Divergence in the science and practice of engineering geology

Mark Eggers


This talk will be given in two parts. First up, in my capacity as the IAEG VP for Australasia I will give a brief update on the International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment both nationally and internationally. This includes some of the key activities and initiatives planned or currently underway.

This will lead into the second part which is a reflection on the state of engineering geology. The main tenet of the discussion is that diversity is a defining characteristic that has shaped the development of engineering geology. In science, all the diverse branches of geology are available to help solve engineering problems and as such engineering geology represents a wide frontier of opportunities for research and development. In practice, diversity in approach in the application of engineering geology can be a complexity if its role is not well understood and not adequately managed. This type of diversity represents a challenge to the profession. Engineering geology crosses the boundaries of two major disciplines and sometimes struggles to deal with the dual demands. These ideas are explored with reference to education, research, communication and the relationship between geology and engineering. Some key historical developments in managing diversity in engineering geology are highlighted and current challenges are discussed such as mapping and use of technology, rigidity of codes and misuse of classification systems. As part of this discussion I will be interested in hearing feedback on engineering geology issues from Newcastle members.

About Mark Eggers

Mark is a Principal and Director at Pells Sullivan Meynink where he undertakes engineering geological and design studies for rock engineering projects in both the civil and mining industries. Other professional interests include landslide risk assessments, engineering geomorphological studies, terrain analysis and land-use capability assessments. Mark has been practising for over 30 years throughout Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Africa. He is the Australasian Vice-President of the IAEG for the term 2015 to 2018.

Mark is passionate about fostering strong links between academia and industry. In 2012 Mark was awarded an Erskine Fellowship at the University of Canterbury (UC) in New Zealand. Normally reserved for senior academics, Mark was the first non-academic to be awarded this position in the 55 year history of this fellowship. Subsequently he was appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor at UC where he continues to contribute to research and teaching. Mark teaches into several post-graduate courses at the University of New South Wales and co-teaches the field based Geology for Engineers and Engineering Geology short courses for the AGS.

Venue location


Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.