Mechanical Exploration


The students who succeed in this unit must be able to understand and select the main mechanical exploration and logging techniques used for the implementation of site investigation studies developed in the framework of geotechnical design or resources exploration.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Ana Paula Fernandes da Silva, Sofia Verónica Trindade Barbosa


Weekly - 3

Total - 38

Teaching language



No special requirements, but the previous attendance to Geophysical classes is advisable.


ASSOC. BRASILEIRA GEOL. DE ENG.ª, Geologia de Engenharia. Páginas e Letras, Editora Gráfica, São Paulo, Sp. Brasil. 1998. (in portuguese)

LÓPEZ JIMENO C. et al., Manual de sondeos. Madrid : Carlos López Jimeno. 2000.

VALLEJO L. I. G., & FERRER M., Geological Engineering. CRC Press Balkema Group. 2011.

SILVA, Paula F. et al., 6: Estudos geológicos e geotécnicos para estruturas de conversão de energia das ondas em offshore. In L. Zuquette, Geotecnia Ambiental. São Paulo: Elsevier Campus. 2015. (in portuguese)

SILVA, Paula F. Subsurface exploration. In: Bobrowsky, P. & Marker, B. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology. Cham: SPRINGER INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING AGp. 887-895

Teaching method

Theoretical classes with audiovisual media support.

Practical classes which include speciality reports analysis, core logging, powerpoint presentations by students and field trips.

Evaluation method

2 midterm tests (T1, T2) plus a group task (Tg) will be graded and allow to be dismissed from final exam.

The maximum final classification will be calculated as follow:

Final grade: 0,8.(T1+T2)/2 + 0,2.(Tg) = 20 values

Access for the Final Exam will be guaranteed in the case of, at least, 2/3 of attendance of all classes and presentation of the group task.

The frequency of the unit will be valid for the corresponding academic year. In case of failure of the final exam, it will be valid too for the following academic year.

Subject matter

Site investigation. Mechanical exploration methods and in situ tests. Definition, purposes and programing.
Direct methods: trenches, pits, shafts and galleries. Direct and semi direct methods: boreholes, penetration probes and in situ tests; characterization, domain of application and equipments. Presentation of results. Some common correlations. Borehole logging and drilling parameters registration.
Soil and water sampling and sampling methods. Soil samplers. Sample quality, reliability, validity and representativity; their influence in the studies.
Introduction to the most common geotechnical tests performed along the exploration, their main purposes and limitations.
Preparation of reports, price lists and specifications for the site investigation programs.


Programs where the course is taught: