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ES94W - Geological Investigation and Ground Characterization

Module Leader: Dr Alan Bloodworth

BTS Champion: Bob Allen, Founding Associate, London Bridge Associates

(15 Credits)

This module is one of a set of core modules for the MSc course in Tunnelling and Underground Space.

Aims : 

The excavation and support of underground space is primarily dependent upon the ground conditions. The geological and hydrological properties of the ground must be determined (site investigation) and the geotechnical properties evaluated (insitu and laboratory testing). The module aims to equip students with the necessary knowledge to collect, evaluate and interpret this data which is frequently complex because of the variability inherent in the ground.

Learning Outcomes: At completion, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate a project proposal and plan an appropriate strategy for a site investigation.
  • Interpret data gained through site investigation and make appropriate recommendations for a specified project.
  • Conceptualise the 3D ground structure
  • Determine the environmental impact of underground works due to the nature of the ground
Syllabus: Overview:
  • Geological, geotechnical and hydrological contexts
  • Planning a site investigation for a tunnel
  • Site investigation methods for tunnels in different ground conditions
  • Geophysical methods
  • Hydrogeological investigation
  • Geological profiles
  • In situ and laboratory testing
  • Stress measurements
  • Determination of design parameters and preparation of Geotechnical Interpretative Reports (GIR) and Geotechnical Baseline Reports (GBR)
  • Sustainability: reuse of materials, spoil and space

Illustrative Bibliography:

T. Waltham; Foundations of Engineering Geology; Spon Press; 2009 (focus on the chapters on geological mapping and underground excavation in rock)

K. R. McClay; The Mapping of Geological Structures; Geological Society of London Handbook; Wiley; 2006 (a tour de force for mapping techniques and identification of geological structures (I carry this when doing my own fieldwork))

P. Toghill; Geology of Shropshire (Second Edition); Crowood Press; 2006 (good introduction; focus on chapter on Pre-Cambrian geology)

S.D. Priest, J.A. Hudson; Estimation of discontinuity spacing and trace length using scanline surveys; International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences & Geomechanics Abstracts, Volume 18, Issue 3, June 1981, Pages 183–197; (quite mathematical, but explains why scanline surveys are useful in engineering geology)

David Chapman, Nicole Metje, Alfred Stärk, Introduction to Tunnel Construction, Spon Press, pp.390, 2010 (ISBN 978-0-415-46842-8)

Vittorio Guglielmetti, Piergiorgio Grasso, Ashraf Mahtab, Shulin Xu (eds.), Mechanized Tunnelling in Urban Areas, Taylor & Francis, pp. 504, 2007 (ISBN 978-0-415-42010-5)

Bhawani Singh & Rajnish K Goel, Tunnelling in Weak Rocks, Elsevier Science; 5th ed., pp.512, 2006 (ISBN 0080449875)

Ratan Tatiya, Civil Excavations and Tunnelling – a Practical Guide, Thomas Telford, pp.322, 2005 (ISBN 978-0-7277-3340-5)


15 CATS module: Test (20%), Exam (80%)