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Environmental and Engineering Geology: Beyond the Basics

15 August 2023

This revised and expanded second edition book deals with engineering and environmental geology as one holistic discipline and, as a result, it covers an extensive subject area from plate tectonics to landfill design, to project management and tunnel design. It is arranged in four parts and the text is interspersed with multiple photographs, tables, maps, and examples to aid the reader. An extensive list of further reading is also provided. 

The book rattles through the topics, with many sections consequently feeling too condensed. For example, the Hydrology and Hydrogeology chapter covers basic hydrological concepts through to Darcy’s Law, channel morphology, and sediment yields in just 20 pages. Relevant equations are listed, but little context is given for their use. 

It is unfortunate that the section on land contamination (Chapter 14) includes references to withdrawn or superseded guidance. The summary of UK risk management techniques details the Contaminated Land Report 11, which was withdrawn in 2020. There is no mention of the Land Contamination Risk Management guidance, and, whilst the Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment model is briefly noted, there is no mention of the Remedial Targets Methodology or consideration of risks to the water environment. 

The final chapter, Emerging Issues and Professionalism, is arguably the most interesting addition, summarising potential future areas of engagement for environmental and engineering professionals. There are some interesting sections, including geoconservation and forensic geology, as well as the more obvious engagements between geologists, climate change, and renewable energy. However, the inclusion of the 2015 version of the Geological Society’s Code of Conduct, which highlights some requirements of professional geologists, rather than a more recent reference, makes the edition feel dated. 

The introduction suggests that the book would support practising geologists and engineering geologists but there may be too little detail for it to be of real use. Conversely, the extensive range of topics and terminology might make it impenetrable to anyone who is unfamiliar with the subject. I think the book tries to cover too much and the outdated references are disappointing. For context, I work for an engineering consultancy, so many of the topics covered are entirely relevant to my day-to-day work, but unfortunately the book missed the mark for me. It does, however, clearly highlight the many fascinating, intertwining facets of modern geology and is a super reminder as to what a varied and interesting career a geologist (environmental, engineering, or other) can have. 

Reviewed by Kimberley Neville 



BY: J.S. Griffiths and F.G. Bell (2023). Whittles Publishing. 630 pp. 

ISBN: 978-184995-401-3 

PRICE: £100 www.whittlespublishing.com


Publisher’s note:

‘A book for consultants would be five times as long and has already been written as the Encyclopaedia of Engineering Geology by Bobroksky and Marker, 2019. I was aiming at final year undergrads, masters students and early career engineering and environmental geologists.’