Field Mapping in stratified rock, basic measurements and interpretation for geotechnical and environmental purposes

Course Location CHEDDAR GORGE close to Bristol
Cost £250
Type of course in situ
Online booking
Course provider First Steps Ltd
Available dates for this course

Please contact First Steps Ltd directly for a current list of course dates

Course Outline

Geotechnical and environmental engineering interacts with the ground. Decisions on investigation, instrumentation, design and analyses are based on field observations, their measurement and interpretation. This course is designed to revisit geological principles encountered on site, the terms to describe them, to quantify them where possible and to combine those them to produce a ground model for geotechnical and environmental purposes. It will also demonstrate how to systematically make field notes so as to have a clear paper trail available, should this become necessary.

Who should attend

The growing requirements of the Environmental Agency, the need for Reference Conditions, and of Risk Analyses can best be met by practical knowledge of ground conditions in situ. The course will be of direct relevance to geoscientists, environmental scientists and civil engineers with wish to improve their field skills in the acquisition of raw data from exposures and outcrops. The course aims to impart sufficient practical experience and knowledge to allow the participants to use geological terminology confidently, to understand how a ground model is put together and to see what is involved in doing so.

Course Structure

The course will provide personal tuition so as to impart the skills necessary to complete field work at a site scale and develop a preliminary geotechnical model of the ground studied. The course is supported by a package of information designed to help with these tasks.

Course requirements:

Hard hats, safety boots, waterproofs, compass, clinometer, map case and board, notebook, tape measure, camera.

Morning Session 0900-12.30
Rendezvous and risk assessment for the day
Tools for the job Overview and use of vocabulary: bedding, faulting, thrusting, jointing, master joints, karst, weathering, way up etc., field notes and photos
Observations in the field, use and interpretation of topographic and geological map Orientation in the field, measurements of strike and dip directions, thickness of bedding, jointing etc.. Angles of friction, angles of sliding, translational failure, toppling. Water, its presence or absence, direction of flow
Further measurements in the field Stereo nets, real and apparent values of dip
Rockmass descriptions Introduction to the main rock mass descriptions and their geotechnical applications, RQD and its limitations

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

Afternoon Session 13.30-1700

Recognising the far field and its implications for the near field
Description and interpretation of the geological map at
1 : 50.000 and 1 : 25.000 scale
Putting the 3D ground model together Pulling all observations made during the day together into one three D ground model. Paper trail needed to defend such a model. What does a field note book have to look like?

17.00 End of field work

17.00 – 18.00 General discussion and questions

Course Presenters

Michael H. de Freitas and Christine Butenuth are Directors of First Steps Ltd.. They have specialised in trying to help geoscientists and civil engineers to enhance their professional skills and to help them find employment. Both hold degrees in Geology and both have Chartered status with The Geological Society. Dr. de Freitas has much experience consulting in the geotechnical industry and has educated generations of engineering geologists.

For details of course dates and other courses see:

To reserve a place or for more information contact:

Christine Butenuth at

Unit 17 Hurlingham Studios
Ranelagh Gardens
United Kingdom
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Telephone: 0207 736 6889