Geology is the study of the earth, its origin, structure, composition, and history. There are many forms of geology, including economic geology, planetary geology, and engineering geology. Engineering geology is a very important topic for structural engineers to understand as it helps them properly plan a project when considering the design, location, and other important geological factors.
Importance of Engineering Geology
Engineering geology helps ensure a safe and cost-effective design for construction projects. Gathering geological information for a project site is important in the planning, design, and construction phase of an engineering project. Conducting a detailed geological survey of an area before commencing a project will reduce the overall cost of the project. Common foundational problems in dams, bridges, and other buildings are typically directly related to the geology of the area where they were constructed. Our SE exam review course provides adequate geological information for engineers preparing for the SE exam.
The Need for an Understanding of Geology
For quality control of construction materials, such as sand, gravel, or crushed rocks, an engineer with a geological background is needed. The knowledge of the nature of the rocks in a specific area is necessary for tunneling and determining the stability of cuts and slopes. Geological maps also help in planning projects. If geological features, such as faults, joints, beds, folds, or channels are encountered, suitable remedies should be incorporated. Geological maps provide information regarding the structural disposition of rock types in a proposed area. Topographical maps are essential for understanding the advantages and disadvantages of all possible sites.
Hydrological maps provide information regarding the distribution of surface water channels and the occurrence and depth contour of ground water. Knowledge of ground water is necessary for excavation works. Understanding soil erosion transportation and deposition by surface water helps in soil conservation, river control, and coastal works. In geologically-sensitive areas, such as coastal belts and seismic zones, knowledge of the geological history of the area is very important. It is recommended that those preparing for one of the SE exams have a thorough understanding of geology and how to evaluate a site before a construction project.