Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Geological Investigations for Engineering Works

January 01, 1991


The importance of regional/areal geoscience investigations for data critical to selecting candidate areas/sites for engineering works and for related supplies of natural materials is frequently overlooked. Project sponsors have commonly restricted the efforts of the exploration team to only the area near an initially selected candidate site, and sometimes this attitude persists during the planning and design phases (discussed in Chapters 19 and 20, this volume). This limited approach disregards the potential importance of much relevant geological information, because sites rarely conform to a preconceived interpretation. In many cases, an understanding of neotectonic conditions, geomorphic history, and active regional geologic processes can prove more advantageous to an engineering objective than restricted, detailed knowledge of a single site (Fig. 1). A very early example of this occurred during a reconnaissance for the proposed Roundout Valley tunnel alignment for New York Board of Water Supply in 1906. C. P. Berkey recalled (Sanborn, 1950, p. 46), “consultant W. O. Crosby left the party and drove far beyond the line of tunnel; on his return Crosby understood the geology of the site better than anyone could from a mere inspection of the alignment, and it was a good practical lesson in reconnaissance technique.”

Several examples of how an inadequate understanding of areal geology subsequently affected project design are given in case histories cited herein and in Chapters 19, 20, and 23, this volume. Moreover, regional/areal geological investigations have been utilized with increasing effectiveness as one basis for the most economic and effective approach to selecting suitable locations for engineering works (Fig. 1).

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables


DNAG, Centennial Special Volumes

The Heritage of Engineering Geology; The First Hundred Years

George A. Kiersch
George A. Kiersch
Professor Emeritus, Geological Sciences Cornell University
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of America
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 1991




Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal