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(BFC 21303)
Dr Mohd Khaidir Abu Talib
South East Tower FKAAS Level 5 (No. 5)

Department of Infrastructure and Geomatic Engineering

Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Tun Hussein Onn University Of Malaysia

Geology – the study of the planet earth, its origin,
history, composition, structure and dynamics of how it

The term ‘Geology’ has been derived from the Greek

words Geo + logos where Geo means Earth and logos
means discourse (study or science).

Geological events during geological time are still

occurring at present in the earth.


The geological process is recorded in the rocks.

Engineering geology is a subfield of geological study

and give the geological inputs to solve the
engineering problems.

Engineering geology will interpret the rocks

properties and geological structures in relation with
engineering works. (Goodman,1993).


The Engineering geology in practice are responsible in

civil engineering projects that involve the earth or
earth materials which include
1. The identification and evaluation of the physical
environment of the site and
2. The analysis of the impact of the geologic processes
on the proposed project.

As a result, it is important to the civil engineers to

understand about history, nature and the variety
behavior of the soil and rock.

Application of geological
Think …???


Engineering geology input:

a) In the planning stage, where the geological data

are required in order to model the ground sub-
surfaces and etc.

b) During construction.

c) Maintenance

Examples of engineering works that required
geological input:

Rock slope



Construction material (i.e. aggregates)

The origin of the Earth
 The Big Bang is a scientific theory about how the universe started, and then
made the stars and galaxies we see today.
 The universe began as a very hot, small, and dense superforce, with no stars,
atoms, form, or structure.
 Then about 14 billion years ago, space expanded very quickly (thus the name
"Big Bang").
 This started the formation of atoms, which eventually led to the formation of
stars and galaxies.

The origin of the Earth

Big Bang Theory (Evidence):

The explanation of the early stage of this universe, where the heavens
and the earth were closed up, but Allah have opened them, stated in
the Quran 21:30;
Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth
were joined together as one united piece, then we parted them? And We
have made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?.

The End:
The end of the world was explaining in the Quran 21:104;
The day when We shall roll up the heaven like a scrolled up for books, as
We began the first creation, We shall repeat it, a promise binding upon
Us, Truly, We shall do it.
The universe & solar system

The universe & solar system


Principal Division of Earth

(1) Atmosphere:

An envelope of gases surrounds the earth

up to 10,000 km.
99% of these gases located below 30 km.
Composition of gases 78% nitrogen, 21%
oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor and
minor amount of other gases.
1. Troposphere - the closest to the Earth
~ 13 km. It contains almost all of the
water vapor, clouds and storms.

2. Stratosphere - the overlying layer ~ 55

km above the surface, contains the
ozone layer.
The atmosphere is an important geologic
agent and is responsible for the processes
of weathering which are continually work
on the Earth's surface.

(2) Hydrosphere:

Hydrosphere is a water layer, which about 98% of water in the

oceans and 2% in lakes, rivers as well as ground water, which exist in
the fractures and pores of the rocks and soils.
71% of Earth covered by oceans to an average depth of 4 km.
Hydrosphere is in constant motion - evaporating through the
atmosphere, precipitating as rain and returning to Earth.
As water moves over the Earth's surface, it erodes, transports and
deposits weathered rock material, constantly modifying the Earth's

(3) Lithosphere:

Litho means rock. The solid portion of the earth composed of the crust and upper
The outermost layer of rocks about 70 km thick, that rests on the soft weak
material at the asthenosphere.
The lithosphere is broken into about 12 major plates slowly moved by the flow of
weak material.
There are three basic types of rock: Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic.

Major Structural Units of Earth
The internal earth layers are recognized based on two principles: :
a) Physical/ Mechanical
b) Composition

Major Structural Units of Earth

Internal layers of the Earth based on Physical Properties

Lithosphere 1. About 100 km thick. The material is solid, strong and rigid,
which contains the continental crust and the uppermost part of
(rock sphere)
the mantle.

Asthenosphere 1. A major zone within the upper mantle where the temperature
and pressure are caused the rock melts.
(weak sphere) 2. The rocks become plastic and easily deformed. The
thickness is about 550 km.
1. The rock is stronger and more rigid than the asthenosphere
because the high pressure at this depth offsets the effect of
Mesosphere high temperature.

1. The core composed mostly of iron and is therefore distinctly

different from the silicate (rocky) material above.
2. Two distinct parts - a solid inner core and liquid outer core.
Core The rotation of the Earth probably causes the liquid outer core
to circulate and generate the Earth's magnetic field.

