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Abstract

This paper reviews the work of 56 papers, authored by scientists and engineers from 60 different countries. The methods and achievements shown by this collection of papers are compared to a similar review made in 1998. Some similarities were remarkable:

  • The most prominent hazards in both reviews were earthquakes, volcanoes, slope instability and subsidence;

  • Slow onset events were rarely discussed;

  • Both reviews report exacerbation of natural risks by rapid development, water abstraction or lack of maintenance;

  • New development continues to be located in marginal areas such as unstable slopes, flood-prone alluvium or coastal plains, with decisions on development driven by political or socio-economic factors that sometimes outweigh geoscientific advice.

However, there were a large number of notable advances that continue to drive engineering geology forward including:
  • The advent of GIS and 3D computer modelling;

  • The availability of data online;

  • An increasing adoption of risk methodologies to aid decision making where geological, geotechnical, sociological, economic and procedural data are built into event scenarios and assessed by professional judgement.

There was some indication from conference that, as hypothesized by Knill (2003) and Culshaw (2005), the engineering geology profession continues in a process of ‘synthesis’ whereby the profession is gaining influence upon planning decisions and policy. Some sectors, notably radon, volcanic and seismic management, have shifted the presentation of their research to take better account of societal vulnerability and management. As a result, geoscience expertise in radon and seismic hazards is increasingly integrated with planning procedures. Although this ‘evolution’ is perhaps more difficult for more localized geohazards such as landslides or karst, there was good indication that such a shift is underway.

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