Core values: the first Hans-Cloos lecture


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.


Le champ traditionnel de la géologie de l'ingénieur a été l'application de la géologie à l'art de construire, mais ce champ s'est élargi avec le temps, couvrant d'autres domaines relatifs aux travaux de l'ingénieur, à l'environnement et aux risques naturels. La discipline se situe à l'interface entre l'observation et la description de processus naturels relevant des sciences de la Terre et l'étude des propriétés des matériaux et la maîtrise de la modélisation nécessaires au dimensionnement et la mise en œuvre d'ouvrages relevant de l'art de l'ingénieur. Une conséquence de cette situation est que la géologie de l'ingénieur a été perçue comme secondaire par rapport à la mécanique des sols et la mécanique des roches au sein de la géotechnique, bien que la contribution de cette discipline soit nécessaire tout au long du processus de construction, les dépassements de coûts, les retards et accidents pendant la construction étant communément attribués à des difficultés géologiques. Le rôle de la géologie de l'ingénieur comme discipline doit être défini et le rôle central de la géologie doit être à nouveau souligné en améliorant notre compréhension des incertitudes d'origine géologique dans la constitution du risque géotechnique, en développant des procédures performantes pour la définition de modèles géologiques réalistes et en établissant des méthodes systématiques pour la présentation des rapports géologiques. Les associations nationales et internationales de géologie de l'ingénieur ont un important défi à relever en indiquant la direction à suivre pour que le rôle et le statut de la discipline soient mieux reconnus.

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It is with great regret that we record John Knill's death on 31 December 2002.

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Knill, J. Core values: the first Hans-Cloos lecture. Bull Eng Geol Environ 62, 1–34 (2003).

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  • Hans Cloos
  • Core values
  • Engineering geology

Mots clés

  • Hans Cloos
  • Valeurs fondamentales
  • Géologie de l'ingénieur