Derek Cornforth

Civil Engineer
Oregon, Washington

2001 - present
Staff Consultant
Cornforth Consultants

1983 - 2001
Founder, Principal Engineer Landslide Technology

1974 - 1983
Vice President, Shannon & Wilson, Portland, Oregon

1967 - 1974
Managing Director, Nuttall Geotechnical Services Ltd, London, England

1961 - 1967
Principal Engineer
Shannon & Wilson,
Seattle, Washington
& Portland, Oregon

1961, Ph.D.
Civil Engineering (Geotechnical)
Imperial College of Science and Technology, London University, England

1956, M.S.
Civil Engineering (Geotechnical) Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (Fulbright Scholar)

1955 B.S.
Civil Engineering
Durham University, England

Committee Member
National Initiative for Landslide Hazards Mitigation
Sponsored by the USGS

Past President, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Oregon

Diplomate, Academy of Geo-Professionals, GeoInstitute (ASCE)



Derek H. Cornforth

Dr. Cornforth has had direct involvement in over 200 landslides during his long career as a geotechnical engineer. He founded Landslide Technology in 1983 based on his training and experience in this specialty. He is especially qualified in evaluating soil strength and properties, field instrumentation with inclinometers and piezometers, and producing innovative treatments to relatively difficult landslide occurrences. He has written numerous technical papers and lectured about landslides, and has served on national and international committees. On legal issues involving landslides, he has provided expert witness testimony on numerous occasions.

Dr. Cornforth's definitive book, Landslides in Practice: Investigation, Analysis, and Remedial/Preventative Options in Soils (Wiley, 2005) is currently available. This book received the prestigious Burwell Award by the Geological Society of America "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the interdisciplinary field of engineering geology." It has sold 2,000 copies worldwide.

Some representative projects include:

  • Hagg Lake Perimeter Road Landslides, Gaston, Oregon
  • Crater Lake Lodge Caldera Stability, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
  • Bull Run Flume Failure, Sandy, Oregon
  • Goat Lick Slide, Essex, Montana
  • Percy Slide, Leaburg, Oregon
  • Faraday Slides, Estacada, Oregon
  • Washington Park Slide, Portland, Oregon
  • Newport Hills Ravine Slides, King County, Washington
  • Hagg Lake Slides, Gaston, Oregon
  • Bull Run Dam No. 1 Access Road Slide, Sandy, Oregon
  • North Kelso Interchange Slide, Kelso, Washington
  • Ross Island Submarine Slides, Portland, Oregon
  • Terminal 2 Flow Slides, Portland, Oregon
  • Dock Failure Submarine Slide, Skagway, Alaska
  • Cantara Loop Railroad Slide, Dunsmuir, California
  • Frog Lake Slide, Clackamas River, Oregon

Dr. Cornforth is the author of 26 technical papers and a textbook on landslides. He has been an invited speaker at several universities and technical conferences, and has taught a graduate course in slope stability.