Margaret M. Darrow

page last updated: 19 July 2013

Installing a MEMS-based in-place inclinometer at a site along the Richardson Highway in south-central Alaska.

Photo taken by A. Parsons

Measuring slope movement near Frozen Debris Lobe A (FDL-A) in the Brooks Range, Alaska.

Photo by Daniel Evans

Disassembling a split-spoon sampler to retrieve a frozen soil sample.

Examining soil samples during a drilling program.

Photo by Margaret Carew

Contact

Margaret M. Darrow
Mining and Geological Engineering Department
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Box 755800 Fairbanks, AK 99775-5800
(907) 474-7303
(907) 474-6635 fax
margaret.darrow@alaska.edu

Research Interests

  • Behavior of unfrozen water in frozen soils
  • Frost heaving
  • Soil physics
  • Slope stability in frozen ground
  • Thermal analysis of engineered structures over frozen ground

Project News

Graduate Students Advised

  • David Jensen – MS Geological Engineering.
    Thesis Topic: Design and Implementation of Embankment
    Monitoring Program over Ice-Rich Permafrost. Expected graduation date: 2013.
  • Kyle Obermiller – MS Geological Engineering.
    Thesis: Investigation of a Landslide in Discontinuous
    Permafrost near Chitina, Alaska. Graduated: December, 2011.
  • Jocelyn Simpson – MS Geological Engineering.
    Thesis Topic: Monitoring and Analysis of Frozen Debris Lobes. Expected graduation date: 2015
  • Jason Zottola – MS Arctic Engineering.
    Thesis Topic: Effects of Groundwater Flow on the Thermal
    Considerations of Roadway Embankment Designs over Permafrost Using Thermal Modeling. Expected
    graduation date: 2013.

Funded Research

  • PI. CAREER: Mobility of Unfrozen Water in Frozen Soil. (2012-2017). This research will investigate the mass fraction and mobility of unfrozen water in frozen soil, using state-of-the-art measurement techniques such as NMR, XRD, and ESEM. Funding Agency: National Science Foundation ($402,954)
  • PI. Monitoring and Analysis of Frozen Debris Lobes, Ph. I. (2012). A slow-moving landslide (termed Frozen Debris Lobe-A (FDL-A)) is approaching the Dalton Highway near MP219. This research project included a drilling/sampling and monitoring program to better understand its direction and rate of movement and the nature of its shear zone. Funding Agencies: Alaska University Transportation Center and Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities ($100,000)
    Researcher checks drill cuttings while installing instrumentation and lays out geophones for a seismic survey of the slow-moving landslide in the Brooks Range, Alaska
    Jocelyn Simpson (MS student, Geological Engineering) checks drill cuttings while installing instrumentation in FDL-A (left), and lays out geophones for a seismic survey of the slow-moving landslide in the Brooks Range, Alaska (right). (Photo by M. Darrow)
  • PI. Impact of Groundwater Flow on Permafrost Degradation and Transportation Infrastructure Stability. (2011-2012). Developed a relationship among groundwater flow, permafrost degradation, and embankment stability, through field work, laboratory measurements of hydraulic conductivity and unfrozen water content of frozen soils, and modeling. Funding Agencies: Alaska University Transportation Center and Transport Canada ($581,126 total combined budget)
    Two researchers measure the water level in a piezometer at a research site near Beaver Creek, Yukon, Canada.  (Photo by M. Darrow).
    Jason Zottola (MS student, Arctic Engineering) and Michel Slinger (MSc student from Université de Montréal) measure the water level in a piezometer at a research site near Beaver Creek, Yukon, Canada. (Photo by M. Darrow).
  • PI. Evaluation of In-place MEMS Inclinometer Strings in Cold Regions. (2009-2012). Evaluated the performance of automated sensors for monitoring slope movement within frozen ground. Funding Agencies: Alaska University Transportation Center and Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities ($400,000 total combined budget)
    Researcher is checking for settlement of an embankment over ice-rich permafrost and uses a coring device to collect near-surface soil samples
    David Jensen (MS student, Geological Engineering) measures the orientation of a horizontal casing, checking for settlement of an embankment over ice-rich permafrost (left) and uses a SIPRE coring device to collect near-surface soil samples to estimate potential thaw settlement (right). (Photos by M. Darrow)
  • PI. Measurement of Temperature and Soil Properties for Finite Element Model Verification. (2008-2010) Evaluated the use of a 2-D finite element model for analysis of temperatures within and below highway embankments built over permafrost. Funding Agencies: Alaska University Transportation Center and Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities ($100,000)
  • PI. EPSCoR: Developing International Partnerships for the Investigation of Unfrozen Water in Frozen Soil. (2009). Fostered relationships with international colleagues for future research of unfrozen water in frozen soil. Funding Agency: Alaska NSF EPSCoR ($20,000)
  • Subaward. UAF Support for Shishmaref Airport Master Plan, Stage II, Wind Study & Climate Data Collection (2009-2011). Modeled runway embankments built over ice-rich permafrost to evaluate embankment designs. Funding Agency: Geo-Watersheds Scientific ($18,740)
  • Co-PI. Unstable Slope Management Program: Background Research and Program Inception. (2009). Developed the framework for an unstable slope management program for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Funding Agencies: Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and Alaska University Transportation ($50,000)
  • Co-PI. Experimental Study on Bending Behavior of Natural Gas Pipeline at the Boundary of Permafrost and Non-permafrost – Planning a Field Experiment in West Siberia. (2008). Provided recommendations for a buried chilled gas pipeline field experiment in West Siberia. Funding Agency: Hokkaido University ($6,490)

