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I can answer questions related to rock blasting, rock and soil excavation (such as tunnels and highway cuts), stability of such excavations, and foundations in rock and soil. I can also answer questions related to geology and mining.

Experience in the area

30+ years as a geotechnical engineer and minerals engineer. Active consulting practice in rock blasting, geotechnical engineering, and rock mechanics for mining and heavy construction.


Society of Mining Engineers, Deep Foundations Institute, Association of Engineering Geologists, and International Society of Explosives Engineers.


Mining Engineering, AEG Bulletin.


BS and MS Geological Engineering

What do you like about this subject?

There are no two projects that are exactly alike, and not everyone can deal with the uncertainties inherent in designing with real earth materials.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

The perfect blast, each and every time.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

In geological engineering, unllike other engineering fields, the behavior and properties of the engineering medium (rock) cannot be fully controlled by Man. This makes geological engineering a complex mix of judgment, statistical evaluation, risk analysis, and explicit engineering calculation.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

People think it is cool it is to perform blasting consulting. It would be much more cool if it were not necessary to drill holes in rocks first. Drilling a hole in a rock is an inherently difficult and refractory task.

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Recent Answers from Robert Cummings, P.E.

2016-04-13 Organic matter in base course material for roads:

Here are my reactions to your questions in numerical order:  1.  Not knowing the details of your contractual language, I can only respond generally.      Whether the Engineer has the contractual basis

2015-12-27 Granite Outcropping:

1.  The natural granite could be leveled but only at great cost.  I know of no technique for sawing rock horizontally, except for wire saws that are used in quarrying operations, and the problem there

2015-12-20 Building on limestone in Prince Edward County, ontario:

Get a copy of the soil/foundation report and review whether it considers the possibility of limestone bedrock.  You can then contact the soils firm that did the work with any specific questions.    Limestone

2015-06-15 Converting PPV to seismic coefficient:

I suppose you could apply the conversion but the problem is that the seismic coefficient is defined for generalized horizontal ground motion and the peak particle velocities are measured in two horizontal

2015-04-20 Pouring cement on rock:

Yes you can pour concrete onto solid rock, the only exception being that some rock types, chiefly those that contain a lot of hydrated silica like chert, may adversely react with the concrete.  That is


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