National Geotechnical Experimentation Sites Program

A system of test sites is now available in the U.S. through the National Geotechnical Experimentation Sites (NGES) Program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The NGES system of multiple user test sites provides easy access to well-documented field sites, thus greatly facilitating the development of new techniques of soil characterization and earthwork construction and allowing geotechnical researchers to select the most appropriate site for their needs on the basis of soil type, site location and available geotechnical data. Associated with this NGES program is a central data repository which provides a database designed to promote exchange of information, resulting in a more cost effective use of available research funds.

To date, information regarding more than forty sites has been stored in a central database. These sites are listed in the Table below. The database is designed as a user-friendly system shell, with search and data retrieval capabilities for essential information about multiple-user test sites, such as generalized soil conditions and representative soil properties, list of available test data, site logistics, conditions and services, published references, and other pertinent site information. The database is continually updated as new information becomes available. In an attempt to standardize all the geotechnical information to be stored in the NGES database, spreadsheet templates have been created to provide site managers and users with a standard format for entering data into the database. These templates allow users to easily generate complete and accurate data files. The database and spreadsheet templates are available at this web site.

Five of the forty-two sites have been selected at an NSF/FHWA workshop, classified as Level I or Level II sites, and recommended for immediate funding by NSF and FHWA. The remaining sites are classified as Level III. Level I sites are those sites which most closely fit the combined criteria of research areas identified through several workshops as of significant national importance, and of favorable site characteristics. Theme research areas are: geotechnical earthquake engineering (liquefaction, site amplification, and permanent deformations), calibration of new equipment, proof testing of site improvement techniques, geo-environmental problems, expansive clay problems and foundation prototype testing. Sites qualifying in the theme areas were also screened based on a short list of site characteristics consisting of: soil types, stratification, site size, interest and energy of site proponents, security, and long-term accessibility. Level II sites fit most of the requirements, but have size limitations in their current configurations. These sites may be expanded under the initiative of their proponents so that they might eventually be upgraded to Level I. Level III sites currently do not adequately meet the requirements and are not recommended for immediate financial support. They may be considered at a later date should their condition improve to fit the requirements. For Level I and II sites, detailed individual field and laboratory test results are accessible to potential users and researchers, allowing them to review the quality and numerical details of the results.

NSF/FHWA funding was provided to enhance the database at these five sites. A system management board was created to oversee the development of these sites and, most importantly, to insure the long term maintenance and enhancement of the NGES system, by encouraging the use of these sites, and identifying sources of funding for further development.


Funding has been provided by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. MSS-9215445 and BCS-8901804-01 and by the Federal Highway Administration under RFP Number DTFH61-90-R- 00081. This support is greatly appreciated.

Level Site Name Location
I Treasure Island Naval Station, (Fire Station #1)
Texas A&M University, Riverside Campus - Clay Site
Texas A&M University, Riverside Campus - Sand Site
San Francisco, CA
College Station, TX
College Station, TX
II Northwestern University, Lake Fill Site
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
University of Houston Foundation Test Facility
Evanston, IL
Amherst, MA
Houston, TX
III Spring Villa Test Site
EPRI/USGS Earthquake Soil Liquefaction Site
Hamilton Air Force Base
Minor Creek Landslide, Redwood Creek Drainage Basin
EPRI Seismic Array
San Francisco Waterfront
Wildlife Site
Expansive Clay Shale Test Site
CSU Explosives Test Site (AFOSR)
Platte River Test Site
Anacostia Naval Air Station
University of Florida - Kanapa
"American Bottoms" Mississippi River Floodplain
Old Route 95, Test Embankment
Massachusetts Military Reservation, Otis AFB
U. of Minn. Foundation Test Facility
Minnesota Cold Regions Pavement Test Facility
Eaton Dam
Frost Effects Research Facility-Cold Regions Lab
I-87/I-90 Interchange
Lockport Expressway
Massena High School
Route 37 over OBPA Railroad
State Fair Boulevard/Oswego Boulevard
6 miles west of Wagoner, OK on SH52
Chamberlain, South Dakota
Family Hospital Center Site
Texas A&M Agriculture Equip. Compound
State Highway 146 at Houston Ship Channel
Arthur V. Watkins Dam
Continuous Wave Electron Beam Accelerator Facility
Kipp's Farm
Parking Lot of Schnabel Engineering Associates
Schnabel Engineering Site
Manchester - Dorset U.S. Route 7
Brandon, Vermont - Route 73
Teays Valley
Near Opelika, AL
Cholame Valley, CA
Novato, CA
Northwestern CA
Parkfield, CA
San Francisco, CA
Calipatria, CA
Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins, CO
Kersey, CO
Washington, DC
Gainesville, FL
Collinsville, IL
Saugus, MA
Cape Cod, MA
Rosemount, MN
I-94, NW of Minneapolis, MN
Leadwood, MO
Hanover, NH
Albany, NY
Erie County, NY
Massena, NY
Ogdensburg, NY
Syracuse, NY
Wagoner, OK
Chamberlain, SD
Amarillo, TX
College Station, TX
Baytown, TX
Willard, UT
Newport News, VA
Blacksburg, VA
Richmond, VA
Richmond, VA
Manchester, VT
Brandon, VT
Near Charleston, WV

*Other sites are currently under consideration to be added to the NGES existing sites

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