Geoengineering, geological engineering, engineering geology, or geotechnical engineering deals with the discovery, development, and production and use of subsurface earth resources, as well as the design and construction of earth works. Geoengineering is the application of geosciences, where mechanics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and geology are used to understand and shape our interaction with the earth. Geoengineers work in areas of (1) mining, including surface and subsurface excavations, and rock burst mitigation; (2) energy, including hydraulic fracturing and drilling for exploration and production of water, oil, or gas; (3) infrastructure, including underground transportation systems and isolation of nuclear and hazardous wastes; and (4) environment, including groundwater flow, contaminant transport and remediation, and hydraulic structures.
Professional geoscience organizations such as the American Rock Mechanics Association or the Geo-Institute and academic degrees such as the bachelor of geoengineering accredited by ABET acknowledge the broad scope of work practiced by geoengineers and stress fundamentals of science and engineering methods for the solution of complex problems. Geoengineers study the mechanics of rock, soil, and fluids to improve the sustainable use of earth’s finite resources, where problems appear with competing interests, for example, groundwater and waste isolation, off-shore oil drilling and risk of spills, natural gas production and induced seismicity.
‘Researchers with the US National Academy of Sciences say in their new two-volume report that while in theory geoengineering may seem like a good idea, it’s actually both “irrational and irresponsible.”
“Climate intervention is no substitute for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and adaptation efforts aimed at reducing the negative consequences of climate change,” the researchers wrote. “However, as our planet enters a period of changing climate never before experienced in recorded human history, interest is growing in the potential for deliberate intervention in the climate system to counter climate change.”