Engineering geology is the application of geological knowledge in engineering works. It has wide applications in various engineering fields especially in urban planning and expansion. Site investigation for major structures such as dams, factories, and heavy buildings is one of the main parts of engineering applications. Others include earth material characterization, exploration and assessment of construction materials and assessment of difficult grounds such as sabkha, expansive and collapsible soils. The obtained information can be presented in a form of engineering geological maps, which is essential in several projects.
SGS programs in Engineering Geology
Current SGS programs in the department focus on delivery of strategic information and solutions to support planning, development and management of the environment in the Kingdom. The main themes of the Department are:
· Engineering Geological mapping of the major cities in the Kingdom.
· Site investigations.
· Engineering properties analysis of construction materials.
· Community service.
Engineering Geological mapping of the major cities in the Kingdom:
An engineering geological map is defined by UNESCO, as a type of geological map, which provides a general representation of all those components of a geological environment of design, construction and maintenance as applied to civil and mining engineering. Engineering geological maps are of different types depending on its scale, purpose and/or content. The Association of Engineering Geologists started in the 1980’s to encourage the researchers to map the “Geology of the Major Cities” and suggested a specific outline for the study. The Engineering Geology Department adopted this outline and started to map the major cities of the Kingdom.
An example of an engineering geological map for Al-Jubail Area
An example of an engineering geological map for a part of Makkah Al Mukrammah
Engineering Geology Department was involved in the investigations of several sites that required immediate remedial action. The Department was also involved in the selection and site investigations for various structures such as (dams, tunnels, heavy building, factories and waste disposal sites).
Sampling of undisturbed sample
Rotary drilling operations during the site investigation
Engineering properties analysis of construction materials:
As a part of the engineering geological mapping process, the evaluation of the construction materials including the potential aggregate resources, building materials and ornamental stones, is conducted. The Engineering Geology Department, in a previous project, was evaluating the scoria deposits in Harrat Hutaymah. The evaluation covered the engineering properties of the scoria and its possible utilization as lightweight aggregate, in manufacturing heat insulating building blocks, and as an additive to the cement. A program to study the scoria’s capability to decrease soil evaporation was suggested to investigate the utilization of scoria in saving irrigation water.
Stages of mix design on concrete cylinders
Construction on problematic soils or weak rocks is usually a reason for structural failures. The use of unsuitable building materials is another reason for structural distress. Major engineering structures such as dams, roads, ports, etc. may face similar problems. These problems sometimes require immediate interaction and fast respond. The Engineering Geology Department is set to respond rapidly to the emergency calls for geotechnical problems, investigate these problems and suggest remedial solutions. Engineering Geology Department also trains students of Earth Science from University yearly on the department projects and how to deal with the geotechnical problems.
Appearance of vertical cracks on building walls in Al Mubaraz city – East of Saudi Arabia.
1. Preliminary investigation of Wadi Al Asla (wadi Bani Malik) dam site, Jeddah area, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
2. Engineering geological mapping of Makkah Al–Mukrammah holy city.
3. Engineering geological mapping for Yanbu al Bahar city.
4. Evaluation of engineering properties and industrial utilization of scoria, Harrat Hutaym, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
5. Reasons of collapsible soil occurring at Yahya district, Al Mubarraz, Eastern Province.
6. Engineering geological mapping for Al – Khobar, Ad–Dhahran and Al – Dammam.
7. Engineering geological mapping for Al - Jubail.
8. Site investigation of solid waste disposal sites for Ar-Riyadh city.
9. Engineering geological mapping of Jazan city.
10. Evaluate the engineering properties of unstable soil at Mudarraj and Al – Butain cities in Al – Qassim area.
11. Engineering geological mapping of Al-Madinah Al Mounnawarah.
The current projects:
1. Engineering geological mapping of Al Riyadh city.
2. Engineering geological mapping of An-Nimas city.
3. Evaluate the engineering properties of the rock and soil at Hail economic city.
4. Site selection for two factories in Al Jubail industrial city .
The future projects:
1. Engineering geological mapping of At-Taif city.
2. Engineering geological mapping of Al-Hassah area.
3. Site selection for two factories in Yanbu industrial city.