Glossop Lecture

Course Location Imperial College, London, SW7 2AZ
Cost £0
Type of course in situ
Course provider First Steps Ltd
Available dates for this course

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Geology; its principles, practice and potential for Geotechnics

Dr. Michael H. de Freitas

Emeritus Reader of Engineering Geology.
Imperial College London.

Three themes are developed in this talk. First, the principles that are basic to the science of geology and thus to its use in geotechnical engineering, viz. those of superposition and uniformitarianism. Then the use of these principles in practice and the difficulties that follow if little thought is given to the unwritten demands they make for their proper use; two common causes for difficulty are considered, using an inappropriate description and working at an inappropriate scale. Finally, the potential geology has for opening new areas of research relevant to geotechnics is illustrated with examples ranging in dimension over almost fourteen orders of magnitude. The largest of these examples involves regional structure, the London Basin; this is followed by examples that involve progressively smaller volumes; viz. displacements in landslides, the behaviour of rock specimens, the response of mineral surfaces to contact with water, the possible effects of strain energy stored in minerals, and the characters of silica gel, a material that could influence and possibly govern the geomechanical and geochemical response of silicate particles. Each of these subjects leads to an understanding of geological materials that could change the development of geotechnical engineering by establishing scientific disciplines to which engineers would refer for solutions to problems in ground engineering and the use of soils as a construction material.

These themes will also be the subject of a paper of the same title to be published in the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrology, although space will not permit all the pictorial material used in the talk to be presented in the paper.

It is also intended to organise a series of Workshops in the weeks following the lecture to enable subjects mentioned in the lecture to be expanded timely issues to be discussed, in an informal way. Unconfirmed details of these are given in the section on Courses and Training.

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