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GeoSystems Engineering


Areas of Emphasis

The GeoSystems Program offers graduate studies in the following 3 areas:

Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering

  • Soil Mechanics
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Coastal & Offshore Geotechnics
  • Repository Design and Site Remediation

The program in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering provides a broad, integrated, state-of-the-art course of studies in order to prepare you for a leadership role in practice and research.

From its beginnings in the early 1950's, the Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering program has grown significantly in its breadth. Today, in addition to traditional strengths in geotechnical earthquake engineering, numerical methods, constitutive modeling, and soil behavior, the program benefits from its close integration with engineering geology, applied geophysics, and seismology.

Equipment and facilities include an extensive array of state-of-the-art testing systems, including triaxial equipment in sizes up to 90 cm diameter; one and two-directional cyclic simple shear and torsional shear equipment; advanced triaxial and consolidation testing systems optimized for a variety of static and dynamic property evaluations; a scale model testing laboratory equipped for both static and dynamic testing model studies; and specialized equipment for coupled flow experiments.

Engineering Geology and Rock Mechanics

  • Hydrogeology
  • Engineering Geology
  • Rock Mechanics

The Engineering Geology and Rock Mechanics program focuses on the application of geologic and engineering principles to the solution of various types of geotechnical and mining engineering problems.

This program traces its beginnings to the 1930's when the pioneering work of Professor Parker Trask showed the importance of using sound understanding of geology and the geologic setting in the evaluation of engineering properties of sedimentary deposits in the design of the foundations for the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Since then the program has evolved to its current breadth. The program is inherently interdisciplinary and draws on the contributions of the entire GeoSystems faculty and on resources in other departments such as Earth and Planetary Science.

The program boasts exceptional laboratory facilities including an ultra-stiff 1 million-pound loading machine, 24 channel quantitative acoustic emission monitoring, and a high-pressure polyaxial steam-driven loading cell. The experimental facility also develops advanced sensors, particularly in the area of MEMS-based wireless autonomous sensor nodes.

Applied Geophysics

  • Applied Seismology
  • Signal Processing
  • Electromagnetic Methods
  • Gravimetry

The Applied Geophysics program offers comprehensive courses and broad research opportunities in geophysical methods for mapping subsurface properties of the ground.

The program was created originally in 1962, as Engineering Geoscience, to focus teaching and research on the use of geophysical methods for mineral exploration. Over time the objective evolved to encompass the general problem of subsurface imaging and to more diverse applications in geological mapping, reservoir characterization, groundwater, environmental remediation, geotechnics, archaeology and ordnance detection. In response to this expanded mission the Applied Geophysics faculty moved its program to CEE GeoSystems (Geoengineering) in 2000.

The courses provide quantitative understanding of the fundamental physics and mathematics of the seismic, electrical, electromagnetic, magnetic and gravity methods and of the instrumentation, data processing and interpretation needed for field surveys. Research is currently conducted on the geophysical methods themselves, numerical modeling and interpretation and on applications in a variety of geological/engineering fields.

We thank the following platinum and gold sponsors for supporting our students: