A workplace for geological engineers

Scope of Geological Engineering for Females

What is Geological Engineering

Geological engineering involves geology, civil engineering, and fields such as mining, forestry and geography. These engineers apply earth sciences to human problems. Specialty areas include geotechnical site studies of rock and soil slope stability for projects; environmental studies and planning for construction sites; groundwater studies; hazard investigations; and finding fossil fuel and mineral deposits.

Geological engineers investigate things that are part of or are made to be part of the earth, including roads, mines and quarries, dams, petroleum production, railways, building projects, pipelines, and forestry operations.

They engineer clean-up and environmental assessments where pollution occurs. They survey for minerals and drinking water; they search for building material resources, and they map potential landslides and earthquakes. The variety in this field is enormous.

What do They do

More goes into new construction than just choosing a site, laying a foundation and putting up walls. Construction companies rely on geotechnical engineers to ensure the ground the structure will sit on is solid. Like other engineering fields, the geotechnical engineering field, a subsection of civil engineering. In your role as a geotechnical engineer, you’ll work with construction companies, architects and civil engineers, helping them determine whether the land they want to build on is secure. You’ll assess the area, assisting the architect in designing around slopes and land grades. Geotechnical engineers also study how current buildings are affecting the soil and rock around them, earthquakes and geothermal activity. You’ll design other structures, including retaining walls, tunnels and terraces.

Construction industries depend on geological engineers to assure the stability of rock and soil foundations for tunnels, bridges, and high-rises. Foundations must withstand earthquakes, landslides, and all other phenomena which effect the ground, including permafrost, swamps and bogs.  

  • Construction industries depend on geological engineers to assure the stability of rock and soil foundations for tunnels, bridges, and high-rises. Foundations must withstand earthquakes, landslides, and all other phenomena which effect the ground, including permafrost, swamps and bogs.
  • Geological engineers find better ways to build and manage landfills. They find safer ways to dispose of toxic chemicals and garbage, and to manage sewage. They plan excavations and design tunnels.
  • Transportation infrastructures depend on geological engineers to determine strong terrain and safe pathways for airports, railways, highways, and even pipelines.
  • These engineers are heavily employed in energy fields, exploring for more natural resources (oil, gas, uranium, tar sands, geothermal and coal). They develop ways to mine hard-to-access resources, and in the least polluting manner. They are responsible for the safety of pits, reservoirs and mining facilities, guarding against earthquake damage and environmental risks, even for nuclear reactors.
  • Groundwater is another geological engineering specialty. Industries and farms need reliable water sources, sometimes requiring dams or well drilling. Water supply to hydroelectric dams is regulated by these engineers; they design dikes and they work at preventing shoreline erosion.
  • Ore and other metallic mineral deposits (lead, zinc, iron, nickel, copper) are essential to transportation and construction industries. Geological engineers discover new sources of minerals, as present supplies diminish.

Who You’ll Work For

Careers in the geotechnical field can take you all over the country and even the world. Employers of geotechnical engineers include engineering consulting firms, research laboratories, government agencies and private companies. You could also enter academia and teach future geotechnical engineers. Many of these specialists consult for engineering or environmental firms. Many are employed by highway departments, environmental protection agencies, forest services, and hydro operations.

Some careers involve extensive traveling to building sites, and you’ll spend most of your time out in the field studying the ground. Most girls prefer office work instead of field work.


Better advice for field work

Well that depends on the girl. I have seen some of my classmates who can climb a high hill just as good as a guy… in some cases even better than a guy. It’s all about endurance. Most of the girls though… barring a few can’t really do field work because they are too tired from the trekking to even observe their surroundings. It also depends on the field you are choosing… suppose you pick remote sensing… then field work would be necessary but minimal. If you pick something like structural geology, petrology etc. then you will have to go to the field. Here is something my sir said to the students “The most difficult thing in Geology is to walk in the scorching sun but know that it’s always going to be there so there is no point complaining about it. Instead make friends with the sun. Once you do that it won’t seem that hard”.

Interview of a geological engineer working on field

I am involved with the site investigation phase of an offshore project development. My office is located within the laboratory container and I work closely with an offshore geotechnical technician. I am involved with all in-situ testing, including CPT, BPT, seismic CPT and soil sampling. I am involved from the very beginning with the calibration and maintenance of our tools and equipment to the processing of data and creating deliverables for the client. I have a very close relationship with the OPS department and the drillers, with a significant amount of time spent within the drill container monitoring the drilling and testing during Portable Remotely Operated Drill (PROD) operations. I generate soil descriptions and conduct testing on the core samples we retrieve and bring back on deck.

The offshore environment is certainly not for everyone. It’s a male-dominated environment and, depending on the boat, can lack a lot of home comforts. The ages of people I currently work with falls mostly between 30 and 45. I have yet to work with anyone younger than myself.

I may just be very fortunate to have worked for companies where being a female is not discriminated against at all. Of course, comments are made during the project about me being a female, but that is natural and I’m sure women get that in all roles and walks of life, no matter the industry.

If you’re a woman who will get easily offended by jokes guys may say, this is not the job for you. But if you’re prepared to get your hands dirty, make sacrifices and travel around the world, then go for it! I have no regrets at all when it comes to my career choice. Do not be put off by the fact that it’s a male-dominated industry. If you are a confident and hard-working individual, then gender does not come into the equation. Working offshore has given me the opportunity to create some of the best memories that I will keep forever. 

Final word  

We hope that this article helped you about scope of Geological Engineering for girls.

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