EARTHSCI 770 : Engineering Geological Mapping


2023 Summer School (1230) (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 Hunua Range front of the Wairoa Fault, and the Pourewa Reserve/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 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. Comprehend 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, 2 and 3)
  5. Comprehend the effects of weathering and the meaning of weathering grades in different rock masses. (Capability 2)
  6. Comprehend the relationship between rock masses, soils and geomorphology to challenging engineering geological and geomorphic conditions in the Greater Auckland region. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  7. Use engineering geological and geomorphological maps and keys to communicate a comprehensive synthesis of geotechnical conditions. (Capability 2, 3 and 4)
  8. Comprehend 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, 4 and 6)
  10. Comprehend the appropriate mitigation solutions to geotechnical problems related to hypothetical engineering projects. (Capability 2, 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 100% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of Environment Tuākana Programme aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.

Special Requirements

Participation in all fieldwork exercises is required. 100% coursework consisting of field-based assignments. The completion of a field trip consent form is required before fieldwork 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 field trips to receive credit for components of the course.
The course will not include live online events.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning 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.

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 seismotectonic 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.

Health & Safety

Health and safety requirements for field work will be communicated via Canvas announcements.

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.

There are no major changes or improvements required for the course in 2023. 

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.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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 course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 28/10/2022 11:26 a.m.