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Engineering Geology and Geomorphology of Glaciated and Periglaciated Terrains: Engineering Group Working Party Report

Product Code: SPE28
Series: GSL Engineering Geology Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by J.S. Griffiths and C.J. Martin
Publication Date: 18 October 2017
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Engineering Geology Special Publication 28. Please scroll down for information on accessing content online.

The Engineering Group of the Geological Society Working Party brought together experts in glacial and periglacial geomorphology, Quaternary history, engineering geology and geotechnical engineering to establish best practice when working in former glaciated and periglaciated environments.  The Working Party addressed outdated terminology and reviewed the latest academic research to provide an up-to-date understanding of glaciated and periglaciated terrains. This transformative, state-of-the-art volume is the outcome of five years of deliberation and synthesis by the Working Party.  
This is an essential reference text for practitioners, students and academics working in these challenging ground conditions. The narrative style, and a comprehensive glossary and photo-catalogue of active and relict sediments, structures and landforms make this material relevant and accessible to a wide readership.

Published online 02/11/2017. Print copies published 18/10/2017. Reprinted September 2019 and April 2022.

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Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN:
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 9781786203021
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 953
Weight: 2.3 kg





Chapter 1 Introduction to engineering geology and geomorphology of glaciated and periglaciated terrains

1.1 Introduction

1.2 A history of engineering difficulties in formerly glaciated and periglaciated terrain

1.3 The Working Party

1.4 Scope of the report

1.5 Structure of the book and its contents

1.6 Using the Working Party book


Chapter 2 The Quaternary

2.1 Introduction

2.3 Resulting subdivision and timing of the Quaternary

2.4 The depositional record of sea-level changes in glaciated terrains

2.5 Terrestrial sedimentary response to Quaternary climatic fluctuations

2.6 Implications for engineering geology


Chapter 3 Geomorphological framework: glacial and periglacial sediments, structures and landforms

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Terrain evaluation

3.3 Terrain classification

3.4 Engineering geological, glacial and periglacial ground models

3.5 Glaciogenic sediment descriptors

3.6 Periglacial sediment descriptors

3.7 Macrostructural, erosional and sediment architectural element descriptors

3.8 Microstructures in glacial and periglacial sediments

3.9 Terrain unit descriptors

3.10 Glacial landsystems

3.11 Periglacial landsystems

3.12 Slope failures in glaciated and periglaciated terrains

Photo credits


Chapter 4 Conceptual glacial ground models: British and Irish case studies

4.1 Introduction and rationale

4.2 Ice-sheet-related landsystems

4.3 Upland glacial landsystems (hard bedrock terrain)

4.4 Glaciofluvial sediment–landform associations

4.5 Subaqueous glacial depositional sequences

4.6 Conclusions: reconciling landsystems and domains


Chapter 5 Periglacial and permafrost ground models for Great Britain

5.1 Introduction and rationale

5.2 Lowland periglacial terrains

5.3 Upland periglacial terrains

5.4 Conclusions


Chapter 6 Material properties and geohazards

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Ice-related terrains: subglacial, supraglacial and glaciated valley

6.3 Water-related domains (fluvial, lacustrine and marine): glaciofluvial, glaciolacustrine and glaciomarine

6.4 Ice-front-related terrains: glaciotectonic and ice marginal

6.5 Upland periglacial terrains

6.6 Lowland periglacial terrains

6.7 Local geohazards

6.8 Regional geohazards

6.9 Summary and conclusions

Appendix 6.1 Summary description of British till formations and members

Appendix 6.2 Additional Geotechnical Plots

Appendix 6.3 Particle Size Distribution and SPT ‘N’ Value Depth Plots by 100 km Grid Square


Chapter 7 Engineering investigation and assessment

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Preliminaries

7.3 Near-surface geophysics

7.4 Soil and rock descriptions

7.5 Ground investigation

7.6 Hydrogeological investigation

7.7 Engineering ground model

7.8 Conclusion


Chapter 8 Design and construction considerations

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Earthworks and man-made slopes

8.3 Tunnels and underground structures

8.4 Dams and reservoirs

8.5 Foundations

8.6 Offshore engineering and installation

8.7 Summary and key conclusions


Chapter 9 Conclusions and illustrative case studies

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Case studies

9.3 Conclusions




Arthur Tingley

This book is a...clear and complete synthesis of the combined disciplines of geomorphology, geotechnics and geology as they relate to glacial and periglacial terrains, rolled up into one rather handy bible. Mission accomplished!

The scope of the book follows a systematic description of types of sediments, structures, landforms and geomorphology of such terrains. This forms one third of the book, and amounts to an atlas and framework or ‘architecture’ of unconsolidated soils: a very significant undertaking. It has excellent photography and abundant cross referencing, to allow the practitioner to follow up a line of observation and reasoning.

This is followed by a detailed description of ground models, material properties and potential geohazards. In turn this provides a basis of specification for engineering investigation and assessment, design and construction considerations. This is accompanied by a variety of illustrative case studies taken from various parts of the world.

In my view any geologist, engineering geologist or geotechnical specialist who is engaged in practical fieldwork, or the commissioning and interpretation of site investigation reports, ought to be making arrangements to place a copy of this book at their elbow.

Featured in Geoscientist Vol. 28 No. 4

Gareth Hearn

The contents of the book will be of great interest and value to a range of researchers and geo-engineering practitioners. It is aimed at the latter, but it contains information, discussion and debate that will appeal to a wide range of readers…there is no escaping the significance and importance of this book.

While the focus is on glacial and periglacial terrain, materials and ground conditions, the breadth of discussion is much wider, informing and providing guidance on the latest terms, definitions and techniques of investigation, description, classification and interpretation.

With almost a thousand pages and weighing in at 2.2 kg this book may be difficult to pick up but will be much more difficult to put down. Its content is so intense and, in many parts, its description is so detailed that it makes compulsive reading.

Featured in the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology – Online First

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