The Department trains students in the frames of the programmes "Hydrogeology", "Engineering Geology", "Geocryology", "Environmental Geology", and graduates in Master Programmes "Engineering Geology" and "Environmental Geology".
The main courses taught at the Department include: Engineering geology, Ground science, Engineering geodynamics, Regional engineering geology, Engineering facilities, Soil mass survey methods, Technical soil reclamation, Chemical analysis of soils, Mathematical statistics in engineering geology, Engineering geological calculations and modelling, Monitoring of engineering-geological and lithotechnical systems, GIS in geology, Soil dynamics, as well as Environmental geology, Environmental-geological cartography, Environmental and geological conditions of Russia, and others.
Among the elective courses are: Soil thermodynamics, Technogenic soils, Physicochemical foundations of injection soil consolidation, Hydrothermal changes in rocky soils, Mapping and forecasting of hazardous geological processes, Solving engineering-geological problems by numerical methods, Engineering geology of cryolithozone, Special engineering-geological maps, Three-dimensional modelling of engineering-geological arrays, Analysis and assessment of geological risks, Biodiagnostics and biotesting in environmental geology, Geological factors of environmental risk, etc.
The researchers of the Department have published a number of new textbooks and teaching aids, including the 6th revised edition of the textbook «Soil studies», «Engineering Geological Calculations and Modelling», «Monitoring of Geological, Lithotechnical and Environmental-Geological Systems», «Geological Space as an Environmental Resource and its Transformation under the Influence of Technogenesis», «Environmental-geological conditions of Russia», «Environmental geodynamics».
Scientific research at the Department is conducted within the framework of the state budget subjects, as well as various grants and contracts. Since the early 1960s, the life of the Department has been inextricably linked with the work of large expeditions in Western and Eastern Siberia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Volga, Kama, Amur, Dniester, BAM, Nechernozemye. The researchers from the Department participated in engineering-geological works at the Olympic facilities in Sochi.
The main areas of scientific research in the laboratory of soil science and technical amelioration of soils are aimed at studying various types of dispersed and rocky soils of natural and technogenic origin, as well as soil behaviour under variable (dynamic) loads, and development of methods for cleansing clay soils from various pollutants. Employees of the laboratory have developed a methodology for quantitative analysis of soil microstructure by raster electron microscopic images. A classification of clay soils has been proposed, which distinguishes microstructural-mineral varieties. In recent years, the laboratory has been using the method of nondestructive testing of soil structure - the method of X-ray computed tomography, which allows obtaining voluminous soil structure data, and supplementing these data with the results of electron microscopic studies, obtaining characteristics of the soil structure from macro- to nanolevels. Structural-geological and petrological-genetic regularities in the formation of physical-mechanical properties of various types of rocky soils and the dynamics of their changes during the course of postgenetic processes are studied and the regularities of formation of soils of hydrothermal-metasomatic genesis are revealed. The stress-strain state of rock massifs is studied using numerical simulation and the experimental acoustic-emission method based on the Kaiser effect. A mathematical model of the dynamic deformation of disperse soils has been developed. Research is being carried out to establish the regularities of the origin and development of the state of deformation instability of disperse soils, as well as to reveal the features of the clay soils behaviour in the range of small deformations. Studies of mineral nanostructures in natural and artificial soils are carried out in order to reveal features of their chemical-mineral composition, localization sites and physical-chemical properties. The laboratory is working on the study of ground mixtures and composites with the purpose of creating soils with specified properties for solving engineering geological and ecological problems.
In the laboratory of engineering geodynamics and justification of the engineering protection of the territory, researchers study the regularities and the mechanism of dangerous geological processes; develop the theory of geological risks assessment, investigate the stress-strain state of rock massifs and its variability under the influence of seismic impact and technogenic factors; develop the methods of geoinformation analysis of regional features development of geological processes, including 3D modelling of natural and natural-technical systems; estimate the subsidence of the Earth's surface caused by the extraction of groundwater, oil and gas.
In the laboratory of regional engineering geology and rational use of the geological environment, the researchers deal with various issues connected with the theory, methodology and history of regional engineering and geological research; carry out a regional study of different types of soils; investigate the engineering-geological conditions of the cryolithozone; work on improving the methods of regional engineering and geological research. GIS has been created to study and generalize the experience of exploration under various engineering and geological conditions.
In the laboratory of environmental geology, the researchers carry out complex studies of the environmental functions of the lithosphere; develop theoretical issues connected with the estimation of impact of geological conditions on ecosystems, including the human being, as well as issues of environmental resource science, environmental geodynamics, environmental geochemistry and environmental geophysics; conduct engineering and environmental surveys and accounting of data; generalize and evaluate the transformation of the environmental functions of the lithosphere in the era of technogenesis, conducting the case studies of the largest regions of Russia.
4 января 2021 года на 85-м году жизни скончался сотрудник сотрудник кафедры региональной геологии и истории Земли Леонид Михайлович Расцветаев