Newcastle geology: 250 million challenges for the engineering geologist

Dr David Branagan

This presentation will outline classical aspects of the geology of the Newcastle region, concentrating on the Newcastle Coal Measures, and how various aspects impinge on the work of engineering geologists. The presentation considers stratigraphic variation, including the unusual occurrence of conglomerates, and sedimentary variation, notably the occurrence of expansive clayrocks; tectonics, mainly through the examination of structures (faults, joints); igneous activity (notably dyke occurrences); geomorphology variation (time, weathering and erosion) and human activities considered as geological events.

Newcastle Geology

  1. STRATIGRAPHY – (now, and how it began to be understood); sedimentation and characteristics of the various sedimentary units
  2. TECTONICS – understanding arising mainly through study of structures, earthquakes
  3. IGNEOUS – mainly dykes and their various effects
  4. GEOMORPHOLOGY – time, weathering and erosion, notably creating new relationships between rock units, flood mediation
  5. HUMAN ACTIVITIES – coal mining, roads, rail, shipping, buildings, maintenance, legal questions

Speaker biography

David Branagan is an Honorary Associate in the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, where he taught Engineering Geology, Photogeology and Field Studies for thirty years. He earlier worked in the Geological Survey of NSW and in industry. He has worked extensively in the Newcastle region in research and consulting since the 1950s.

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