Mr Stuart Read is an engineering geologist with GNS Science, the government-owned earth science Crown Research Institute based in Lower Hutt New Zealand. He obtained his degree, a Bachelor of Science, First Class honours, in engineering geology from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1971.
His 43 years of engineering geological consulting and research experience has been in the evaluation, investigation, construction and refurbishment of engineering and mining projects in New Zealand, South America and Southern Africa. The first six working years were as a site engineering geologist for the construction of dams and canals of the Upper Waitaki hydro-electric scheme in New Zealand and the Itaipu hydroelectric dam on the Brazil-Parguay border.
His interest in rock mechanics was sparked at Itaipu, particularly through the in situ testing being performed, and on return to New Zealand in 1979 he took a leading role in the development of the geomechanics (rock and soil mechanics) laboratory for GNS Science (then known as New Zealand Geological Survey). His involvement in the laboratory has continued to today.
Outside the laboratory a major part of his career has been centred around the development of site geotechnical models based on geological conditions, including consideration of impacts from landscape evolution and/or tectonic setting and the fabric and properties of rock and soil masses. These activities have been mainly in a consultancy role for design, construction and safety assessment aspects of surface infrastructure including dams, highways and gas pipelines, as well as the stability of slopes and effects from natural hazards.
His research activities are in the strength and deformation properties of rocks, both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’, and soils as they relate to landslides and the stability of slopes. This includes laboratory testing to determine material properties and their behaviour, and how these may be applied to field situations, in particular for soft rock and more recently closely-jointed rock masses. His publication record has been on research interests and case histories, mainly through conferences rather than academic journals. Through his technical society interests he has been convenor for several dam-related conferences in New Zealand.