Active Fault Studies for Pipelines
Dr. McCalpin is currently involved in several studies of active faults in and near the routes of existing and proposed energy pipelines. This applied work builds on his research beginning in the 1980s on patterns of coseismic surface faulting and their implications for building setbacks and infrastructure design [INSERT link to file on Downloads page, 1987 Recomm Setbacks.pdf]. Later he was involved in developing the method of Probabilistic Fault Displacement Hazard Assessment (PFDHA) that has become an industry standard for analyzing hazards from surface fault displacements
Our studies focus on surface fault rupture hazards to the pipeline, which requires determining: 1- whether a fault is "active" by regulatory criteria, usually based on age of latest movement; 2- what the width of the active deformation zone is,and its 3D orientation; 3- how much displacement can be expected across the fault and the orientation of the net slip vector. The latter can be calculated deterministically (worst-case) or probabilistically via PFDHA. At many proposed fault crossings there is no access for machinery so trenches must be dug by hand.
Oil Pipelines (Existing)
Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (2013-2014)
Dr. McCalpin is currently a consultant to D.J. Nyman & Associates (Houston) and the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company (Anchorage) to assess hazards to the TAPS pipeline from surface faulting. The study involves helicopter reconnaissance, airphoto interpretation, Google Earth imagery, digital field mapping with LiDAR DEMs, hand-excavation of trenches, and radiocarbon and luminescence dating.
Natural Gas Pipelines (Proposed)
Alaska Pipeline Project (2010-2014)
In 2010 and 2011 Dr. McCalpin subcontracted to WorleyParsons Canada Ltd. to study active fault hazards to the Alaska Pipeline Project (APP) within the Alaska segment. APP is a large-diameter natural gas pipeline proposed by Exxon and Transcanada to bring Prudhoe Bay gas to central Canada and the USA. The 3000 km-long pipeline project has an estimated cost of USD 35 billion, making it one of the most expensive private projects in history. We analyzed previous work and examined the ca. 1500 km of 1-meter LiDAR DEMs of the project right-of-way, followed by extensive on-ground reconnaissance and field checking. Several fault trenches were excavated by hand and by machine to confirm the active (Holocene) status of the faults, and to infer the parameters of past coseismic surface ruptures for pipeline crossing design.
Coastal Gas Link (2013-2014)
In 2013 Dr. McCalpin subcontracted to WorleyParsons Canada Ltd. to study active fault hazards to the Coastal Gas Link project (CGL) within British Columbia, Canada. CGL is a proposed large-diameter natural gas pipeline (Transcanada) to transport natural gas from the Alberta gas fields to a new LNG facility on the Pacific Coast at Kitimat, British Columbia. The 670 km-long pipeline project crosses the entire width of British Columbia. We analyzed previous work and examined the 1-meter LiDAR DEMs of the project right-of-way, followed by extensive on-ground reconnaissance and field checking. Working with Gary Carver of Carver Geologic (Kodiak, Alaska), we developed a sophisticated digital mapping system for use in the helicopter.
Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Line (2013-2014)
Dr. McCalpin is providing review and consulting services to BGC Engineering (Vancouver, Canada) for the proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission (PRGT) pipeline. PRGT is a proposed large-diameter natural gas pipeline (Transcanada) to transport natural gas from the Alberta gas fields to a new LNG facility on the Pacific Coast at Port Edward, British Columbia. The 860 km-long pipeline project crosses the entire width of British Columbia. We are assisting BGC Engineering with identifying potentially active faults near the right-of-way and prioritizing them for field checking and on-ground studies in 2014. Extensive use was made of the 1-meter LiDAR DEMs of the project right-of-way.
Spectra Pipeline (2014)
GEO-HAZ is subcontracting to WorleyParsons Canada Ltd. to study active fault hazards to the Spectra pipeline project in British Columbia, Canada. The Spectra line is a proposed large-diameter natural gas pipeline (Transcanada) to transport natural gas from the BC-Alberta gas fields to a new LNG facility on the Pacific Coast.
Other Paleoseismic Experience
Dr. McCalpin authored the first definitive reference on how paleoseismic data are applied to PSHA (McCalpin, J.P., 1996, Application of Paleoseismic Data to Seismic Hazard Assessment and Neotectonic Research, Chapter 9 in McCalpin, J.P. (ed.), Paleoseismology: Academic Press, New York, p.439-493). This chapter was updated in 2009 for the 2nd Edition of Paleoseismology.
In addition, Dr. McCalpin has consulted to the national geological surveys of several countries that are involved in siting nuclear power plants. These include the Council for Geosciences (South Africa) and the Korea Institute of Geology and Minerals (KIGAM). He has taught short courses in paleoseismology and applications to PSHA in both those countries.