Core Values: The First Hans-Cloos Lecture

Sir John Knill

The traditional scope of engineering geology was the application of geology in construction practice, but this has become widened in time to embrace other fields of engineering, environmental concerns, and geological hazards. The subject lies at the interface between the observation and description of natural processes associated with the science of geology, and the knowledge of numeracy and material properties required for design and manufacturing central to the engineering process. A consequence is that engineering geology has come to be seen as secondary to soil and rock mechanics within geotechnical engineering, even though the subject is required to be applied throughout the construction sequence, and cost over-run, delay and failure during construction are commonly ascribed to geological errors. The role of engineering geology as a discipline needs to be defined, and the central role of geology has to be re- emphasised by improving the understanding of geological uncertainty in contributing to geotechnical risk, developing improved protocols in the formulation of meaningful geological and ground models, and more systematic methods of presentation of ground-related reporting. National and international organisations in engineering geology have an important challenge in providing the leadership through which an enhanced function and status for the subject can be attained.