Engineering Geology is the application of the geologic sciences to engineering practice for the purpose of assuring that the geologic factors affecting the location, design, construction, operation and maintenance of engineering works are recognized and adequately provided for. Engineering geologists investigate and provide geologic and geotechnical recommendations, analysis, and design. Engineering geologic studies may be performed during the planning,
environmental impact analysis, civil engineering design, value engineeringand construction phases of public and private works projects, and during post-construction and forensicphases of projects. Works completed by engineering geologists include; geologic hazards, geotechnical, material properties, landslide and slope stability, erosion, flooding, dewatering, and seismic investigations, etc. Engineering geologic studies are performed by a geologistor engineering geologisteducated, professionally trained and skilled at the recognition and analysis of geologic hazardsand adverse geologic conditions. Their overall objective is the protection of life and property against damage and the solution of geologic problems.
Engineering geologic studies may be performed:
*for residential, commercial and industrial developments;
*for governmental and
*for public works such as a
power plant, wind turbine, transmission line, sewage treatmentplant, water treatmentplant, pipeline ( aqueduct, sewer, outfall), tunnel, trenchlessconstruction, canal, dam, reservoir, building, railroad, transit, highway, bridge, seismic retrofit, airportand park;
*for mine and
quarryexcavations, mine tailing dam, mine reclamationand mine tunneling;
wetlandand habitat restorationprograms;
coastalengineering, sand replenishment, bluffor sea cliffstability, harbor, pierand waterfront development;
outfall, drilling platformand sub-sea pipeline, sub-sea cable; and
*for other types of facilities.
Geohazards and adverse geo-conditions
Typical geohazards or other adverse conditions evaluated by an
fault ruptureon seismically active faults;
seismicand earthquakehazards (ground shaking, liquefaction, lurching, lateral spreading, tsunamiand seicheevents);
landslide, mudflow, rock falland avalanchehazards ;
unstable slopesand slope stability;
slakingand heaveof geologic formations;
subsidence(such as due to ground waterwithdrawal, sinkholecollapse, cavecollapse, decomposition of organic soils, and tectonicmovement);
volcanichazards ( volcanic eruptions, hot springs, pyroclastic flows, debris flows, debris avalanche, gas emissions, volcanic earthquakes);
non-rippableor marginally rippablerock requiring heavy ripping or blasting;
*weak and collapsible soils;
*shallow ground water/seepage; and
*other types of geologic constraints.
An engineering geologist or
geophysicistmay be called upon to evaluate the excavatability(i.e. rippability) of earth (rock) materials to assess the need for pre- blastingduring earthwork construction, as well as associated impacts due to vibration during blasting on projects.
Methods and reporting
The methods used by
engineering geologists in their studies include
mappingof geologic structures, geologic formations, soil units and hazards;
*the review of geologic literature, geologic maps, geotechnical reports, engineering plans, environmental reports, stereoscopic
aerial photographs, remote sensing data, Global Positioning System(GPS) data, topographic maps and satelliteimagery;
*the excavation, sampling and logging of earth/rock materials in drilled borings, backhoe test pits and trenches, fault trenching, and bulldozer pits;
geophysicalsurveys (such as seismic refractiontraverses, resistivitysurveys, ground penetrating radar(GPR) surveys, magnetometersurveys, electromagneticsurveys, high-resolution sub-bottom profiling, and other geophysical methods);
*deformation monitoring as the systematic measurement and tracking of the alteration in the shape or dimensions of an object as a result of the application of stress to it manually or with an automatic deformation monitoring system; and
*other methods. The field work is typically culminated in analysis of the data and the preparation of an engineering geologic report, geotechnical report, fault hazard or seismic hazard report, geophysical report,
ground waterresource report or hydrogeologic report. The engineering geologic report is often prepared in conjunction with a geotechnical report, but commonly provide geotechnical analysis and design recommendations independent of a geotechnical report. An engineering geologic report describes the objectives, methodology, references cited, tests performed, findings and recommendations for development. Engineering geologists also provide geologic data on topograpic maps, aerial photographs, geologic maps, Geographic Information System (GIS) maps, or other map bases.
* Important publications in engineering geology
* Bates and Jackson, 1980, Glossary of Geology: American Geological Institute.
* The Heritage of Engineering Geology: The First Hundred Years: GSA Centennial Special Volume 3, 1991
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