Department

Engineering Geology

Engineering Geology is part of applied geology and geotechniques. It deals with the behaviour of rocks and mountains according to their material properties and their development in Earth history.

Colorful stained alpine grassy slope, which was torn extensively by a rock fall.
Rock fall under Mount Hohe Warte in Navis valley (Tyrol).
© Jurriaan Feijth

The department deals with the investigation, interpretation and evaluation of geological and geotechnical conditions, in particular with the documentation of natural hazards. The results are provided for land use planning, security of the living space for the governmental crisis management and for civil engineering issues.
The tradition of engineering geology at the Geological Survey of Austria dates back to the early years of the “k. k. Geologischer Reichsanstalt”. 

Tasks

  • Studies and research in the fields of engineering geology and geotechnics using appropriate state-of-the-art methods of technology and research. In particular, these are the engineering geological mapping, the acquisition and evaluation of geogenic natural hazards, covering the entire federal territory of Austria.
  • Collection, processing and keeping in evidence the results of engineering geological and geotechnical research as well as documentation in this field using modern information technologies.
  • Cooperation with the institutions of the governmental crisis management. Expert opinion planning documents are given to the federal institutions, countries and in accordance with the options for municipalities and individuals.
© Geological Survey of Austria" class="lightbox">A mountain with a scree slope, below that a road, a hut and to the right a house. Larches in autumn dress. Above blue sky.
Landslide “Steinlehnen" under Mount Jöchlegg close to the village Gries im Sellrain.
© Geological Survey of Austria

Areas of operation

In terms of a holistic and economic solution of engineering, planning and environmental issues, the engineering geology is exploring the uppermost part of Earth's crust by applying the followeing fields of geotechnique:

  • Engineering geological mapping: general geology, historical geology, remote sensing (airborne and satellite images), tectonics, structural analysis, geomechanics (rock mechanics) and soil mechanics.
  • Field experiments, in situ measurements, artificial outcrops, sampling.
  • Laboratory analysis, determination of rock physical characterisitic parameters (geotechnical material analysis).
  • Providing engineering geologic-geotechnical information basics.

Goals

  • Geotechnical safety by collecting and providing documents relating to geological and geotechnical risks and natural hazards in analog and digital form.
  • Providing information on location issues and superior and regional land use planning to facilities of governmental crisis management, geologists, federal institutions and individuals.