. Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 16(7), 963-994.

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • Numanoglu, O.A., Hashash, Y.M.A., Cerna-Diaz, A., Olson, S.M., Bhaumik, L., Rutherford, C.J., and Weaver, T. (2017). Nonlinear 3-D modeling of dense sand and simulation of soil-structure system under multi-directional loading. Proc., 2017 GeoCongress, Orlando, FL.
  • Mei, X., Olson, S.M., and Hashash, Y.M.A. (2017). Evaluation of a simplified soil constitutive model considering implied strength and porewater pressure generation for 1-D seismic site response. Proc., 2017 GeoCongress, Orlando, FL.
  • Bhaumik, L., Rutherford, C.J., Cerna-Diaz, A., Olson, S.M., Numanoglu, O.A., Hashash, Y.M.A., and Weaver, T. (2017). Volumetric strain in non-plastic silty sand subject to multi-directional cyclic loading. Proc., 2017 GeoCongress, Orlando, FL.
  • Kim, J.H. and Olson, S.M. (2017). Evaluation of earthquake-induced free-field settlement under partially drained conditions from dynamic centrifuge tests. Proc., 2017 GeoCongress, Orlando, FL.
  • Sibley, E.L.D., Olson, S.M., and Polito, C.P. (2017). A framework for evaluating the effects of drained cyclic preshearing on the liquefaction resistance of Ottawa sand. Proc., 2017 GeoCongress, Orlando, FL.
  • Cerna-Diaz, A., Olson, S.M., Numanoglu, O.A., Hashash, Y.M.A., Bhaumik, L., Rutherford, C.J., and Weaver, T. (2017). Free-field cyclic response of dense sands in dynamic centrifuge tests with 1D and 2D shaking. Proc., 2017 GeoCongress, Orlando, FL.
  • Kim, J.H. and Olson, S.M. (2016). Compressibility of saturated coarse-grained soils from dynamic centrifuge and 1g shaking table tests. Proc., Geotechnical & Structural Engineering Congress, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Numanoglu, O., Hashash, Y., Cerna-Diaz, A., Olson, S., Bhaumik, L., Rutherford, C., and Weaver, T. (2016). Seismic performance evaluation of nonlinear soil-structure system under multidirectional shaking. Proc., Geotechnical & Structural Engineering Congress, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Green, R.A. and Olson, S.M. (2015). Interpretation of liquefaction case histories for use in developing liquefaction triggering curves. Proc., 6th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Mei, X., Olson, S.M., and Hashash, Y. (2015). Empirical curve-fitting parameters for a porewater pressure generation model for use in 1-D effective stress-based site response analysis. Proc., 6th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Cerna-Diaz, A., Bhaumik, L., Numanoglu, O., Olson, S.M., Rutherford, C., and Hashash, Y. (2015). Experimental and numerical investigation of cyclic response of dense sand under multi-directional shaking. Proc., 6th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Cerna-Diaz, A. and Olson, S.M. (2013). Comparison of liquefaction triggering methods for sloping ground using two flow failures from the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Proc., 2013 GeoCongress, San Diego, CA.
  • Olson, S.M., Muszynski, M.R., Hashash, Y.M.A., and Phillips, C. (2013). Downslope ground movements during liquefaction-induced lateral spreading in centrifuge testing. Proc., 2013 GeoCongress, San Diego, CA.

Invited Lectures

  • Forum on Mining and Tailings Dams
  • Recent advances in evaluating liquefaction of tailings dams
  • Experimental and numerical investigation of cyclic response of dense sand under multidirectional shaking
  • Strength ratios, compressibility, and liquefaction
  • New cone penetrometer correlations for improved geotechnical site characterization
  • Lateral spreading-induced pressures against a large, rigid foundation
  • Earthquakes and the New Mississippi River Bridge
  • Geotechnical aspects of the 2010 Maule, Chile earthquake
  • Lateral spreading during liquefaction
  • Liquefaction analysis of mild & steep slopes using strength ratios
  • Liquefaction-induced damage in the January 2010 Haiti and February 2010 Chile earthquakes
  • Clastic dikes and ground fractures - seismic or not?

Magazine Articles

  • Stark, T.D. and Olson, S.M. (1998). Workshop: Shear strength of liquefied soil. Geotechnical News, 16(2), 20-21.

Journal Editorships

  • Associate Editor, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 2015~present
  • Associate Editor, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 2010~2015

Conferences Organized or Chaired

  • Chair, 2019 GeoCongress (Geo-Institute of ASCE)
  • Technical Program Committee, 2018 Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering Conference (Geo-Institute of ASCE)
  • Co-chair, 2013 GeoCongress (Geo-Institute of ASCE), Stability and Performance of Slopes and Embankments III (March 2013)
  • Developed, organized, and chaired fourth annual GeoPrediction for the 2013 GeoCongress (Geo-Institute of ASCE)
  • Developed, organized, and chaired third annual GeoPrediction for the 2012 GeoFrontiers Conference (Geo-Institute of ASCE).
  • Developed, organized, and chaired second annual GeoPrediction for the 2011 GeoFrontiers Conference (Geo-Institute of ASCE).
  • Developed, organized, and chaired 2010 GeoPrediction, the first annual student competition held at the annual GeoCongress of the Geo-Institute of ASCE. The GeoPrediction involves two-person teams (one undergraduate and one graduate student) evaluating a real-world based geotechnical problem, and developing a prediction for the anticipated behavior. The team with the winning GeoPrediction is announced and honored at the annual GeoCongress.

Professional Societies

  • Seismological Society of America: Member (2012~present)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO): Technical Committee 98, Subcommittee 3, Working Group 10 Seismic Actions on Geotechnical Works (2008~present)
  • U.S. University Consortium for Geotechnical Engineering Research (USUCGER): Member (2005~present), Board of Directors (2015~present), Board Secretary (2016~present)
  • Canadian Geotechnical Society: Member (2003~present)
  • International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineers: Member (2001~present)
  • North American Geosynthetics Society (NAGS): Member (1997~present)
  • Transportation Research Board (TRB): Secretary, Subcommittee AFF50(1) Geoseismic Issues for bridge foundations (2005~present); Committee AFS30 Foundations of bridges and other structures (2008~present)
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI): Member (2001~present); Student Activities Committee (2006~2012), Chair (2010~2012)
  • Geo-Institute of ASCE: Member (1997~present); Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics Committee (2006~present); Embankments, Dams, and Slopes Committee (2006~present)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE): Member (1993~present); Student Transition Committee (2008~2015)

Other Outside Service

  • Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE). Lead CEE Program for Explore Your Options program. (2005~2013)

Teaching Honors

  • CEE Excellence Award on Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring (2017)
  • College of Engineering Outstanding Advisors List (2014)
  • CEE Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring Award (2011)
  • Frontiers of Engineering Education Participant (2010)
  • ASCE Outstanding Instructor Award (2009)
  • Collins Award for Innovative Teaching (2009)
  • Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students (Spring 2005, Fall 2005, Spring 2006, Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016)
  • Outstanding Teaching Commendation Award (2005)

Research Honors

  • Walter L. Huber Research Prize (2012)
  • National Science Foundation Early Career (CAREER) Award (2009)
  • Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award (2004)
  • R.M. Quigley Award (2003)

Public Service Honors

  • Geo-Engineering Extreme Event Reconnaissance (GEER) Association (2010)
  • Geo-Engineering Extreme Event Reconnaissance (GEER) Association (2010)
  • Missouri Seismic Safety Commission (2003~2004)