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EGGS Stability at the Sheikh Abd el-Qurna hill and the Valley of the Kings (Luxor, Egypt)

08 June 2022
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Event type:
Specialist Group, Evening meeting, Virtual event
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, Engineering Group
Virtual event
Event status:

Time and location

18:00 hrs, online via Zoom

Event details

The ancient Egyptian burial places at the hill Sheikh abd el-Qurna and of the Kings' Valley near Luxor in Egypt are unique sites to learn about ancient Egyptian culture, life and death. Both sites host rock-cut tombs in the Thebes Limestone and the Esna Shale formations. They allow exploring the impact of different geological settings (e.g. different lithological units and rock mass structures as well as landsliding) on tomb construction procedures and stability. The places are prone to a wide range of geological hazards such as structurally-controlled failure of built underground spaces, clay swelling and related fracturing, debris floods, and rock falls. Besides past failures, environmentally-driven processes may contribute to future instabilities of near-surface rock masses; some of them may be enhanced in a changing climate.

Speaker details

Dr Martin Ziegler is an engineering geologist at the Swiss Mont Terri Underground Research Laboratory, having previously researched and lectured at ETH Zurich. He specialises in rock behaviour via microscopic to field scale measurements, numerical discontinuum simulations, and rock mechanical tests. His work has ranged from deep nuclear waste depositories and tunnelling in Switzerland to rock slope stability and natural hazards at UNESCO World Heritage sites in Egypt – the subject of this evening’s talk. His latest projects include exploring rock swelling behaviour around tunnels, fracture self-sealing processes in Excavation Damaged Zones, and the progressive failure evolution of structurally controlled tunnel overbreaks.


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