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Engineering geological research

Engineering geology is a science dedicated to research, study and solving of engineering and environmental problems which arise from the interaction between geological properties and engineering practices. Engineering geology is also involved with planning and development of protection measures against geological hazards.

As a part of its scope of investigation, the Engineering Geological (EG) Thematic Group of the Croatian Geological Survey performs scientific and professional research of the EG properties of the terrain, which serve as a foundation for construction of EG maps, accompanying explanatory notes and EG reports, including analysis and appropriate representation of the EG properties of rock mass and soils, as well as of the exogenous processes and phenomena. The basic assignment of the group is construction of the Basic Engineering Geological Map of the Republic of Croatia. In addition, it also works on an international research project and intensely performs applied engineering geological research for commercial projects.

Engineering geological investigations open and solve the scientific and professional engineering geological problems (exodynamic processes, physical and mechanical properties of rock mass and soil…) using the methods of fundamental geological disciplines, EG measuring in situ, as well as the results of geophysical and laboratory geotechnical analyses. Concern committed to discovery and analysis of cause and effect of various exodynamic processes and phenomena (landslides, erosion, dredging…) contributes to easier understanding of the problem, which in turn allows the quantitative assessment of the probability forecast for certain phenomena in a selected area (hazard and risk assessment).

The results of engineering geological research, as the basis for geotechnical projects, are directly applicable in spatial planning, evaluation of terrain suitability for construction of major infrastructural objects, or in construction planning, water management, electric power industry, mining, and elsewhere. By the same token, as part of natural background in the process of planning, they enable the development and urbanization of the Republic of Croatia in accordance with the geological environment, thus contributing to safety, stability and economic viability of objects and, most importantly, to environmental protection.

Detailed engineering geological field research provided the input data necessary for the production of hazard maps of the urbanized area of the City of Zagreb

As part of its collaboration with the economic sector, the Engineering Geological Thematic Group offers valuable information and knowledge about natural systems and points out the possibilities for their exploitation. The infrastructural development of the country inevitably requires anthropogenic spatial interventions (roads, tunnels, railroads, dams, water accumulation, etc.). In this, the only way for efficient spatial interventions is to apply the understanding of the EG properties of natural systems and to work closely with spatial planners and designers. This is also a key factor in ensuring sustainable development and environmental protection. This has been shown in former practice concerning the selection of alternative highway routes, locations of tunnels, bridges or viaducts, and other.

Dalmatina highway, Ravča-Ploče 1 section, Golubinka tunnel, detailed EG map, scale 1:1,000

Dalmatina highway, Sv. Rok-Maslenica section with Čelinka, Bristovac and Ledenik tunnels. Visible in the background are "Tulove grede" beneath which lies the south portal of the St. Rok tunnel

Dalmatina highway, Vrpolje - Dugopolje section, Radoš area. Even fracture along the bedding plane of high persistence

Formation of a wedge-shaped fracture in a carbonate rock mass

It is a continuous intention of the Department to implement new procedures and methods of data collection and analysis in engineering geological research. New and more up to date equipment was obtained for in situ measurements, sampling and analysis. In 2008, a ShapeMatriX3D system was obtained for 3D measurements of discontinuities, i.e. EG and geotechnical parameters of rock mass (orientation, distance, and continuity of fractures…). This system allows better and faster collection of large quantities of data, which is particularly important on poorly accessible filed locations (high road cuts, slopes and tunnels). It is based on photogrammetric methods of stereo-pairs and new digital 3D visualization technology ("computer vision"). The quantity of collected data ensures a high statistical reliability of the analysis and interpretation of basic geometric discontinuity properties.

Penetrometer for measuring the undrained consistency of coherent materials

Sampling of dolomite rock mass for laboratory analysis

Measuring of the basic geometrical discontinuity properties in the Apatišan quarry (north Velebit), using the ShapeMatriX3D system

Statistical processing of the orientation of discontinuity sets measured using the ShapeMatriX3D system

By the end of 2009, the new engineering geological laboratory will be finished, which will be used to define EG properties of rock and soil materials in order to produce the Basic Engineering Geological Map. The laboratory will facilitate scientific studies in the fields of engineering geology and technical petrography, which were less studied so far.

Uređenje prostora budućeg inženjerskogeološkog laboratorija Hrvatskog geološkog instituta