Victor de Mello Lectures by Jamiolkowski and Morgenstern

TC 221 has made available two videos from the most prestigious Victor de Mello Lectures delivered by Prof. Michele Jamiolkowski and Prof. Norbert Morgenstern.

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Professor Victor de Mello



Professor Norbert Morgenstern

Distinguished University Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Alberta, Canada


At this time, there is a crisis associated with concern over the safety of tailings dams and lack of trust in their design and performance. This crisis has resulted from recent high-profile failures of dams at locations with strong technical experience, conscientious operators and established regulatory procedures. It is the primary intent of this Lecture to assess the underlying cause(s) for this crisis, review the response to it by various agencies, and to make recommendations on how to overcome it.

The Lecture begins with a review of the evolving safety culture associated with slope stability problems as exemplified by the achievements in Hong Kong. Addresses the evolution of the safety culture associated with water dams and summarizes some of the major findings arising from the analysis of this incident and makes recommendations to move to more performance-based risk-informed design and safety reviews that are constrained by reliable evidence to a greater degree than is currently the case.  The Lecture proposes a system for Performance-Based Risk-Informed Safe Design, Construction, Operation, and Closure of tailings storage facilities. It further urges the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) to support the proposed system and facilitate its adoption in practice.


Full video presentation available at:

Full lecture available at:



Professor Michele Jamiolkowski

Studio Geotecnico Italiano, Italy


The lecture attempts to highlight the insights late Victor De Mello provided on some key areas. Considering the increasing role of the geophysical methods in the geotechnical site characterization, the writer focuses on the use of in-hole geophysical methods when assessing, both in field and in laboratory, the parameters depicting the soil state and its stiffness at small strain. With this aim the writer draws the attention to seismic transversal (S) and longitudinal (P) body waves generated both in field, during in-hole tests, and in laboratory using piezocristals. Within this framework the following issues are discussed:

• Stiffness at very small strain as obtainable from the S and P velocities.

• Difference between fully from near to saturated soils from the measured P-wave velocity.

• Evaluation of undisturbed samples quality based on the comparison of S-waves velocities measured in field and in laboratory respectively.

• Evaluation of porosity and void ratio from measured P and S waves velocity.

• S-wave based evaluation of the coarse grained soils susceptibility to cyclic liquefaction


Full video presentation available at:

Full lecture available at: