Southeastern Section - 64th Annual Meeting (19–20 March 2015)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:40 PM




The engineering geologist applies the principles of geology to civil works, which includes structures such as dams, bridges, roads, tunnels and large buildings, together with the grading of the earth such structures require. Developing land to be safe requires the expertise of both the engineering geologist and the geotechnical engineer. In simple terms, the engineering geologist determines where in a building site specific kinds of earth materials occur, and the geotechnical engineer, once called the "soils engineer," tests those materials to measure their physical characteristics, particularly their strengths, in order to determine how they will perform in relation to certain proposed construction.

Engineering geologic studies are performed by a geologist or engineering geologist that is educated, trained and has obtained experience related to the recognition and interpretation of natural processes, the understanding of how these processes impact man-made structures (and vice versa), and knowledge of methods by which to mitigate for hazards resulting from adverse natural or man-made conditions. An important aspect of this duality between geologists and geotechnical engineers concerns geologic hazards. For example, the geologist's investigation indicating that a landslide might occur would be complemented by the geotechnical engineer's investigation to determine how that condition could be remedied. As referenced in many texts, work completed by engineering geologists include; geologic hazards, geotechnical, material properties, landslide and slope stability, erosion, flooding, dewatering, and seismic investigations, etc.

The principal objective of the engineering geologist is the protection of life and property against damage caused by geologic conditions.