Engineering Geological Characterization and Mapping


Students should dominate several field and laboratory techniques of geotechnical exploration, their benefits and limitations, since they are as important for geological engineers as the knowledge of analysis and design using the parameters obtained from field/laboratory tests.

Besides, they will also gather sufficient knowledge on the application of parameters in the framework of assessing an engineering geological zonation of the ground. So, it is intended that students must acquire the skills that allow them to develop engineering geological or geoenvironmental mapping studies for supporting site studies of civil engineering design, risk analysis and regional and urban planning

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Pedro Calé da Cunha Lamas


Weekly - 5

Total - 82

Teaching language



No special requirements, but the previous knowlege of mechanical exploration techniques, and of soil mechanics and engineering geology classes are advisable.

The presence of the students on, at least, two thirds of the classes is required, unless they are registered under a special status.


DAS, BM, 2000. Fundamentals of geotechnical engineering. Brooks/Cole, USA.
DEARMAN, WR, 1991. Engineering geological mapping. Butterworth, Oxford.
GONZALLES VALLEJO LI(coord.), 2002.Geological Engineering (in Spanish). Prentice Hall, Madrid.
IAEG/UNESCO, 1976. Engineering geological maps - a guide to their preparation. The Unesco Press, Paris, Earth Sciences, nº15.
LNEC/SPG, 1992. International seminar on in situ tests (in Portug.). LNEC, Lisboa.
SCHNAID F, 2000. Field tests and its applications to foundations engineering (in Port.).
Oficina de Textos, SP.
SILVA, APF, 2003.
Engineering geological mapping of Almada county and Geo-Almada I.S. (in Portug.), PHd, UNL, Lisboa.
SMOLTCZYK, U (ed.) 2002. Geotechnical engineering handbook, Ernst & Sohn; Vol.1; Chap.1.3 (Geotechnical field investigation). 
 ZUQUETTE LV & GANDOLFI, N, 2004. Engineering geological mapping (in Port.).
SP: Oficina de textos.

Teaching method

Theoretical classes with audiovisual media support (powerpoint) that students can access from the Clip platform. Students must check the references provided for additional information. Practical classes which include the observation of several methodologies of engineering geological mapping, solving problems involving data took from different in situ tests, engineering geological field mapping and lab tests (for identification, physical and mechanical properties of the collected samples).

Evaluation method

Continuous evaluation by two tests (respectively 25% + 35% of the final grade) and one final report about field mapping and several laboratory tests (40%).

Subject matter

Engineering Geological Mapping (EGM): Origin, evolution and contents; geotechnical and lithogenetic units. Classification; examples of methodologies and related information. IAEG approvals. 2.5D and 3D EGM. Geotechnical Zoning (GZ). Practical application to field studies.

Geotechnical characterization. Field tests versus lab tests. Characterization of sandy soil and clay soils. Weathering profiles. Field mechanical characterization: SPT (correction factors and correlations) and other dynamic penetrometers (DPL; DPH, DPSH). Equipments, test conduction, results and correlation factors of Static penetration cone test (CPT, CPTu / piezocone, SCPTu), Vane shear test (VST), Pressuremeter test (PMT) and Plate bearing test (PLT).

Main lab tests for soils with standards application.


Programs where the course is taught: