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Michael Kiernan, Ph.D.


General Engineering
B05 Holtzendorff Hall, Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634

Phone: (864) 656-2542

Courses Taught

  • ENGR 1020 - Engineering Disciplines and Skills
  • ENGR 1410 - Programming and Problem Solving 
  • ENGR 1510 - Engineering Skills
  • ENGR 1640 - Engineering MATLAB Programming

Meet Dr. Kiernan


  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Auburn University (2021)
  • M.S., Civil Engineering, Auburn University (2019)
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, University of California, Davis (2015)

Research Interests

Michael's primary research has focused on numerical methods to analyze landslides involving strain-softening clays.  He has also studied the integration of geophysical methods with traditional geotechnical explorations to characterize sinkhole and landslide sites.

Professional Activities

  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 
  • United States Society of Dams (USSD)

Journal Publications

  • Kiernan, M. and Montgomery, J. (2002). "Comparison of Total and Effective Stress-based Constitutive Models Regarding Strain-softening of Fine-Grained Soils.” Landslides. (Manuscript Under Preparation)
  • Kiernan, M.,Xuan, M., Montgomery, J., Anderson, J.B., McDonald, B. (2022). “Characterization and Analysis of a Slow-moving Landslide in Strain-softening Clay. Engineering Geology. (Manuscript Under Preparation).
  • Kiernan, M., Jackson, D., Montgomery, J., McDonald, B., Anderson, J. B., Davis, K. C. (2021). “Comparison of electrical resistivity and seismic surveys at sinkhole sites.” Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics.
  • Kiernan, M. and Montgomery, J. (2020). “Numerical Simulations of the Fourth Avenue Landslide Considering Strain Softening.” Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. Vol. 146, No. 10, doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943- 5606.0002349

Conference Publications

  • Montgomery, J., Kiernan, M., Jackson, D., McDonald, B. (2002). "Integrating Surface-based Geophysics into Landslide Investigations Along Highways.” Geo-Congress 2022, Charlotte, NC.  
  • Kiernan,M. and Montgomery, J. (2019). “Modeling the cyclic softening of a mildly sensitive clay.” International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Rome, Italy.
  • Anderson, J.B., Montgomery J., Jackson D., Kiernan, M., and Shi, C. (2019). “Auburn University National Geotechnical Experimentation Site in Piedmont Residuum.” AIMS Geosci 5: 645–664 
  • Kiernan, M. and Montgomery, J. (2018). “Numerical Simulations of the Fourth Avenue Landslide Considering Strain Softening.” Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics, Austin, TX. 


  • Montgomery, J.,Jackson, D., Kiernan, M., and Anderson, J. B. (2020). “Use of geophysical methods for sinkhole exploration: Final Report for ALDOT Project 930–945.” Highway Research Center, Auburn University.  


  • Montgomery, J., McDonald, B., Chancellor Davis, K., Kiernan, M., and Jackson, D. (2021). “Integrating Geophysics into Geotechnical Investigations along Alabama Highways.” FastTIMES, 26(2).