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Geoscientist Online

Geological Hazards in the UK: Their Occurrence, Monitoring and Mitigation

Giles geohazardsThe aim of this publication is to assist geoscientists to communicate the interaction of geological hazards (geohazards) with society. The main objectives are based around improving awareness and understanding of geohazards to aid the identification, management and mitigation of such hazards in the UK. This is in the context of the range, variety and geographical distribution of geohazards, identified as a consequence of a varied geology and geomorphology, and the impact and legacy of anthropogenic activity, including mining and land management.

Chapter one provides a useful introduction to the concept of a geological hazard, followed in turn, by an overview of the history of significant geohazards in the UK; terms of reference of the working party group; and an overview of the five main sections (A-E) into which the 18 subsequent chapters have been grouped.

Section A - Tectonic hazards, covers seismic and tsunami hazard;  Section B - Slope stability hazards, covers landslide and slope stability hazard, as well as debris flows; Section C - Problematic ground and geotechnical hazards, covers collapsible soils, quick clay behaviour in sensitive Quaternary marine clays, swelling and shrinking soils, peat hazards, and relict periglacial hazards; Section  D - Mining and subsidence hazards, covers subsidence from coal, chalk and flint mining, hazards associated with mining and mineral exploration in Cornwall and Devon, geohazards  associated with salt mining and brine extraction, carbonate dissolution, gypsum and anhydrite, mining-induced fault reactivation; Section E - Gas hazards, covers radon and methane gas hazards.

It is probably the first time that such a comprehensive body of research and knowledge on geohazards in the UK has been brought together into one volume. The report achieves its aim and objectives very well, is overall well-structured and illustrated, supported by extensive case history information, and should prove an essential reference document for geohazards in the UK.

It will appeal to a range of practitioners who may be involved with geohazards and their effects, including geoscientists, civil and geotechnical engineers, planning and risk managers among others. It will also appeal to undergraduates and postgraduates studying or researching geohazards, or looking to augment their knowledge and understanding, where they may not have specialised in a course with a geohazard content.  

Reviewed by Dr Colin J. Serridge      

GEOLOGICAL HAZARDS IN THE UK: THEIR OCCURRENCE, MONITORING AND MITIGATION – ENGINEERING GROUP WORKING PARTY REPORT, by Giles, D.P. & Griffiths, J.S. eds. (2020) Geological Society of London Engineering Geology Special Publication No 29. 490 pp. (hbk) ISBN 978-1-78620-461-5. ISSN 0267-9914.  List Price: £140.00 Fellow's price: £ 70.00 W: https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SPE29