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Introducing engineering geology as a career option at undergraduate level EurGeol James S Griffiths BSc PhD CEng CGeol EurGeol FHEA School of Geography,

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Presentation on theme: "Introducing engineering geology as a career option at undergraduate level EurGeol James S Griffiths BSc PhD CEng CGeol EurGeol FHEA School of Geography,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introducing engineering geology as a career option at undergraduate level EurGeol James S Griffiths BSc PhD CEng CGeol EurGeol FHEA School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences University of Plymouth

2 Engineering Geology The application of the science of geology to the understanding of geological phenomena and the engineering solution of geological hazards and other geological problems for society

3 Granite batholith unconformity Caledonian folding Carboniferous swamps Variscan folding unconformity Ancient seabed Zone of interest to the engineering geologist, i.e. the natural landscape plus the effects of humans 3

4 Importance of Engineering Geology Engineering geologists have a key role in the UK construction industry which is worth just under 10% of the UKs Gross Added Value In 2009 the top 35 UK Geotechnical companies generated a turnover of £1.12 billion. The UK geotechnical companies employ over 6000 engineering geologist and geotechnical engineers The Engineering Group is the largest specialist group of the Geological Society with some 40% of the Fellows Engineering geologists (along with hydrogeologists, geophysicists, geoscientists and engineering geomorphologists) remain on the Governments Skills Shortage Register compiled by the Migration Advisory Committee (Oct. 09)

5 Real geologists Engineering Geologists

6 Plymouth module – running since 1993 Has gone through a number of important changes over 17 yrs but basic philosophy is the same – an introduction to engineering geological techniques supported by case studies and laboratory practicals Part of the Applied Geology and Physical Geography & Geology BSc programmes (these are Geological Society Accredited) 20 credits in Stage 3 – brief introduction in Stage 2 Uses the training guide of the Engineering Group of the Geological Society to establish the module content (http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/webdav/site/GSL/shared/pdfs/Fellowship/GS %20Training%20Guide%20for%20Engineering%20Geologists.pdf)http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/webdav/site/GSL/shared/pdfs/Fellowship/GS %20Training%20Guide%20for%20Engineering%20Geologists.pdf

7 Topics covered Engineering soil & rock description (Eurocode 7) Desk studies Remote sensing Site investigation Geographical information systems Hazards and risk assessment Introduction to hydrogeology Soil and rock slope stability analysis Earthworks and foundation design Tunnelling Aggregates Waste disposal

8 A very different literature Site work not field work

9 Mistakes can cost lives

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11 Students perception Survey of the undergraduate students indicate less than 10% knew of career opportunities in engineering geology before taking the module – even fewer had been aware such careers existed before coming to university Student feedback is strongly supportive of my use of real case studies as examples Practicals are geared towards developing skills in techniques required to be a practicing engineering geologist

12 Engineering Geological Techniques that might have wider applicability Eurocodes are standards used throughout Europe Rock description – Eurocode chart only contains some 30 rock types which covers 95 % of the rocks geologists will ever encounter; strong emphasis on site observation, simple diagnostics, and proforma data collection Engineering Soil description – again very pragmatic and based on simple field tests and observations

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14 Weathered Rock – description after Eurocode 7 GradeClassifierCharacteristics VIResidual soilSoil derived by in situ weathering; no original texture or fabric left VCompletely weathered Weakened to a soil; slakes in water; original texture apparent; no core stones IVHighly weathered Mainly a soil; few remaining core stones cannot be broken by hand; IIIModerately weathered Considerably weakened; large core stones cannot be broken by hand; up to 50% soil; penetrative discoloration IISlightly weathered Slight weakening; slight discoloration IFreshUnchanged from original state

15 Student progression Advice is that to develop a career they will need a specialist masters degree Given the skills shortage a number of students each year go onto 1 year contracts to gain experience before taking a masters The opportunities are not just in the UK – this year I have had students take up posts in Australia and Hong Kong

16 Student feedback on the best aspects of the module 2009/10 The course was very interesting, material was always challenging and interesting The practical exercises in general were all challenging but very useful to apply what we know to real problems. The teaching of techniques that are used within the industry and also being taught about the industry itself. I really enjoyed learning about what life as an engineering geologist is like. As well as learning about the subject, I think it is important that we were taught about what to expect if we wanted to enter this field of work.

17 Conclusion Undergraduate geology programmes should contain engineering geology module(s) Engineering geology is a realistic career option even at undergraduate level We need to expose students to engineering geology as a career option in Stage 1 Some of the techniques taught in engineering geology have wide applicability

18 On site


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