SubjectsSubjects(version: 901)
Course, academic year 2022/2023
Grand Challenges in Engineering Geology - MG451P48
Title: Grand Challenges in Engineering Geology
Czech title: Globální výzvy inženýrské geologie
Guaranteed by: Institute of Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology and Applied Geophysics (31-450)
Faculty: Faculty of Science
Actual: from 2021
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 5
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:2/1 C+Ex [hours/week]
Capacity: unlimited
Min. number of students: unlimited
Virtual mobility / capacity: yes / unlimited
Key competences: critical thinking, data literacy, 4EU+ Flagship 2, 4EU+ Flagship 3, social engagement
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Note: enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: Gianvito Scaringi, Dr., Ph.D.
Opinion survey results   Examination dates   Schedule   
Annotation -
Last update: Gianvito Scaringi, Dr., Ph.D. (14.04.2022)
In our rapidly changing world, the interaction with the geologic environment poses numerous challenges and risks to people and infrastructures. In this course, we will explore some geodynamic processes shaping the Earth’s surface under an engineering geological point of view. Landslides are perhaps the most common geohazard we interact with, but also the most diverse in terms of mechanisms and dynamic processes, some of which still baffle our understanding. Climate change and the rapid increase in population have caused some regions of the world to become particularly susceptible to landslides and other “natural” disasters. Seismically active regions feature specific challenges related to the dynamic behaviour of the ground and the way it interacts with man-made structures. Chains of geohazards – such as floods caused by landslides, in turn triggered by earthquakes – are another challenge that has been recognised only recently. Many more challenges originate from the economic development and our quest for energy and resources: think of offshore wind turbines, oil exploration, geothermal piles, or nuclear waste disposal. While a lot can be done to reduce the geological risks and ensure a safer world for us and the posterity, our limited resources and incomplete knowledge of some processes make us carry on the research, but at the same time develop strategies to cope with the risks, and manage and live with them in the safest way possible.
Literature -
Last update: Gianvito Scaringi, Dr., Ph.D. (14.04.2022)

Presentations, handouts, and references for the topics covered in each lecture will be provided during the course.

Requirements to the exam -
Last update: Gianvito Scaringi, Dr., Ph.D. (14.04.2022)

The exact form of the examination will be agreed with the students during the course. It may be a combination of a quiz, a presentation, a written essay, or other forms.

Syllabus -
Last update: Gianvito Scaringi, Dr., Ph.D. (14.04.2022)

Orientative syllabus.

-       Earth surface dynamics. Overview and classification of geodynamic processes, tectonics and volcanism, climate forcing, rock weathering, mass wasting through erosion and landslides.

-       Landslides. Recap on soil mechanics: effective stresses, unsaturated soils, modelling approaches; types of landslides, their occurrence and evolution, monitoring, laboratory and field testing; predisposing and triggering factors: earthquakes and seismicity, volcanism, weathering, precipitation and hydrology, anthropic activity; giant landslides: examples and role in landscape evolution; slope stability analysis and runout modelling; slope stabilisation: structural and non-structural measures, innovative and sustainable measures (bio-chemical stabilisation, naturalistic engineering).

-       Soil-structure dynamics. Introduction to soil dynamics; dynamics of discrete systems; wave propagation through elastic and stratified media; soil behaviour under cyclic and dynamic forcing: stiffness and damping, failure, liquefaction; modelling approaches and geotechnical characterisation; seismic forcing and its parameters, local seismic response; elements of structural dynamics: modal analysis and response spectra; dynamic soil-structure interaction.

-       Marine engineering geology. Sediment mechanics; submarine landslides and flows; offshore geotechnics: offshore structures and foundations, cyclic loading, experimental and modeling approaches.

-       Underground engineering geology. Excavations and tunnelling, deep foundations, mining; constraints of the underground environment, underground exploration, groundwater and environmental impacts of underground constructions; energy geotechnics.

-       Risk assessment and mitigation. Definition of risk; susceptibility and hazard at multiple scales; quantification by statistical and physically-based approaches; vulnerability and exposed value; risk maps and their use; approaches of risk mitigation and management; focus on landslide risk mitigation: reducing the hazard, vulnerability, and exposure; challenges to early warning; learning to live with landslides: capacity building and resilience.

-       Chains of geologic hazards. Relations among earthquakes, volcanism, tsunamis, storms, wildfires, landslides, floods; quantification of susceptibility, hazard, vulnerability and exposure in cascading geohazards; monitoring, management, and mitigation strategies – examples from the world.

-       Engineering geology in a changing world. An overview of urgent challenges posed by climate change and fast industrialisation: coastal erosion and sea level rise, wetlands and permafrost thawing and degassing, climate change-induced floods and landslides, management of wastelands, radioactive waste disposal, energy efficiency, carbon sequestration.

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