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Engineering Considerations for Geologic Structures


Effects and Civil Engineering Importance of:

o Folds o Faults o Joints o Unconformities

1. Effects of Folding
o Change in attitude

o Shattering of rocks
o Weak in strength parameters o Porous and pervious in nature o Strained nature

Importance in Civil Engineering

1. Location of dams 2. Location of reservoirs 3. Location of tunnels 4. Quarrying 5. Ground water occurrence 6. Laying roads and railway tracks along hill slopes 7. Oil, gas and ore deposits

1. Location of Dams 2. Location of Reservoirs

1. Dam on upstream dipping beds
2. Dam on horizontal beds

3. Dam on downstream dipping beds

Case 1: Dam on upstream dipping beds

Downstream side

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Case 2: Dam on horizontal beds

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Case 3: Dam on downstream dipping beds

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3. Location of Tunnels
o Folded rocks are greatly strained, their removal, for tunneling can cause rock explosions o Along crests of folds, the rocks are in tension, therefore highly unstable o Along the troughs, rocks are highly compressed, hence tough, offer greater resistance to

excavation for tunneling

o Tunneling can be done along the limbs

Effects of Folding on Tunneling

Parbin Singh


4. Quarrying
Should be done along the limbs: o Better quality of rocks available o Fractures associated with crests and troughs are absent along the limbs o Seepage problems along the crests and troughs can be avoided


5. Ground water Occurrence

o Synclines often furnish excellent conditions to tap ground water o Artesian wells and springs originate from synclines o Fractures present in folded strata act as channels for ground water movement


6. Roads and Railway tracks along hill slopes

o Ground stability depends on the mutual relation of the dip of the beds and the slope of the cutting

o If the surface slope and the dip are in opposite

directions, the ground is stable o If the surface slope and the dip collide, the ground is unstable

Stable and Unstable slopes



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7. Oil, Gas and Ore deposits

o Oil and gas deposits are often associated with anticlines o Suitable cap rocks, are also an essential requirement o Crests of folds offer convenient places for the occurrence of ore deposits


Oil, gas and ore deposits

Ore deposits in anticline Oil & gas occurrence in anticline

Chenna Kesavulu


2. Effects of Faulting
o Fracture and shattering of rocks along fault zones o Serves as pathways for water, causes leakage o Fault zone lubricated with water are potential

sites for further movements

o Gouge and breccia causes problems

o Faults bring together, different rocks, hence

homogeneity is lost

Faulting considerations
o What are the effects of faulting on the rocks in the site? o Is it possible to build safe structures, with or without ground treatment? o What is the factor of safety to be adopted, if there is no alternative available?


Importance in Civil Engineering

1. Location of dams

2. Location of reservoirs
3. Location of tunnels 4. Quarrying 5. Ground water occurrence 6. Laying roads and railway tracks along hill slopes 7. Oil, gas and ore deposits

1. Faults at dam site

Upstream side

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2. Location of reservoirs
o Faults cause leakage of water, if present in the reservoir basin o Downstream dipping faults cause excess uplift pressure o Fault zone occurring in the upstream of the river, leads to erosion and accelerated reservoir



3. Location of Tunnels
o Faults zones, being heavily fractured, makes tunneling unstable o Ground water associated problems are likely to occur o Renewed faulting can lead to ground displacement


4. Quarrying
o Quarrying in fault zones produce inferior materials, quantitatively and qualitatively

5. Roads & Railway tracks along slopes

o Fault zones are highly undesirable for construction of roads and railway, due to the

possibility of landslides


6. Ground water occurrence

o Faults zones, being heavily fractured, makes provides space for storage of ground water and permits their movement

7. Ore minerals
o Faults zones, are often rich in minerals o They favor different process that eventually lead to mineral formation

Construction in faulted regions

1. Ascertain the presence of faults, their type,

nature, extent and effects

2. Study the seismic history of the region 3. Introduce a factor of safety in the design


3. Effects of Joints
o Sources of weakness in rocks, pathways for
seepage of water o Jointed rocks, lubricated by the presence of water, are susceptible to motion o Joints are usually treated by grouting o Only a well jointed and porous rock can become a good aquifer or an oil and gas reservoir


Importance in Civil Engineering

1. Location of dams and reservoirs 2. Occurrence of landslides 3. Quarrying 4. Tunneling


1. Location of dams and reservoirs

o Too many joints in a site, will render it
unsuitable for construction of dams o They act as avenues for serious leakage of water o Upstream dipping joints are less harmful


2. Occurrence of Landslides
o Landslides take place, when the surface slope of
the hills and the dip of the beds are in the same direction o Joints facilitate the heavy percolation of water o This water comes in contact with clayey material below the ground, producing fine lubricating materials, which causes the slipping

of over lying rocks


3. Quarrying
o Depending on conditions, joints can play a
helpful or harmful role in quarrying o Joints cut in situ rocks, which can be easily extracted, without the use of explosives o Too many joints, on the other hand, render quarrying useless, due to excessive decay of rocks


4. Tunneling
o Joints can severely hamper the strength of rocks
o They may cause rocks to fall from the roof of the tunnel o Joints can cause the ground to be saturated with water, decreasing the strength of the rocks o They may act as sites for the development of solution cavities in limestone terrain


4. Engineering considerations for Unconformities

o They allow the percolation of water o Unconformity indicates a break in the sequence of rocks, and hence, their engineering properties o Hence, exhaustive studies have to be done, to

analyze the mechanical properties of rocks in

the vicinity of an unconformity

Parbin Singh, Engineering and General Geology, S K Kataria & Sons

Chenna Kesavulu, N, Textbook of Engineering Geology,

MacMillan India Reddy, D V, Engineering Geology, Vikas Publishing House Garg, S K, Physical and Engineering Geology, Khanna

Thompson, G R and J Turk, Introduction to Physical

Geology, Thomson Brooks/Cole