Geological engineering

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Geological engineering

Geological engineering is a hybrid discipline that comprises or combines elements of civil engineering, mining engineering, petroleum engineering, and earth sciences. Geological engineers often become licensed as both engineers and geologists. There are thirteen geological-engineering (or geoengineering) programs in the United States that are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET:

  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  • University of Alaska-Fairbanks
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Utah
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Other schools offer programs or classes in geological engineering, including the University of Arizona. Geoengineering or geological engineering, engineering geology, and geotechnical engineering deal with the discovery, development, and production and use of subsurface earth resources, as well as the design and construction of earthworks. Geoengineering is the application of geosciences, where mechanics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and geology are used to understand and shape our interaction with the earth. Geoengineers work in areas of

  1. mining, including surface and subsurface excavations, and rock burst mitigation
  2. energy, including hydraulic fracturing and drilling for exploration and production of water, oil, or gas
  3. infrastructure, including underground transportation systems and isolation of nuclear and hazardous wastes; and
  4. environment, including groundwater flow, groundwater monitoring and remediation, and hydraulic structures.

Professional geoscience organizations such as the American Rock Mechanics Association or the Geo-Institute and academic degrees such as the bachelor of geoengineering accredited by ABET acknowledge the broad scope of work practiced by geoengineers and stress fundamentals of science and engineering methods for the solution of complex problems. Geoengineers study the mechanics of rock, soil, and fluids to improve the sustainable use of earth’s finite resources, where problems appear with competing interests, for example, groundwater and waste isolation, offshore oil drilling and risk of spills, natural gas production and induced seismicity.

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Geological engineering
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