Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University

ESCI 340
Spring, 2003

Course Description: Introduction to basic concepts of design and engineering of earth materials.  Soil and rock mechanics, interaction of soil and rock with water, effective stress, failure models, rock and soil mass behavior, and materials testing.  Especially useful for those interested in environmental and engineering aspects of geology.  Lecture 3 hours.  Prerequisite:  MATH 104 or MATH 106 and eight credit hours in Earth Science at the 200-level or higher.   (From the NEIU catalog.)
Course Home Page

Course Syllabus
 Instructor Contact Information    Outline of Topics Course Requirements
 Evaluation and Grading What should you bring
to this course?
Course Outcomes and Objectives (What will you take
from this course?)
Links and downloads Hints for Solving 
Quantitative Problems
Instructor Contact Information:

Instructor: Dr. Laura L. Sanders              Office: S-146
Phone:      773/442-6051                        Fax: 773/442-5710
Office Hours:     Tuesdays 5:30-8:00 pm; Thursdays 5:30-8:00 pm
Course Prerequisites: MATH 104 (College Algebra) or MATH 106 (Precalculus Mathematics) and eight credit hours in Earth Science at the 200-level or higher.

Text:  Donald P. Coduto, Geotechnical Engineering: Principles and Practices, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1999.  Readings also may be assigned from other sources.

Outline of Topics

* This outline will be adjusted as the semester proceeds.  Please check back frequently for updates.
* Reading assignments listed here are for the Coduto textbook unless otherwise noted.
   Reading assignments should be completed before coming to class on the day listed.
* To see a list of each day's learning objectives, click on the date.  These will be added as the semester progresses.
JAN 7  INTRODUCTION: What is geotechnical engineering?  Review of geologic principles for geotechnical engineers.  Read:  Chapter 1 (especially p. 1-3, 11-end). JAN 9  Geology review, cont.  Minerals and rocks.  Read: Chapter 2.
JAN 14  Geology review, cont.  Sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.  Soils.  JAN 16  Geology review, cont.  Soils.  Structural geology. 
JAN 21 Geology review, cont.  Calculating apparent dip.  SOIL COMPOSITION.  Soil phases.  Weight-volume parameters. Read:  Chapter 4. JAN 23  SOIL COMPOSITION, cont.  Solving weight-volume problems. Homework #1 due.
JAN 28  SOIL COMPOSITION, cont.  Solving weight-volume problems.  JAN 30  Grain size distribution.   Homework #2 due.
FEB 4  Exam #1.  Review sheet. FEB 6  Plasticity and Atterberg limits. 
FEB 11  Field trip to a geotechnical laboratory FEB 13  USDA and AASHTO systems. Read: Chapter 5. 
FEB 18  SOIL CLASSIFICATION, cont. AASHTO and USCS systems.  FEB 20  SOIL CLASSIFICATION, cont.  Visual-manual, and supplemental classification systems.  Homework #3 due.
FEB 25  SITE EXPLORATION.  Historical records, air photos, and maps.  Reading topographic maps and soil surveys. Read: Chapter 3.  FEB 27 SITE EXPLORATION, cont.  Reading geologic maps.  Field reconnaissance and surface exploration. 
MAR 4  Attend meeting of the Association of Engineering Geologists.  Topic:  the Pennsylvania mining accident of August 2002. MAR 6  SITE EXPLORATION, cont.  Subsurface exploration.  Sampling. 
MAR 11   Subsurface exploration and sampling, continued.  Review for Exam #2. MAR 13 Exam #2.  Review sheet.
MAR 18  Spring Break--No class MAR 20  Spring Break--No class
MAR 25    In situ and ex situ soil testing.  Constructing geotechnical cross sections. Description of Geotechnical Project. MAR 27  Cross sections, continued. More on the Geotechnical Project.
APR 1   EARTHWORK.  Field terminology.  Field equipment and methods.  Soil compaction. Read:  Chapter 6.  Geotechnical Project (Step 2). APR 3  Soil compaction standards and assessment.  Field equipment
APR 8  Soil compaction, cont.   Geotechnical Project (Step 3).  Citing sources. APR 10  No class; use class time to work on your geotechnical project. 
APR 15   Geotechnical Project (Step 4).  GROUND WATER: How does water move through the subsurface?  Read:  Chapter 7.  APR 17 GROUND WATER.   Hydraulic conductivity.  Piezometers and Pitot tubes.  Hydraulic head and pore water pressure. 
APR 22 Aquifers and aquitards.  Hydraulic head and pore water pressure.  Why does ground water flow? APR 24  Ground water flow.  Three point problems.   SALG assessment.  Review for Exam #3.  Course evaluation.  The Geotechnical Project is due today!
APR 29 FINAL EXAM 4:00-5:50 pm.  Please note the unusual time!   Review sheet.

Course Requirements

Attendance at all class sessions is expected.  In addition, we will be taking a few field trips; attendance at field trips is expected.

Course Materials:  Please bring the following to class every day:
    § Your textbook and notebook;
    § Scientific calculator that has keys for logarithms, exponents, and scientific notation, and has at least one memory.
    § Pencil, eraser, 6" ruler, and a colored pencil (any color).

E-Mail: Students must have an e-mail account (either through NEIU or an e-mail service) and must check their e-mail at least three times weekly.

Homework:  Homework will be assigned regularly.  Assignments and due dates will be posted on the homework page.  If your homework is not ready on the due date, this must be discussed with me on or before that date.  No homework will be accepted more than one week late.

Assessments: Students must participate in all assessment activities ("green sheets").  I want to learn how well certain concepts are getting across and how the class is feeling about the material and the course as we go along.  At the end of each class period, you will assess this, anonymously.  On these “green sheets”, assessment questions will help me find out how well the day’s outcomes were achieved.  This may be done in the form of an ungraded quiz-type question, a concept map, or survey-type questions.  This information will help me to determine the extent to which the course is meeting its goals.  To provide me with the most information so that I can make the course better, I ask that you give me your most thoughtful, honest feedback-- the more, the better.  A list of course outcomes is linked to this syllabus.  In addition to these outcomes, each class day you will receive a list of expected daily outcomes.  You also can find these daily outcomes from the outline of topics in this syllabus; just click on each date.

Academic integrity:    The NEIU policy on academic integrity will be strictly enforced.  A site from the University of Indiana explains and gives examples of plagiarism and provides helpful tips on how to avoid it.

Flexibility: This outline will change as the semester goes along.  Please allow for flexibility in topics and assignments.  Check this web page frequently to see the updated material.

Evaluation and Grading
Three exams, weighted equally.
No extra credit will be given.
In general, 90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, <60% =F

What should you bring to this course?  Click here to see a list of the skills and knowledge you should already have as you begin this course.

What will you gain from this course? Click here to see a list of the skills and knowledge you will gain from this course.

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

© 2003 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated April 24, 2003.