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April 25, 2018, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Bangladesh

International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG)

IAEG Bangladesh National Group

The Challenges of Geotechnical Exploration for a Sustainable 
Urban Development and Engineering Geological Risk Reduction 
in Bangladesh 
Mir Fazlul Karim PG
Engineering Geologist
Geocomp Corporation / GeoTesting Express Inc., USA
(Former Director, Geological Survey of Bangladesh)
geologist.karim@gmail.com
mkarim@geotesting.com ; mfk@agni.com
Few words on the 
History of Engineering 
Geology in Bangladesh

Mir Fazlul Karim P. G.


Engineering Geologist
Geocomp Corporation / GeoTesting Express Inc.,
Massachusetts, USA
(Former Director, Geological Survey of Bangladesh)
geologist.karim@gmail.com
mkarim@geotesting.com ; mfk@agni.com
History of Engineering Geology in Bangladesh
Hope you all are doing well!!! It is my pleasure to acknowledge the formation of International 
Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment: Bangladesh National Group (IAEGE‐
BNG) and inviting me to present this paper. All the founding members are being appreciated 
for their endeavor for formation of this group and thanks to Professor Dr. ATM Shakhawat 
Hossain, one of the devoted pioneering engineering geologist of Bangladesh, for your effort in 
bringing all the interested engineering geologists under this umbrella. The history of 
advancement of engineering geology in Bangladesh dates back to early seventies after the 
independence of the country. By the virtue of national capacity the Geological Survey of 
Bangladesh (GSB) led the beginning of professional practice and contribution of engineering 
geology in Bangladesh. Among the pioneer engineering geologists of this land, with due 
honour I would like to mention the name Mr. Mesbahuddin Ahmed, Mr. Anisur Rahman, AKM 
Shahidul Hasan, Mr. Hasan Faruque, Mr. Khurshid Alam, Dr Khandokar Musharaff Hossain, Dr. 
Sajjad Hossain and many others (do not have in head now).  Though the concept and 
understanding of engineering geology existed during the early development years (before 
1980) of Bangladesh, the quantification of qualitative geological information and data for 
engineering application was very limited as practice of civil engineering was mostly relied on 
thumb rules.  
History of Engineering Geology in Bangladesh (cntd.)
Anyway, I will say Mr. Mesbahuddin Ahmed was the first engineering geologist of Bangladesh who 
coauthored the eismic code for structural design engineering, through a national committee (popularly 
known as Committee of Experts on Earthquake Hazard Minimization of Geological Survey of 
Bangladesh), where the structural engineering team was led by renowned civil ngineer Dr. Jamilur Reza 
Choudhury of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). The first quantitative 
engineering geological input was demonstrated by a group of young geologists of Dhaka University 
Geology Department led by Mir Fazlul Karim where the members of the team were Dr. Arif Mahiuddin
Sikder and Dr. M. Aziz Hasan in 1980 during an engineering exhibition of Bangladesh Institute of 
Engineers in Dhaka, sponsored by Mr. Nurul Amin, Managing Director of Foundation Consultants Ltd. 
The group made a poster session and participated in the exhibition to demonstrate geological factors 
responsible for damaging different infrastructures in the cities. The most revolutionary presentation 
was convincing that about the roads of Dhaka city get damaged due to geological reasons. The reasons 
are simple. The Madhupur Clay that forms the ground of Dhaka city is composed of swelling type of clay 
and after every rainy seasons the roads get bumped up with swelling heaves and troughs causing 
fractures in the asphalt (or tarmacs in the airports) ultimately degrading the physical conditions. The 
engineers from the Roads and Highways adopted a significant change in the design and construction of 
pavement and sub‐base. The underlying red soils are removed and replaced by compacted soil/sand. 
This practice changed the quality of roads sharply in Dhaka city since early eighties. 
History of Engineering Geology in Bangladesh (cntd.)
Afterward many geologists of Bangladesh worked directly or indirectly for the advancement of Engineering 
Geology in Bangladesh. I would like to mention the names with due respect for their contributions, like Dr. 
Badrul Imam in petroleum and mining engineering approaches, Dr. Syed Humayun Akhter in earthquake, 
structural and tectonics, which provided a direction for hazard assessments,  Dr. Hossain Monsur for his 
great work for understanding of quaternary geology that is an integral part of engineering geology, Dr. 
Maksud Kamal for his great work on Dhaka city and disaster management, Dr. Aftab Alam Khan for his 
contribution in geophysical engineering, Mr. ATM Assaduzaman for his devotion for understanding of urban 
geology, Dr. Reshad M Ekram Ali for his signatory work in coastal geology, Dr. Kazi Matin Ahmed and Dr. 
Anwar Zahid for their work for understanding hydrological challenges in urban settings of Bangladesh, Dr. 
M Qumrul Hasan, Dr. Hamidur Rahman, Dr. ASM Woobaidullah, Dr. Mushfique Ahmed, Dr. Khairul Bashar, 
Dr. Emdaul Haque and Dr. Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan for their contribution in teaching of engineering 
geology/hydrlgeology and many modern engineering geologists like Md. Zillur Rahman, Mr M Abdul Aziz 
Patwary, Nasima Begum, Nurun Nahar Faruka, Dr. Sultana Nasreen,M Ashraful Kamal, Mr. Feruj Alam and 
