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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Engineering : Civil

Undergraduate Course: Engineering Geology 2 (CIVE08018)

Course Outline
School School of Engineering College College of Science and Engineering
Course type Standard Availability Available to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken) SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) Credits 10
Home subject area Civil Other subject area None
Course website None Taught in Gaelic? No
Course description This course will provide an introduction to the discipline of engineering geology, with the purpose of allowing an understanding of how the fundamental principles of geological sciences influence the design and construction of engineering structures.

Entry Requirements
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisites None
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2010/11 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) WebCT enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
King's BuildingsLectureLecture1-11 10:00 - 10:50
King's BuildingsTutorialTutorial2-11 09:00 - 10:50
First Class Week 1, Tuesday, 10:00 - 10:50, Zone: King's Buildings. Lecture Theatre 1, Daniel Rutherford Building
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours:Minutes Stationery Requirements Comments
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Engineering Geology 21:3012 sides / 2 x graph
Resit Exam Diet (August)1:3012 page book; 2 sheets graph paper
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course the student should be able to:
- recognise and describe elementary geological formations of relevance to civil engineering;
- demonstrate a basic knowledge of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks: formation and context in different tectonic environments;
- demonstrate ability to interpret geological maps and construct elementary geological sections with reference to subsurface structure.

Assessment Information
Intermittent Assessment: 30%
Degree Examination: 70%
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Lecture Titles

L1 Rationale: geology for Civil Engineering. Overview: how the Earth works.

L2 Plates, magmatism and the diversity of igneous rocks..

L3 Surface processes, sedimentary rocks. Minerals.

L4 Metamorphism. Rock strength and what controls it on different scales.
Cleavage, joints and faults. The Rock Cycle, geologic time and event sequences.

L5 Types and uses of geological maps and cross-sections. Superficial deposits.

L6 Glacial deposits and arctic terrains. Ground investigation: procedures. Geophysical methods. Difficult ground.

L7 Limestone terrain: landforms, engineering problems and solutions.
Earthquakes: mechanisms, ground motion and secondary consequences. Hazard and risk. Strategies.

L8 The Bam earthquake (26-12-2003) case study. Link between geology, earthquake hazard and human settlement. Engineering implications. Slope failure and other hazards with engineering implications.

L9 Global warming: the evidence, and implications of climate change. Sea-level rise and future civil engineering challenges.

L10 Review of the course. Revision and examination strategies.

Four sessions, introducing the concepts of geological map construction and interpretation. Provisional sequence:

T1 Outcrop patterns as the representation of the intersection of geological surfaces (bedding planes, faults etc.) with the land surface; horizontal planar beds; dipping beds. Introduction to stratum contours.

T2 Faults, and igneous intrusions. Folds.

T3 The use of stratum or structure contours to infer subsurface structure from surface outcrop patterns and their use in engineering, quarrying and mining contexts.

T4 The extraction of geological event sequences from maps and cross-sections. How to solve problem maps.


The rock and mineral identification display is organised and laid out according to a basic classification matrix: Igneous (basic, intermediate, silicic / extrusive, intrusive) Sedimentary (clastic, biogenic, chemical / coarse grained, fine grained) and Metamorphic (low-grade to high-grade / common protoliths). Emphasis is on common rock-types and minerals and on the visual criteria for placing a rock in a particular category. The only route to successfully acquiring identification skill is repeated close observation (i.e. time spent looking and handling $ your part) plus confirmation from experienced demonstrators that you are seeing the right things (our part, but backed up when we are not there by the extensive captions accompanying the specimens.) Self-test rock suites, with answers are also available to hone your skills.

Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Waltham, A.C. Foundations of Engineering Geology. 3nd Edition, Blackie Academic and Professional, 2009. Excellent concise text organised in page-wise units on specific topics. Highly recommended. Good value.

Blyth, F.G.H. and de Freitas M.H. A Geology for Engineers 7th Edition. Edward Arnold, 1984. A solid classic if you want more.

West, G. The Field Description of Engineering Soils and Rocks. Open University Press, 1991. A useful little practical guide for future use as a professional.

For more background on geology I recommend:

Marshak, S. Earth: Portrait of a Planet. 3rd Edn. 2008. W.W. Norton. Probably the best of the illustrated mega-textbooks. American but examples not exclusively so. Good web-links to GoogleEarth images. Used as a source in the course. Copies to be installed on Student Reserve.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Keywords Not entered
Course organiser Dr John Dixon
Tel: (0131 6)50 5110
Course secretary Mrs Sharon Potter
Tel: (0131 6)51 7079
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copyright 2011 The University of Edinburgh - 31 January 2011 7:28 am