Geological engineering is a specialised field of geology and engineering. This sub-discipline that is somewhat related to the master stream of civil engineering, concerns with all the geological attributes in any engineering work. Which means the location, design, operation, construction and maintenance is understood and accounted for any engineering project.
A geological engineer primarily deal with earth-structure interactions and studies how different earth processes impact man-made structures and human activities. The geological engineer also has the responsibility to give geotechnical and geological recommendations by analysing the designs associated with human driven developmental and structural activities. Assessments of geological hazards, properties of materials, landslide and slope stability, erosion, flooding and investigations of seismic data are duties that come under the profile of a geological engineer.
A good geological engineer must have a defined understanding and must be able to interpret data related to natural processes and how these affect man-made structures. S/he also need to analyse how human-made structures may negatively impact the environment. The main role of a geological engineer is to ensure the protection of life and property from potential damage attributed to geological conditions. Studies in this field are performed in stages: planning, impact analysis of activities and processes on the environment, structural engineering design, value engineering in the construction and post-construction phases.
One of the primary attributes that a geological engineer must possess is a technical understanding of geological processes. S/he should be able to identify and analyse potential hazards and must have a problem-solving ability to creatively offer solutions. They should be good team players willing to work as part of a team or independently, if the need arises. As part of their jobs, geological engineers may also need to travel to remote locations.
As such geological engineering is not offered in Indian colleges, but students who take up geological engineering through specialization and higher studies can look at the following jobs and prospects to have a lasting career in geological engineering:
Drilling Engineers are responsible for theplanning, developing and overseeing oil and gas well operations. They also devise the costing of the operations along with being involved in the well design and testing processes up to completion of the project.
Environmental Consultant is another career option for geological engineers who want to make a mark in compliance consulting. Environmental consultants need to ensure that their clients maintain an appropriate measure of compliance with environmental regulations. These consultants offer advice to clients to steer clear of fines, legal action or misguided transactions.
Environmental Engineer is responsible for preparing and updating environmental investigation reports, innovative designing of environmental protection projects and their implementation and advising corporations and government agencies to spearhead the clean-up of contaminated sites.
Minerals Surveyor assess possible mining sites to ascertain its commercial potential with a thorough risk assessment, environmental impact study and mineral deposit mapping. They assist in the negotiation of legal contracts and establish mine-working rights.
Sustainability Consultant: Employed primarily by organisations looking to boost their environmental performance, sustainability consultants offer expert guidance on reducing organisational carbon footprint, development of environmentally friendly products and adoption of LEED green building standards. They play a vital role in guiding clients to approach their business objectives in a socially responsible, economic and environmentally sustainable approach.