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An engineering geologist logging rock core in the field, Western Australia. Engineering geology is the application of the geology to engineering study for the purpose of assuring that the geological factors regarding the location, design, construction, operation and maintenance of engineering works are recognized and accounted for. Engineering geologists provide geological and geotechnical recommendations, analysis, and design associated with human development and various types of structures.
The realm of the engineering geologist is essentially in the area of earth-structure interactions, or investigation of how the earth or earth processes impact human made structures and human activities. Engineering geology studies may be performed during the planning, environmental impact analysis, civil or structural engineering design, value engineering and construction phases of public and private works projects, and during post-construction and forensic phases of projects. The principal objective of the engineering geologist is the protection of life and property against damage caused by various geological conditions.
The practice of engineering geology is also very closely related to the practice of geological engineering and geotechnical engineering. If there is a difference in the content of the disciplines, it mainly lies in the training or experience of the practitioner. Although the study of geology has been around for centuries, at least in its modern form, the science and practice of engineering geology only commenced as a recognized discipline until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first book titled Engineering Geology was published in 1880 by William Penning.