The Eocene Harwich Formation, underlying the Greater London (UK) area, presents many construction problems for design and location of tunnels, pipelines and other engineering infrastructure projects. Variable deposits make up the sequence of the Harwich Formation. These include cemented fault zones, hard grounds, loose gravel and sand that, when unexpectedly encountered, can cause construction delays and increase costs. Here, we interpret borehole cores and logs, and in situ observations coupled with borehole-derived samples, and calculate particle-size distributions to develop a general facies model that accounts for the lithological distribution within the Harwich Formation. This provides an improved geological framework for proposed subsurface construction that can reduce inherent engineering uncertainties, not only in the London region but potentially also in other similar geological environments.

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