EARTHSCI 770 : Engineering Geological Mapping


2021 Summer School (1210) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A field-based course which provides hands-on experience in outcrop mapping, geomorphic mapping, and simple field testing of rocks and soils for geotechnical purposes.

Course Overview

A field based mapping course for graduates in Geology, Civil and Environmental Engineering and for practicing geotechnical professionals. This advanced level course requires previous geological or geotechnical field experience and provides you with hands-on practice in outcrop mapping, geomorphic mapping and interpretation, simple field testing and description of rocks and soils for geotechnical purposes.
A variety of rock masses, soils and topography in the Auckland region will be mapped at a range of scales. Areas include the coastal cliffs at Beachlands, the coastal cliffs on the Whangaparoa peninsula, the Hunua Range front of the Wairoa Fault and the Kepa Road Landslide. You will develop your powers of observation and description and advance your skills of detailed accurate logging and mapping. For each site you will derive precise engineering geological and geomorphological models in the form of interpretative cross sections. Supported by fully tabulated legends these maps and models will provide the basis for the identification and further investigation of geotechnical problems and challenges evident at the sites which you visit.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of and communicate information on mapping for geotechnical purposes with a comprehensive representation of geotechnical features for a site or area. (Capability 4)
  2. Describe a variety of rocks and soils in the field and apply the New Zealand Geotechnical Society guidelines used in engineering geological practice. (Capability 1)
  3. Identify and describe topography and geomorphology from a geotechnical viewpoint. (Capability 1 and 4)
  4. Construct engineering geological logs, maps and cross-sections to create appropriate engineering geological models. (Capability 1 and 3)
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the effects of weathering and the meaning of weathering grades in different rock masses. (Capability 2)
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between rock masses, soils and geomorphology to challenging engineering geological and geomorphic conditions in the Greater Auckland region. (Capability 1, 3 and 4)
  7. Use engineering geological and geomorphological maps and keys to communicate a comprehensive synthesis of geotechnical conditions. (Capability 2 and 3)
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of the variety and properties of defects in young weak rocks and older strong rocks thus demonstrating a good grasp of rock mass characteristics (Capability 1 and 2)
  9. Evaluate geotechnical conditions relating to coastal instability in the Auckland region and the impact of instability on infrastructure. (Capability 1 and 6)
  10. Demonstrate an understanding of the appropriate mitigation solutions to geotechnical problems related to hypothetical engineering projects. (Capability 2, 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Kepa Road Assignment 25% Individual Coursework
Cosseys Creek Assignment 25% Individual Coursework
Paparimu Assignment 12.5% Individual Coursework
Army Bay Assignment 12.5% Individual Coursework
Beachlands Assignment 25% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Kepa Road Assignment
Cosseys Creek Assignment
Paparimu Assignment
Army Bay Assignment
Beachlands Assignment

Special Requirements

Participation in all field work exercises is required. 100% coursework consisting of 5 field-based assignments. The completion of a field trip consent form is required before field work commences.

Workload Expectations

This course is a Summer School 15 point course.

For this course you can expect a 3 hour tutorial, 10 hours of reading and thinking about the content and a minimum of 104 hours of work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including all field work assignment activities to complete and receive credit for the course.
There are no lectures. Learning activities are all field based.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

Recommended reading:
Dearman, W.R. (1991). Engineering Geological Mapping. Butterworth-Heinemann, 387p.
Hoek, E. and Bray, J. (1981). Rock Slope Engineering. Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, 358p.
Turner, A.K. and Schuster, R.L. (1996). Landslides: investigation and mitigation. National Academy Press, 673p.
West, G. (1991). The field description of engineering soils and rocks. Open University Press, 129p.
Wyllie, D.C and Mah, C.W. (2004). Rock slope engineering civil and mining (4th edition). Spon Press, 431p.
Tejakusuma, I.G. (1998). Slope movement and faulting in Quaternary deposits and Miocene weak rock at Beachlands, Auckland, New Zealand. Thesis (MSc-Geology), University of Auckland.
Cocks, G. (1993). Engineering & Quaternary geology, and seismotectonics of the Hunua Valley fault-angle depression, Wairoa North Fault, south-east Auckland, New Zealand. Thesis (MSc-Geology), University of Auckland.
Wise, D.J. (1999). A geophysical and geotechnical study of the Wairoa North Fault, South Auckland. Thesis (MSc-Geology), University of Auckland.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Other Information

Further details regarding each assignment and detailed field trip information (location, arrangements, health and safety) will be provided in Canvas.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 28/06/2021 05:00 p.m.