The total engineering geology approach applied to railways in the Pilbara, Western Australia
The application of the total engineering geology approach to the investigation, design, construction and operation of several major iron ore railways in the ancient cratonic Pilbara region of Western Australia is described. The approach is based on developing a thorough understanding of the geological and geomorphological history of the area and adopting strategies such as staged investigations, an emphasis on geo-mapping, establishing reference conditions, the development of models and applying the observational method. The role of engineering geologists in such projects, their objectives and responsibilities, and the range of issues that have to be dealt with are reviewed and used to illustrate how inputs from engineering geologists are critical to project implementation. Some conclusions are drawn regarding what is good practice in heavy civil engineering projects.