Geology and Civil Engineering

Mining is an important branch of geology, and it has been known for a long, but its use in ”civil engineering” has been recognized only in comparatively recent years. The importance of geology in civil engineering may briefly be outlined as follows:

  1. We can derive a systematic knowledge of construction by means of geology. The knowledge of construction material, its occurrence, composition, durability, and other properties are associated with the study of geology. Examples of such construction materials are building stones, road metal, clays, limestones, and laterite.
  2. Understanding the geological work of natural agencies such as water, wind, ice, and earthquakes helps us in planning and carrying out major civil engineering works. For example, the knowledge of erosion, transportation, and deposition helps greatly in solving the expansive problem of rivers control, coastal and harbor work, and soil conservation.
  3. Groundwater has a deep influence on civil structures and other engineering works. Groundwater is the water that occurs in the subsurface rocks. Knowledge about the quantity, depth and occurrence of groundwater is needed in order to carry out the water supply, irrigation, excavation and many other civil engineering works.
  4. The foundation problems of dams, bridges, and buildings are directly concerned with the geology of the area where they are to be built. In these works, drilling is commonly undertaken to explore the ground conditions. Geology helps greatly in interpreting the drilling data.
  5. In tunneling, constructive roads, canals, docks, and in determining the stability of cuts and slopes, knowledge about the nature and structure of rocks is very necessary.
  6. The cost of engineering works will considerably be reduced if the geological survey of the area concerned is done beforehand.
  7. In the study of soil mechanics, it is necessary to know how the soil materials are formed in nature.
  8. The stability of the civil engineering structures is considerably increased if the geological features like faults, joints, bedding planes, folding, solution channels, etc, in the rock beds are properly located and suitably treated.
  9. Before starting a major engineering project at a place, a detailed geological report, which is accompanied by geological maps and sections is prepared. Such a report helps in planning and constructing the project.

For a major engineering project, precise geological survey is carried out and the results thus obtained are used in solving engineering problems at hand. Although the geological work is done by an engineering geologist, this does not mean that the civil engineers have nothing to do with the geology. For civil engineers, the knowledge of geology is essential for understanding the geological reports and for using the geological data for solving engineering problems. If adequate geological investigations are carried out before constructing a major engineering structure, many disasters can be overcome, and human lives and property can be saved.

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