72805 - Engineering Geology

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

Engineering Geology is aimed at studying the engineering and environmental problems which may arise as a result of the interaction between geology and human activities. The main goal of the course is to improve the knowledge of geological and geomorphological processes, developing skills in the analysis of their effects on civil engineering design.

Course contents

A prior knowledge and understanding of basic geology are required to attend with profit this course.

Fluent spoken and written English is a necessary pre-requisite as well: all lectures and tutorials, and all study material will be in English.

With reference to the aims of the course, the programme will deal with the topics listed hereafter, with particular refrence to unstable slopes.

a. Assessment of the geological model on the basis of the characteristics of soils and rocks and their mechanical behaviour, of a geognostic campaigns (borehole drilling, dynamic and static penetrometers etc.) and of monitoring data;

b. Case studies of surveys and campaigns aimed at the assessment of the geological model of unstable slopes;

c. Monitoring: devices and applications in different geological and geomorphological contexts.


For general and specific topics, the following books are recommended:

- Hoek E., Practical Rock Engineering -http://www.rocscience.com/Hoekcorner.htm

- Turner A. K. & Schuster L.R., Landslides: investigation and mitigation. TRB Special Report 247

- Dikau R., Brunsden D., Schrott L., Ibsen M.L. , Landslide Recognition: Identification, Movement and Causes, Wiley

Teaching methods

Lessons, exercises in the lab and field trips will be part of the course. In particular, two/three field trips will be organized, among which:
- an example of an on-going geognostic campaign;
- the Vaiont dam and landslide area.

Assessment methods

Exercises and homework on different key topics will be assigned during the course. Achievements will be assessed by the means of a final oral exam, based on an analytical assessment of the "expected learning outcomes" described above.
The oral session consists of a review of the homework and a technical conversation on the course contents.
Higher grades will be awarded to students who demonstrate the organic understanding of the subject, the ability in critical applications, and a clear and concise presentation of the contents in their homework.
To obtain a passing grade, students are required to at least demonstrate a knowledge of the key concepts of the subject, some ability for critical application, and a comprehensible use of technical language.
A failing grade will be awarded if the student shows knowledge gaps in key-concepts of the subject, inappropriate use of language, and/or logic failures in the analysis of the subject.

Teaching tools

Videos and other contents from the web will complement the teaching material. Some practical activities will be carried out on thematic maps and with specific software. The notes will be provided during the course.

Office hours

See the website of Lisa Borgatti