Old Problems and New Challenges in Marine Geotechnical Engineering

by Wayne A. Dunlap, Texas A&M Univ, College Station, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Civil Engineering in the Oceans V


The discipline of marine geotechnical engineering originated nearly five decades ago, primarily as a result of the offshore oil and gas industry. As this industry moved into deeper waters, marine geotechnical engineers met the demands of the new challenges with increasingly sophisticated tools for site investigation and with improved design methods. As the complexity of the problems increased, especially in the geological realm, engineers collaborated with specialists in the earth sciences to bring about new knowledge. Marine geotechnical engineers have also contributed in fields such as dredging and pipeline design, although there is room for much more geotechnical development in these areas. Offshore structures are not being designed for water depths of approaching 1000 m, and hydrocarbon potential exists on the continental slopes in much greater depths. This is creating a new set of challenges for marine geotechnical engineers requiring even more sophisticated site investigation tools, development of novel foundation concepts and more cross-disciplinary studies aimed at understanding the unique and complex nature of the continental slope sediments.

Subject Headings: Geotechnical engineering | Underwater structures | Ocean engineering | Industries | Slopes | Sediment | Offshore pipelines | Underwater pipelines

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