Environmental Geology


  • Banoth Vinod
  • Vinay Kumar Patel


The article presents an overview of the applied branches of geology, namely, engineering and environmental geology, and their importance in our life. It also includes a discussion of some of the newer sub-specialties or new applications of geoscience, such as medical geology, forensic geology, use of underground space for human occupancy, and geoindicators. It then presents an historical review of the evolution of engineering geology, leading to the introduction of degree programs offered at American universities, and the current prospects and employment trends of geoscience graduates in the United States and other countries. The difference between engineering geology and geological engineering is explained. The controversy relating to inclusion of environmental geology within the engineering geology specialty is discussed at length and it is concluded that, despite some overlaps, environmental geology is different from engineering geology and should be treated as such. Readers are introduced to the newly emerging field of medical geology and its relevance in human health and well-being. It seems likely that geological factors will emerge as one of several factors responsible for the occurrence of diseases such cancer, heart ailments, and other sicknesses that may be related to the excess or deficiency of certain trace elements whose occurrence and distribution are controlled by geological processes. The suggestion is made for inclusion of the relationship between geologic factors and diseases in health education curricula.