Dams have been built for thousands of
years; some have failed causing disastrous floods. Many of
these dam failures were caused by particular geological
characteristics of the soils and rocks at the dam site.
The birth of engineering geology as a separate specialist
profession is often said to date from the failure of the St.
Francis Dam in the U.S.A. in 1928. For information
on other dam failures see Dam
Today engineering geologists are
routinely employed to carry out investigations for all
types of civil and mining engineering construction
projects. The purpose of most engineering geology work is
to try to ensure that a proposed structure is built for
the lowest cost consistent with currently accepted safety
standards. Accepted standards of safety may, and usually
do, change with time. What was acceptable 50 years ago may
not be acceptable today.
2012) Much of the
dam design and construction work in New South Wales in
recent years has been related to improving the stability
and safety of existing dams (particularly in the event of
very large flood events)Dam