Beneath the Sands: A Glimpse of Engineering Geological Conditions of Dubai, UAE

  • Luke Bernhard BrouwersEmail author
Conference paper


Recent large-scale civil infrastructure developments in Dubai have led to the completion of remarkable engineering feats. These achievements are only matched by the aspirations of future projects, which continue to push the boundaries of engineering by seeking bigger, stronger and deeper developments while simultaneously being more economical. However, future ground development in Dubai faces unique challenges and information currently available to assist engineers in solving these problems is limited. To combat this, this paper presents results from 87 boreholes drilled throughout Dubai. The general lithographic sequence comprises of Quarternary Aeolian sand deposits overlying the thinly bedded calcareous sandstones of the Ghayathi Formation underlain by interbedded conglomerates and siltstones of the Barzaman Formation before encountering the thinly bedded claystones of the Gachsaran Formation. Laboratory results show that 90% of all unconfined compressive strength (UCS) results classify as very weak or weaker with an overall average UCS value and elastic modulus of 2.24 and 2058 MPa, respectively. The average bulk and dry densities are 1960 and 1630 kg/m3, respectively, with an average moisture content of 19%. Discussion of the laboratory results illustrates some engineering geology challenges currently being faced in site investigations for Dubai and identify the important role engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers play in ensuring that suitable site investigation methods and techniques are performed correctly to ensure that an accurate and thorough understanding of subsurface conditions is obtained to minimize the associated risk of development.


Dubai Engineering geology Laboratory testing Challenges 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engineering GeologistFugro Middle East, Al Quoz Industrial AreaDubaiUnited Arab Emirates

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