Selected Publications

Link to Scholar Citation Page

  • Obermiller, K. E., Darrow, M. M., Huang, S. L., Chen, G. (2013). “Site investigation and slope stability analysis of the Chitina Dump Slide (CDS), Alaska.” Environmental and Engineering Geoscience, 19(1), 27-40.
  • Daanen, R. P., Grosse, G., Darrow, M. M., Hamilton, T. D., Jones, B. M. (2012). “Rapid movement of frozen debris-lobes: implications for permafrost degradation and slope instability in the south-central Brooks Range, Alaska.” Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 12, 1521-1537.
  • Darrow, M. M., Bray, M. T., Huang, S. L. (2012). “Analysis of a deep-seated landslide in permafrost, Richardson Highway, South-Central Alaska.” Environmental and Engineering Geoscience, 18(3), 261-280.
  • Darrow, M. M. (2011). “Thermal modeling of roadway embankments over permafrost.” Cold Regions Science and Technology, 65, 474-487.
  • Darrow, M. M., Huang, S. L., Akagawa, S. (2009). “Adsorbed cation effects on the frost susceptibility of natural soils.” Cold Regions Science and Technology, 55, 263-277.
  • Darrow, M. M. (2009). “Active layer and frost bulb interaction for a full-scale, buried chilled gas pipeline.” ASCE 14th Conference on Cold Regions Engineering, Duluth, Minnesota, Aug. 30 – Sept. 2, 2009.
  • Darrow, M. M., Huang, S. L., Shur, Y., Akagawa, S. (2008). “Improvements in frost heave laboratory testing of fine-grained soils.” Journal of Cold Regions Engineering, 22(3), 65-78.
  • Darrow, M. M., Huang, S. L., Akagawa, S., Iwahana, S. (2008). “Effect of adsorbed cations on unfrozen water in silty soil as determined using the NMR method.” Proc., Permafrost: Ninth International Conference, Fairbanks, Alaska, June 29 – July 3, 2008, 327-331.

Education

Doctor of Philosophy, Engineering: Arctic Engineering
May 2007
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Bachelor of Science Degree, Geological Engineering
December 2002
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Teachers for Alaska Certification Program, Math/Science
May 1997
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Master of Science Degree, Geology
December 1995
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Bachelor of Science Degree, Geology
August 1993
University of Washington

Professional Experience

Associate Professor, 2013 – present
Assistant Professor, 2008 – 2013
Department of Mining and Geological Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Geotechnical Engineering Assistant, 2005 – 2008
Graduate Intern, 2002 – 2005
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Fairbanks, Alaska

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, 2002
Department of Mining and Geological Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Earth and Space Science Instructor, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000
Upward Bound Math/Science, Fairbanks, Alaska

Secondary Teacher, 1997 – 1999
Minchumina Community School, Iditarod Area School District, Lake Minchumina, Alaska

Graduate Teaching Assistant, 1993 – 1995
Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Professional Organizations and Honorary Membership

  • Tau Beta Pi, Chief Advisor 2012-present, Advisor 2006-2012
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, Advisor 2008 – 2012
  • United States Universities Council on Geotechnical Education and Research
  • American Society of Civil Engineers

Honors and Awards

  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award 2011
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship 2003-2006
  • Tau Beta Pi Fellow 2003-2004

Courses Taught

  • GE 261 – General Geology for Engineers
  • GE 365 – Geological Materials Engineering
  • GE 375 – Principles of Engineering Geology and Terrain Analysis
  • GE 376 – GIS Applications in Geological and Environmental Engineering
  • GE 381/382 – Field Methods and Applied Design I and II
  • GE 430 – Geomechanical Instrumentation
  • GE 480 – Senior Design
  • GE 626 – Thermal Geotechnics
  • GE 692 – Graduate Seminar
  • ES 209 – Statics