Project Description

What is Geotechnical Engineering

Photo credit – John Marino, CC

Geotechnical Engineering is the practical application of the field of geology. Geology comprises the dynamic and physical nature and history of the earth including the rocks, minerals and elements it is made of. Application of this field occurs with an understanding of natural materials and construction techniques. Geotechnical Engineering investigates many aspects of the quality of terrain and also how structures can be constructed within it.

Geotechnical Engineers use their understanding of earth materials to determine the appropriate supports and foundations needed for massive buildings. Firstly, they undertake a feasibility study of a site by testing for soil quality, ground slope and rock features. They also design foundations and put measures in place to prevent natural hazards such as earthquakes. As with all civil disciplines, Geotechnical Engineers consider sustainable practices when investigating and planning any construction. Graduates have a broad skill set that includes economic and project management capability.

Many career positions exist in the mining and petroleum industries due to the reliance on steel and fuel in modern society. Geotechnical Engineers are highly paid and are able to specialize as Mining or Earthquake Engineers.