A brief survey of the main dock and harbour engineering works in the estuary of Southampton Water is given with particular emphasis on the development of the Port of Southampton. The geology of Southampton Water is reviewed in terms of the lithology of the main formations and the recent geological hisotry. An outline is given of the geotechnical characteristics of the various formations with some quantitative results, although much soil testing is still required. Particular applications of the engineering geology selected for description are those for which detailed studies of the geology contribute significantly to both the design and construction of the engineering works.
Particular engineering works and problems treated include foundations for quay walls and dry docks, control of artesian pore pressures, selection of berthing areas and channels, stability of slopes including underwater slopes, dredging and the characteristics of the reclaimed lands. Those aspects of the geology which are of the most help in respect of these various engineering works and problems are the geological structure and lithological characteristics of the Bracklesham Beds, the nature of the sub-Pleistocene erosion surface, the nature and disposition of the superficial deposits, the geohydrology, and the recent evolutionary history of the estuary.