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Engineering Group: The 20th Glossop Medal

13 November 2019
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Event type:
Evening meeting, Lecture, Specialist Group, Social event
Organised by:
Engineering Group
The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London
Event status:

The 20th Glossop Medal  

Presented by the Engineering Group of the Geological Society at the premises of the Royal Institution, London

The 23rd Annual Glossop Award presentation will be followed by The 20th Glossop Medal lecture by Professor Jean Hutchinson (Ph.D., P.Eng., FEIC, Professor, Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada). Professor Hutchinson will be presenting a talk on ‘Building slope process models considering engineering geology: Extending our understanding, interpretation and communication of instability using remotely sensed data’.


Remote sensing techniques permit the engineering geologist to make detailed observations about the behaviour of slopes, including early detection of small-scale changes and instability indicators such as deformation and scarps. The range of techniques available include LiDAR and photogrammetry which will be discussed in this lecture, as well as InSAR, each of which has distinct advantages and limitations.

Providing unprecedented levels of data from otherwise difficult or impossible to access sites, on a temporal frequency that is effectively only limited by budget, these techniques provide valuable information that can be used to monitor slope instability, including deformation rates and patterns, as well as material loss and gain, and provide input for numerical simulation of possible failure scenarios.

However, the effective use of this data relies on developing and integrating an understanding of the engineering geology model and of the expected failure mechanisms, generally without the benefit of subsurface site investigation, in order to define the magnitude and immediacy of the hazard. Therefore, sufficient knowledge of various geological settings, slope instability mechanisms, earth material mechanics and the use of the detected information as input parameters into models, is required to make informed decisions about the hazard posed by slope instability.

Case histories demonstrating the integration of engineering geological knowledge with remotely sensed data will be presented to illustrate these points. With the recent rapid development of data collection techniques and availability of remotely sensed data, supporting machine learning and AI techniques, experiential field-based engineering geology education and practice becomes an even more important foundation block.

The practitioner of the future must continue to develop an understanding of the inherent variability and representation of geological settings in assessing slope instability, which will be overprinted by the effects of anthropogenic activities and extreme climate conditions, and the need to clearly communicate hazard, risk and uncertainty to decision makers and the public. 

Booking and registration

Attendance to both the Glossop Medal and Award lectures is free (with no booking required), but registration is required for the Glossop Reception. Reception costs are as follows:

  • Fellows: £30
  • Non-Fellows: £35

You can register online now for the Reception via Billetto.


From 5.45pm: Pre-lecture tea/coffee in the ground floor Atrium/Café (Royal Institution)

6.30pm: Prompt start for Glossop Award/Glossop Lecture in the Faraday Theatre (Royal Institution)

8.40pm: Glossop Reception meal in the Lower Library (Geological Society, Burlington House)


Royal Institution
21 Albemarle Street