The Collapse of Minard Hall at NDSU.

Recent construction-related excavation work on Minard Hall caused the North face of the building to collapse, exposing faculty offices and engineering incompetence in one fell swoop.

Minard Hall (formerly Science Hall) has a concrete foundation which rests on a bed of smectite clay. This clay, the main ingredient in clumping kitty litter, is the “bedrock” of Fargo, North Dakota and much of the Red River Valley. You might think of Fargo as a bit of frozen cat crap shifting around an enormous bed of saturated litter. To prevent catastrophic collapse, heavy buildings in the area are usually placed on 150 foot caissons (stilts), which rest on bedrock. Because Minard rests on the clay alone, removing the surrounding dirt probably caused the clay to ooze from underneath the building. More about smectite clays from Dr. Donald Schwert, who has precisely nothing to do with this post.

Larger still (86.9 megapixels, 11mb).

Unfortunately, this building houses my department, experiment, and student office.

In this image, the third window from the bottom right is my office.

Larger still.

Larger still (82 megapixels, 10mb).

Larger still (19.5 megapixels).

This collapse represents a major setback for the institution as a whole, not to mention my progress as a graduate student. Tough times.

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18 Responses to The Collapse of Minard Hall at NDSU.

  1. Kelli says:

    dan, i’m so sorry. i thought of you and your research right away… hang in there. ps, turf saturday if you wanna mourn with us.

  2. Robert B says:

    Oh no! I hope you’re able to recover all your stuff.

  3. Sis says:

    Benner lookied at these with me and he was so sad for you. “poor Dan, I am so sad for him”
    He is making you a book skanner feks-it manual as we speak to cheer you up.

  4. Sue says:

    Would pie help?

  5. danreetz says:

    Thanks all. At this point in time, I just have to wait and see what happens. I am making backup plans for my experiment and other work.

  6. michebobiche of cakebobake says:

    today i man pointed at the paper at told me about how he took amphetamines (when they were still legal)to stay up all night and study for an exam. the there was a fire or something in he building and the exam was held later in the day and he could barely remember his name and bombed it. it had nothing to do with the collapse but now when i think of it i think of meth and bad teeth.

  7. John Mercer says:

    Dan, Christy Bright of NDSU provided me with a URL

    can you tell me what the end should look like?

    Thanks, John Mercer, Mercer Engineering PC

  8. danreetz says:

    Hi John,

    Files are all here:

    I temporarily removed the index from the directory so you can download them all.


  9. danreetz says:

    I would also appreciate some info about how these files are going to be used.

  10. Jenny Thiede says:

    Hey Dan,

    I am grad student at Penn St and am preparing case study on the collapse of Minard Hall. I was wondering if I would be allowed to use some of your images of the collapse in my report.


  11. danreetz says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Yes, please use any or all images as you see fit. If you need a more formal release feel free to contact me, my email is on my resume on the homepage.

    Also see the link above where I linked to higher-resolution copies of some of the images. It would be nice if you could credit me as the photographer, and I would love to see your report when it is finished (just for my own edification).

    Daniel Reetz

  12. Jenny Thiede says:

    Hey Dan,

    Thanks again for letting me use you pictures (you were credited). Here is the link to the final report


  13. danreetz says:

    Fantastic work, Jenny. Glad to see your report.

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