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Engineering Geology

The geologic conditions at a site can play a significant role in determining the economic feasibility and constructability of proposed developments or construction projects. SPC’s licensed staff of professional geologists, engineering geologists, and hydrogeologists are experienced in the collection and interpretation of geologic data to address potential geologic and seismic hazards that can affect our client’s projects. Our in-house personnel have expertise in the following areas:

  • Earthwork and grading
  • Geologic hazard evaluations
  • Seismic hazard assessments
  • Slope stability/landslide evaluations
  • Feasibility studies
  • Hydrogeological studies
  • Earthquake fault studies for private developers, public agencies, contractors, and engineering firms.

Feasibility Studies

Preliminary studies provide our clients with and early assessment of the geologic constraints, which could greatly influence the project feasibility or design. Engineering geologic investigations often involve:

  • Research and review of published geologic maps
  • Research and review of fault/seismic hazard data
  • Field geologic mapping

Studies also commonly involve subsurface exploration to determine the extent and geologic condition of the soil, bedrock, and groundwater beneath the site. SPC staff are experienced with a wide range of geologic data acquisition methods utilized during excavation and logging of exploratory trenches and bore holes, sampling of soil, bedrock and groundwater, and monitoring of slope movement or groundwater conditions.

Fault Studies & Seismicity

SPC's  objective is to identify the geologic conditions at the site that could present potential hazards to a proposed development or may require special mitigation measures or design recommendations. Our studies include:

  • Earthquake fault hazard zones - ground cracking, rupture, and settlement
  • Seismic shaking hazard zones - liquefaction potential, lateral spreading, and tsunamis
  • Slope stability – landslides, mudflows, rock fall, and erosion
  • Soils – Collapsible, expansive, compressive, and organic (peat)
  • Groundwater conditions and potential for surface flooding

Geologic Hazards

The objective of a geologic hazard investigation is to develop the best possible understanding of geologic conditions so that information can be used to mitigate any identified hazards and to reduce future risks. SPC provides services for identification of geologic hazards that include:

  • Surface mapping
  • Subsurface investigation
  • Installation and monitoring of slope inclinometers
  • Geologic modeling of materials underlying a slope
  • Landslide investigation

The above tasks can lead to the following analyses:

  • Fault location studies to evaluate the presence of active faulting and fault rupture potential
  • Deterministic and probabilistic seismic hazard analyses to evaluate potential earthquake magnitudes and anticipated ground accelerations, and to provide seismic design recommendations to the project design team
  • Evaluation of the potential impacts of shallow subsurface ground water conditions on the planning, design, and construction phases of a proposed development
  • Hydrological studies to identify the groundwater conditions for water resource potential, design construction dewatering, and assessment of hazards related to slope stability and liquefaction potential
  • Investigations of the various types of potentially damaging slope stability problems (including landslides, debris flows, rock falls, erosion, soil settlement, and slope creep) are intended to assess the potential risks associated with hillside properties, and to develop recommendations for appropriate mitigation or repair

Hydrogeological Studies

SPC has the capability to evaluate the hydrogeological conditions and movement of groundwater through soil media to assist constructability given specific groundwater conditions, groundwater monitoring, and other needs.