Engineering Geology focuses on the interaction between rock masses and the environment as well as man-made operations, with emphasis on engineering rock mechanics, engineering geology, and geotechnical aspects of earthquake engineering.
Israel is experiencing a rapid and extensive infrastructure expansion that involves widespread interference and penetration into natural rock masses. Some examples of such activities include surface and deep mining operations, excavation of underground transportation routes, and the foundation of complex structures on rocks. These engineering applications call for experts in geological mapping and layout of a site, with the ability to prepare a sound geological model of the subsurface, explore the mechanical properties of the rocks at the site, perform and analyze laboratory test results, and provide preliminary stability evaluation of the site.
Israel is located in a seismically active zone, specifically the active Dead Sea Rift fault system, with the potential to generate earthquakes of magnitudes greater than 7.0 that can cause major economic disruption. Therefore, site stability evaluation must include potential seismic risk such as seismically-induced landslides and ground liquefaction hazards, which must be addressed with high reliability using modern geomechanics principles.
The program includes a single-track 3-year B.Sc. program, and a recently launched dual-degree program in Geology and Structural Engineering. The program is founded upon a strong background in core courses in geology and an enhanced mathematical background, including two advanced-level calculus courses in the first year of studies, linear algebra in the second year, and probability and statistics at an advanced level in the third year. More numerate students are encouraged to also elect a course in differential equations and programming during the third year. Geomechanics is mandatory for all second-year students, but the students of this track take additional mandatory courses in Rock Mechanics in their second year and Rock Tunnelling and Rock Slope Stability in their third year. Engineering Mechanics and Strength of Materials in the Department of Structural Engineering are mandatory in their second year, as well as a soil mechanics laboratory, and a rock mechanics laboratory in the third year.
The Department is well equipped, with advanced rock-mechanics testing equipment, including hydraulic, high capacity, servo-controlled triaxial and direct shear load frames, a rather complete index properties laboratory with soil classification equipment, point load and Brazilian, ultrasonic velocity, permeability, and thermal conductivity measurement devices, and a helium porosimeter.
Students of these tracks are prepared well for employment in industry, research, and academic institutions in Israel and abroad.