MABY5460 Environmental Geotechnics Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Environmental Geotechnics
Master’s Programme in Civil Engineering
10 stp.


This course covers geotechnical principles and techniques for the reduction of environmental impacts. Landslide occurrence and mitigation measures to reduce impact will be part of this course, with a specific focus on the use of nature-based solutions. Design characteristics of landfills and tailings dams, as well as, how to prevent contamination spreading to the environment will be covered.

Stability of tailings dams and failure prevention are fundamental aspects to consider too, as showed by recent catastrophic failures. The presence of uncontrolled tailings dam structures all around the world poses a huge threat to the environment. Understanding the stability of this earth structures and what are the guidelines and standards, is paramount to avoid such failures. A wide range of field monitoring techniques with respect to groundwater and environmental contamination will be introduced. Finally, qualitative, and quantitative techniques to performance risk assessment analyses will be described. The student will use numerical modelling software (GeoStudio, BingClaw, TRIGRS), python and excel.

Anbefalte forkunnskaper

BYGG1001 Geoteknikk og tilsværende

Advanced soil mechanics


After completing this course, the student will gain the following knowledge, skills and general competences:


Students will have in-depth knowledge of:

  • landslide types, initiation processes, climate related influences, runout modelling, slope stability analysis, risk assessment
  • influence of vegetation on slope stability, stabilization with nature-based solutions, partially saturated soils
  • landfill and tailings dams, geotechnical design characteristics, failure modes, international standards and guidelines
  • geo-barriers and geosynthetics
  • hydrogeology, partially saturated soils
  • monitoring instruments and techniques


Students will be able to:

  • calculate slope stability considering vegetation effects using Geo-Studio software
  • perform propagation analyses (i.e., runout modelling)
  • use python to correlate climate variables to landslide occurrence
  • define the susceptibility to liquefaction and classify tailings dams according to GISTM standards
  • perform qualitative and/or quantitative risk assessment using different techniques (risk matrix, event tree analyses)
  • produce landslide hazard maps using TRIGRS model and Machine learning algorithms

General competence

Students will have general competence on:

  • landslide characterization
  • dam (tailings/water) and landfill design settings
  • the processes behind different slope stability failure modes
  • risk assessment methods
  • numerical modelling softwares (GeoStudio, BingClaw), python and excel
  • develop critical thinking and make technical/scientific presentations

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

Lectures, exercises, presentations, filed visits, critical analysis of scientific papers and written project/report. Practical laboratory experiments and field visits will be coordinated with the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, NGI in Oslo, Norway.

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

The following work requirements are mandatory and must be approved to sit for the exam:

1 written group exercise with 2-4 student in a group

1 written individual exercise

All exercises are linked and part of an applied engineering problem.

Vurdering og eksamen

The exam consists of two parts:

1) Written individual exam, weighted 70%, and

2) 15-20 minutes oral presentation of a topic followed by 5-10 minutes Q&A, weighted 30%. 

All assessment parts must be awarded a pass grade (E or better) for the student to pass the course.

Assessment part 1) can be appealed. Assessment part 2) can not be appealed.

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

All printed and written aids and a calculator that cannot be used to communicate with others for written individual exam.

All types of materials and equipment are allowed for oral presentation.


Grade scale A-F


One internal examiner and, if needed, external examiners could be involved.