many others have taken the  responsibilities for advancement of engineering geology in Bangladesh. 
Simultaneously, many professional civil engineers continued supporting consideration of necessity of 
geological information in their design and Bangladesh Roads and Highways involved Geological Survey of 
Bangladesh in their design team during geotechnical investigation and design phase of first Buriganga
bridge. 
History of Engineering Geology in Bangladesh (cntd.)
I would like to remember with due respect Engineer Delwar Hussain, the Project in Charge 
(in 1981) of Buriganga Bridge who campaigned consideration of geological information 
during the structural design phase. 
The involvement of Geological Survey of Bangladesh with many engineering project 
continued, and GSB played a significant role in preparation of Bangladesh National Building 
Code (BNBC 1991) and I will take this opportunity to mention that Mir Fazlul Karim of GSB 
worked with Engineer Md. Nurul Amin for postulating geotechnical testing standards in 
Bangladesh. Later in early nineties Bangladesh Society for Geotechnical Engineering (BSGE), 
Bangladesh chapter of International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical 
Engineering (ISSMGE) was formed under the leadership of Dr AMM Safiullah where I was 
one of the founding members. I would like to appreciate all the civil engineers with whom I 
got opportunities to work for their support in advancement of engineering geological 
practices in Bangladesh. The significant names are Mr. Nurul Amin, Dr. Jamilur Reza 
Choudhury, Dr. AMM Safiullah, Dr. Humayun Kabir, Dr. Hussain Ali, Dr. Md. Zoynul Abedin, 
Mr. Mohammad Abu Sadeque, Dr. Mehedi Ahmed Ansary, Dr. Tahmeed Al‐Hussaini and 
many others. 
The Challenges of Geotechnical Exploration for a Sustainable Urban Development and Engineering Geological Risk Reduction
in Bangladesh
Mir Fazlul Karim, Geocomp Corporation, Acton, MA 01720, USA
ABSTRACT
The rapid growth of population, urbanization, communication and development of infrastructure in Bangladesh has sharpened the need for
understanding of geotechnical exploration methods and engineering geological characteristics that can help to make the urban ground more
livable, resilient and sustainable. Geotechnical exploration involves penetrating the ground by various direct and indirect probing and sounding
tools for collecting geological, geophysical and engineering parameters for assessment and characterizing subsurface conditions for intelligent
and safe design and construction of infrastructures. Present study indicates that though the practice of geotechnical exploration and testing
exists in Bangladesh, the system is still yet to adopt controlled quality, standard, unified and acceptable methods. Entering into a new
urbanization process, the development projects of the country received finance from various sources and were monitored by respective
agencies with prescribed methodology for execution and implementation. This dilemma of funding and ownership over the projects put the
geotechnical exploration and testing system in challenging state.
Bangladesh is a unique example of rapid urbanization. The urban population of the country increased from 7 to 35 million during the last four
decades despite many natural hazards. Due to complex geological and tectonic settings, the land mass has varied geomorphological facets,
impacted by active fluvio-deltaic processes and the regional seismic vulnerability. The very densely populated and unplanned cities are facing
risk of several known and unknown geological hazards like floods, tidal surges, riverbank and coastal erosion, scour, landslides, soil collapse and
foundation failures. Beside these many geologists are assuming much bigger threats from tectonic structures, which has to be tested for clear
understanding and projection.
Present study attempts to integrate the visible geological hazards for Engineering Geological Risk Reduction. Engineering geology is concerned
with any subsurface construction, operation and maintenance, safe and sustainable structure over geological materials. Risk is always present in
any alteration of geological environment and geological materials during or after the construction. Because of irrational urban population density
it is envisaged that in many cities of Bangladesh the urban underground will require an intense modification or alteration to accommodate urban
facilities including installation of multilevel transportation system and underground space utilization. For sustainable urban development
Bangladesh is fronting a difficult engineering geological challenges though the megacity of Dhaka has very advantageous natural ground
condition comparing to any other cities of the world. Only standard geotechnical exploration and testing system will help to characterize
geological materials and detailed three dimensional engineering geological modeling and thus reduce the risks.
Bangladesh is a unique example of rapid urbanization. The urban
population of the country increased from 7 to 35 million during the last
four decades despite many natural hazards.
Due to complex geological and tectonic settings, the land mass has
varied geomorphological facets, impacted by active fluvio-deltaic
processes and the regional seismic vulnerability.
The very densely populated and unplanned cities are facing risk of
several known and unknown geological hazards like floods, tidal
surges, riverbank and coastal erosion, scour, landslides, soil collapse
and foundation failures. Also recently placed sub-ducting plate
boundary / edge and possibilities of megathrust. (Ref : Michael S. Steckler, S. Humayun Akhter, 
Leonardo Seeber 2016)