Layers of the earth based on composition

1. There are two kinds of earth crust which is classified according to types of rocks,
thickness and density.
(a) Continent Crust: 35 - 60 km thick
relatively low density
Outer granitic rock
average density: 2.8 g/cm3
Crust (b) Oceanic Crust : thickness rarely exceed 5 km
denser material
basaltic composition
average density: 2.9 g/cm3
1. The depth up to 2900 km from surface and constitute 82% of earth volume and
68% of mass.
Mantle 2. The mantle is composed of iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), silicon (Si), and
oxygen (O) silicate compounds. The upper mantle contained of melt substance
called as a magma.
3. Magma can be forced through the earth’s crust to form volcano and known as a
lava. Average density: 4.5 g/cm3
1. The thickness is about 2200 km, composed of iron and nickel, hot and in the
Outer core liquid state. Average density: 10.7 g/cm3
1. The thickness' is about 1300 km, composed of iron and nickel, 5000ºC and 300
Inner core GPa. This is 3 million times the air pressure on you at sea level. Average density:
17.0 g/cm3.

Principle surface features of the Earth
Continents and ocean basins are the principle surface features of the Earth.
Both are distinctly different in composition, density, rock type, structure and
(a) Continental Masses
This part of the earth covers about 29% of the earth’s surface and has an
average elevation of about 5 km above the floors of the ocean basins and about
1 km above sea level. It composed largely of rocks known as granite. The
continents rise above the ocean basins as large platforms. The highest
mountain on the continental surface is Mount Everest which is 29000 feet
above sea level but the deepest part of the ocean is about 35000 feet below
sea level at Pacific Ocean.

(b) Ocean Basins

The greatest part of the hydrosphere is the ocean basin which covers about
70% of the earth's surface. The ocean floors are also as irregular and posses
many deep trenches and mountain ranges as the continental masses. The
rocks of the ocean are rather dense, dark basaltic rock.
Elevation of the Continents and Ocean Basins

Geologic Processes that Change the Earth's Structure
Geologic forces come form the processes of gradation, tectonism and
(a) Gradation:-
1. Degradation: Erosion results from wearing of rocks by water, air
and ice.
2. Aggradation: Deposition results in accumulation of sediment and
ultimate building up of rock strata.

Geologic Processes that Change the Earth's Structure
(b) Tectonism
 Tectonism - a dynamic process of the lithosphere plate which
moves over the Asthenosphere.
 These plates interact with one another along their boundaries.
 Produce faulting (fracture and displacement), folding,
subsidence and uplift of rock formation (transform, divergent,
 Responsible for built the mountain ranges.

(c) Volcanism
Volcano - a vent in the earth's crust through which molten rock
materials such as lavas, ashes, steam and gas are ejected
(volcano experiment: pour hot water inside plastic mug which has lid, shaking the mug, and make your
Responsible for the formation of plutonic rock (solidified at great
depth) and volcanic rock (solidified at earth surface).
Majority of volcanoes are located along the tectonic plates
Geologic Time Scale
• The Earth's crust is known to be at least 40 million centuries old.

• The time span of the earth is called eras and subdivided into periods.

• Rocks have been created and destroy throughout geologic time.

• Rocks which are created during that particular period for example Cambrian are
said to belong to the Cambrian system.

• The nature of rocks created or formed during various eras can actually reveal
about its strength and condition.

• For example rocks from the Precambrian era are known to be very hard,
crystalline materials but often with many fractures and microstructures,
whereas sandstone formed from Pliocene series tends to be porous as soil and
easily excavated without blasting.
Tectonic Plate
• What is a tectonic plate?

A tectonic plate (also called lithosphere plate) - a massive, irregularly

shaped slab of solid rock,

Generally composed of both continental and oceanic lithosphere.

Plate size can vary greatly - from a few hundred to thousands of

kilometers across. (e.g. The Pacific and Antarctic Plates are among the

Plate thickness also varies greatly, ranging from less than 15 km for
young oceanic lithosphere to about 200 km or more for ancient
continental lithosphere.

Major plates of the lithosphere are broken into a dozen or so rigid
slabs that are moving relative to one another

This massive slabs of solid rock can float despite their
tremendous weight because Continental crust is composed of
granitic rocks which are made up of relatively lightweight
minerals such as quartz and feldspar.

By contrast, oceanic crust is composed of basaltic rocks, which

are much denser and heavier.

Most of the boundaries between individual plates cannot be

seen because they are hidden beneath the oceans.

Yet oceanic plate boundaries can be mapped accurately from

outer space by measurements from GEOSAT satellites.

Earthquake and volcanic activity is concentrated near these


Earth’s lithosphere is composed of seven large plates
with thickness ranging from 75 to 125 km.

1. Pacific plate
2. Eurasia plate
3. Antarctic plate
4. North America plate
5. South America plate
6. Indian plate
7. Africa plate
 20 other small plates in between
Major plates of the lithosphere

The theory of tectonics plate
• The theory of plate tectonics states that the lithosphere is
fragmented into a dozen or more large and small plates that are
moving relative to one another.

• The present is the key to the past, the geologic forces and
processes - gradual as well as catastrophic - acting on the Earth
today are the same as those that have acted in the geologic past.

• Continental Drift - introduced by a German meteorologist named

Alfred Lothar Wegener. He contended that, around 200 million
years ago, the supercontinent Pangaea began to split apart.

• Alexander Du Toit, Professor of Geology at Johannesburg

University, proposed that Pangaea first broke into two large
continental landmasses, Laurasia in the northern hemisphere and
Gondwanaland in the southern hemisphere.
Laurasia and Gondwanaland then continued to break apart into the
various smaller continents that exist today.
According to the continental drift theory, the supercontinent Pangaea
began to break up about 225-200 million years ago, eventually
fragmenting into the continents as we know them today.




• Wegener's theory - based in part on remarkable fit of the South American

and African continents.

• For example, the matching animal fossils found on coastlines of South

America and Africa, and the evidence of dramatic climate changes on
some continents.

• For example, the discovery of fossils of tropical plants (in the form of coal
deposits) in Antarctica led to the conclusion that this frozen land
previously must have been situated closer to the equator, in a more
temperate climate where lush, swampy vegetation could grow.

• Other mismatches of geology and climate included distinctive fossil ferns

(Glossopteris) discovered in now-polar regions, and the occurrence of
glacial deposits in present-day arid Africa, such as the Vaal River valley of
South Africa.

These two maps showing the American and African continents may once
have fit together, then later separated.
Left: The formerly joined continents before their separation.
Right: The continents after the separation

As noted by Snider-Pellegrini and Wegener, the locations of certain fossil
plants and animals on present-day, widely separated continents would
form definite patterns (shown by the bands of colors), if the continents
are rejoined

Developing the plate tectonics theory
Four major scientific developments spurred the formulation
of the plate tectonics theory:

1. The ruggedness and youth of the ocean floor

2. Repeated reversals of the Earth magnetic field in the geologic past

3. Developing of the seafloor-spreading and associated recycling of

oceanic crust

4. The world's earthquake and volcanic activity is concentrated along

oceanic trenches and submarine mountain ranges

1. The ruggedness and youth of the ocean floor

Ocean floor mapping shows the ruggedness and youth of the ocean

The sediment layer on the floor of the Atlantic was much thinner than
originally thought.

Scientists had previously believed that the oceans have existed for at
least 4 billion years, so therefore the sediment layer should have been
very thick.

Why then was there so little accumulation of sedimentary rock and

debris on the ocean floor?

The answer to this question, which came after further exploration,

would prove to be vital to advancing the concept of plate tectonics.
2. Repeated reversals of the Earth magnetic field
in the geologic past
• This finding, though unexpected, was not entirely surprising because it
was known that basalt - the iron-rich, volcanic rock making up the ocean
floor - contains a strongly magnetic mineral (magnetite) and can locally
distort compass readings.

• Rocks generally belong to two groups according to their magnetic


• One group has so-called normal polarity, characterized by the magnetic

minerals in the rock having the same polarity as that of the Earth's
present magnetic field.

• This would result in the north end of the rock's "compass needle"
pointing toward magnetic north.
The other group, however, has reversed polarity, indicated by a polarity
alignment opposite to that of the Earth's present magnetic field.

In this case, the north end of the rock's compass needle would point

How could this be? This answer lies in the magnetite in volcanic rock.

Grains of magnetite -- behaving like little magnets -- can align themselves

with the orientation of the Earth's magnetic field.

When magma (molten rock containing minerals and gases) cools to form
solid volcanic rock, the alignment of the magnetite grains is "locked in,"
recording the Earth's magnetic orientation or polarity (normal or
reversed) at the time of cooling.

A theoretical model of the formation of magnetic striping. New oceanic
crust forming continuously at the crest of the mid-ocean ridge cools and
becomes increasingly older as it moves away from the ridge crest with
seafloor spreading (see text): a. the spreading ridge about 5 million years
ago; b. about 2 to 3 million years ago; and c. present-day.

3. Seafloor spreading and recycling of oceanic crust
• Why there is so little sediment accumulation on the ocean floor, and
why oceanic rocks are much younger than continental rocks?

• At or near the crest of the ridge, the rocks are very young, and they
become progressively older away from the ridge crest.

• The youngest rocks at the ridge crest always have present-day (normal)

• Stripes of rock parallel to the ridge crest alternated in magnetic

polarity normal reversed-normal, etc., suggesting that the Earth's
magnetic field has flip-flopped many times.

