Report on the 3rd International Congress of the International Association of Engineering Geologists (IAEG), Madrid, Spain, 4-8 September 1978

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Read, S.A.L. 1979 Report on the 3rd International Congress of the International Association of Engineering Geologists (IAEG), Madrid, Spain, 4-8 September 1978. Lower Hutt: New Zealand Geological Survey. New Zealand Geological Survey report EG 320 35 p.

Abstract: The 3rd IAEG international congress, with 246 written contributions, covered a wide range of engineering geological topics - regional planning, properties of soils and rocks, rock mass site excavation, investigation techniques, waste disposal computers and mining. Presentation of information relied heavily on 'state of the art' reports and expert panellist contributions which varied in quality from low to very high. It was evident from the site investigation methods and case histories illustrated that scope of engineering geology in New Zealand and our basic work methods are comparable with the rest of the world, although we cannot compete with the funding for sophisticated equipment and research programmes desired in some cases. Rock classification systems, and standardised test procedures have gained world-wide acceptance, especially for underground works (see 1977 Geomechanics tunneling symposium for NZ usage). The importance of petrographic techniques for studying soft rocks and soils was illustrated where pore chemistry and fabric are critical. Slope stability received attention largely from its use in regional planning and engineering geological mapping where the lead continues to come from Czeckoslovakia. A contribution example is a paper that gave the results of an investigation into floor heave of underclay in underground mines for lower grades of coal in the USA. Using bearing capacity formulae and loads transmitted by the mine pillars, mine opening stability was shown to be dependent on the underclay strength which apart from stratigraphic considerations is dependent on its lithology, mineralogy, texture and water content. This consideration may be important to the future development of our coal resources. The international congresses provide an excellent medium to gain and maintain contact with overseas work and thus our continuing attendance at these 4-yearly congresses is essential. The Engineering Geology Section's involvement with the IAEG is strong with one member a commission chairman, and this role could only benefit by being expanded (eg to site investigation committee). Furthermore the next Australasian vice-president for the IAEG, to be elected at the 4th IAEG international congress in New Delhi in late 1982, will be from New Zealand.