Popularizing Geological Education among Civil Engineering Students

By Xiang-jun, Chen; Ying, Zhou | Journal of Geoscience Education, August 2012 | Go to article overview

Popularizing Geological Education among Civil Engineering Students


Xiang-jun, Chen, Ying, Zhou, Journal of Geoscience Education


ABSTRACT

The sustainable development of an economy and a society cannot be realized without the help of modern geoscience. Engineering geology knowledge is necessary on a civil engineering construction site to ensure the construction work goes smoothly. This paper first discusses the importance of geoscience, especially the study of engineering geology. Then, the current Chinese engineering geology course for civil engineering students is summarized. The engineering geology course at Shijiazhuang Tiedao University is described in detail, including its history, its content, and some teaching tactics for the course. The paper closes with an evaluation of the effects of the teaching tactics. © 2022 National Association of Geoscience Teachers. [DOI: 10.5408/10-207.1]

Key words: engineering geology, civil engineering

IMPORTANCE OF GEOLOGICAL STUDY

On 19 June 2007, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jia-bao, who is also a geologist, expounded on the importance of geological study when he talked with officials of the International Union of Geological Sciences. The prime minister said he believes that the tasks of modern geoscience, which is closely connected with the economy, society, and environment, are to support the sustainable development of the economy and society, protect Earth's environment, and achieve ongoing harmony between man and nature (Wen Jia-bao, 2009).

The global view of man and nature has gradually attracted attention through the decades of works since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which was convened in 1972. The conference called on nations to devote attention to the environmental problems of Earth. The strong influence of human activity on Earth has reached a global scale, and it has brought into being a complex, interactional, and accelerated system tied to social and economic activities. Some human activities may change the Earth system and endanger the survival of mankind. Thus, it is necessary for the development of humans to be in harmony with nature.

The harmony between nature and humans cannot be achieved without correct understanding about the evolution history and movement rules of Earth. China's national engineering practice in recent years indicates that the success of all major construction projects, like the South - to-North Water Diversion Project, Qinghai-Tibet Railway, West-East Gas Transmission, and Three Gorges Dam, is closely linked with geological science. Some important lessons come with the economic achievements of national construction projects. Immoderate exploitation and reformation of nature incur retaliation of nature. The progress of geological science can tell humans how to exploit and utilize resources reasonably, reduce consumption of resources, reduce environmental damage, and prevent geological hazards. The harmony between Earth and humans fundamentally depends on the progress of geology. Improving the level of geological research can help humans face the challenges of energy scarcity, environment destruction, natural disasters, and so on.

DEVELOPMENT OF ENGINEERING GEOLOGY

Engineering geology is an applied specialty of geology that interlinks geology with civil engineering. Its task is to analyze and solve geology problems related to human activities and human engineering (i.e., engineering geology problems) using principles and methods of geology and knowledge of civil engineering and mathematical mechanics. Engineering geology problems usually appear in two forms: human activities restricted by the geological environment and human activities potentially affecting the geological environment. The goal of engineering geology research is to make reasonable evaluations about, scientific evaluations of, and correct improvements for the occurrence of possible geological problems in the interaction between the ecological environment and human activities. On the one hand, engineering geology aims to ensure construction is technically feasible and economically reasonable; on the other hand, it is designed to fully use yet properly protect the environment and thus ensure human survival. …

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