• When the ages of the samples were determined by paleontologists

and isotopic dating studies, they provided the clinching evidence that
proved the seafloor spreading hypothesis. 44
4. Concentration of earthquakes and volcano activity

• During the 20th century, improvements in seismic

instrumentation and greater use of earthquake-recording
instruments (seismographs) worldwide enabled scientists to
learn that earthquakes tend to be concentrated in certain areas,
most notably along the oceanic trenches and spreading ridges.

• By the late 1920s, seismologists were beginning to identify

several prominent earthquake zones parallel to the trenches that
typically were inclined 40-60° from the horizontal and extended
several hundred kilometers into the Earth. These zones later
became known as Wadati-Benioff zones, or simply Benioff zones.

As early as the 1920s, scientists noted that earthquakes are
concentrated in very specific narrow zones. In 1954, French
seismologist J.P. Rothé published this map showing the
concentration of earthquakes along the zones indicated by dots
and cross-hatched areas

Understanding Plate Motions
There are four types of plate boundaries:

(1) Divergent boundaries

The new crust is generated as the plates pull away from each

(2) Convergent boundaries

The crust is destroyed as one plate dives under another.

Oceanic-continental convergence
Oceanic-oceanic convergence
Continental - continental convergence 47

(3) Transform boundaries

The crust is neither produced nor destroyed as the plates

slide horizontally past each other.

(4) Plate boundary zones

Broad belts in which boundaries are not well defined and

the effects of plate interaction are unclear.

An illustrating the main types of plate boundaries;
East African Rift Zone is a good example of a continental rift

Plate boundaries

1. Divergent boundaries
Divergent boundaries occur along
spreading centers where plates are
moving apart and new crust is
created by magma pushing up from
the mantle.

The rate of spreading along the Mid-

Atlantic Ridge averages about 2.5
centimeters per year (cm/yr), or
25 km in a million years (between
South America and Africa continents).

In East Africa, spreading processes

have already torn Saudi Arabia away
from the rest of the African
continent, forming the Red Sea.

The actively splitting African Plate

and the Arabian Plate meet in what
geologists call a triple junction, where
the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden.
Map of East Africa showing some of the
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which splits nearly historically active volcanoes (red triangles)
the entire Atlantic Ocean north to south, is and the A far Triangle (shaded, center) -- a so-
probably the best known and most-studied called triple junction (or triple point), where
example of a divergent-plate boundary three plates are pulling away from one
another: the Arabian Plate, and the two parts
of the African Plate (the Nubian and the
Somalian) splitting along the East African Rift

2. Convergent boundaries
• The Earth's unchanging size implies
that the crust must be destroyed
at about the same rate as it is
being created.
• Such destruction (recycling) of
crust takes place along convergent
boundaries where plates are
moving toward each other, and
sometimes one plate sinks (is
subducted) under another.
• The location where sinking of a
plate occurs is called a subduction
• Convergence can occur between an
oceanic and a largely continental
plate, or between two largely
oceanic plates, or between two
largely continental plates.
2.1 Oceanic - continental convergence
• Oceanic-continental convergence also sustains many of the Earth's active volcanoes,
such as those in the Andes and the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest.
• The eruptive activity is clearly associated with subduction.

Oceanic – continental convergence

2.2 Oceanic - oceanic convergence
The Marianas Trench
(paralleling the Mariana
Islands), the best example,
marks where the fast-moving
Pacific Plate converges against
the slower moving Philippine
Subduction processes in
oceanic-oceanic plate
convergence also result in the
formation of volcanoes.
Over millions of years, the
erupted lava and volcanic
debris pile up on the ocean
floor until a submarine
volcano rises above sea level
to form an island volcano.
Such volcanoes are typically
strung out in chains called
island arcs.
Oceanic – oceanic convergence55
Volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches partly encircling the Pacific Basin form the so-
called Ring of Fire, a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

2.3 Continental - continental convergence
The Himalayan mountain range
dramatically demonstrates one
of the most visible and
spectacular consequences of
plate tectonics.
When two continents meet
head-on, neither is subducted
because the continental rocks
are relatively light.

Continental – continental convergence

3. Transform boundaries
Occur at the zone between
two plates sliding horizontally
past one another.
Was called a transform-fault
boundary, or simply a
transform boundary.
Most transform faults are
found on the ocean floor.
However, a few occur on
land, for example the San
Andreas fault zone in
They commonly offset the
active spreading ridges,
producing zig - zag plate
margins, and are generally
defined by shallow
4. Plate-boundary zones
• Not all plate boundaries are as simple as the main types
discussed above.

• In some regions, the boundaries are not well defined

because the plate-movement deformation occurring there
extends over a broad belt (called a plate-boundary zone).

• Because plate-boundary zones involve at least two large

plates and one or more micro plates caught up between
them they tend to have complicated geological structures
and earthquake patterns.