THE PROBLEM IS MANY OF THESE ARE NOT AT


ALL VISIBLE OR GENERALLY NOTICEABLE…!!
This rapid growth of population, urbanization,
communication and development of
infrastructure has sharpened the need for
understanding of Geotechnical Exploration
Methods and Engineering Geological
Characteristics (nvolves both field and
laboratory testing).

This will help to make the urban ground more


livable, resilient and sustainable.
Here is a glimpse of an urban cluster

Bangladesh urban centers


After Islam, KMN , 2016
This is an example of rapid chronological  DHAKA METROPOLITAN AREA 
expansion of Dhaka city and urban area DEVELOPMENT PLAN
By Mir Fazlul Karim
Urbanization in Bengal started during the Kingdom of Kamarupa between 
350 and 1140 CE. Even during the Hindu Kingdom  (1095 AD) there were 
many urban seats developed in Bengal. The city of Dhaka achieved 
importance during Sultanate Period in 16th Century and became capital of 
Bengal during Mughal rule, flourished during British East India Company rule 
(1772—1857) and British Raj (1858—1947). Today Dhaka is one of the 20 
Mega cities of the world having population of 19,580,000, ranking 10th in 
the world.                 http://worldpopulationreview.com/world‐cities/
5
Bangladesh urban centers 4

2
1 3

1 ‐ PRE MUGHAL
2 – MUGHAL
3 – BRITISH
4 – PRE BANGLADESH
5 – DHAKA METROPOLITAN AREA 
After Islam, KMN , 2016
DRILLING Geotechnical Exploration
Field (as seen in Bangladesh) –
It is direct and indirect probing
having sounding tools for
SURFACE collecting geological, geophysical
OBSERVATION   Rezuan Mahmud in Picture, 1996 Chhatak
and engineering parameters for
Khairul Kabir Adil in Picture, 1996  assessment and characterizing
subsurface conditions for
Chhatak

intelligent and safe design and


construction of infrastructures..
PIT EXCAVATION 

CPT 
PROBING
Bipul Sannamat in Picture, 1996 
Chhatak
Results
STANDARD PRACTICE OF  
FIELD EXPLORATION
Global 
STANDARD BORE HOLE LOGS

SPT, CPT. OTHER PROBING LOGS 
STANDARD, CONTROLLED AND 
ACCRIDETED  LABORATORY 
TESTING SYSTEM FOR 
GEOLOGICAL AND GEOTECHNICAL 
DATA GENRERATION 
THE WORLD OF STANDARDS 
TESTING HAVE TO BE CONTROLLED BY STANDARD GEOLOGICAL AND GEOTECHNICAL METHODS

BS International Organization for Standardization

British Standard Methods of Test for Soils for Civil Engineering Purposes
Indian Standard. 
CODE OF PRACTICE FOR SUBSURFACE INVESTIGATION
GERMAN

The Japanese Geotechnical Society (JGS Standards) /(Laboratory Testing 
Standards for Geomaterials and Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Investigation 
Methods)
CNIS China National Institute of Standardization
Thursday, May 24, 2018 15
WHAT STANDARD IS FOLLOWED IN BANGLADESH? WHO 
CONTROLS THE QUALITY OF TESTING?
• Practice of geotechnical exploration and testing exists in
Bangladesh. The testing organizations owned by private
companies except controlled institues like BUET and different
universities or technical colleges.
• But the system is still yet to adopt controlled quality,
standard, unified and acceptable methods.
• Dr. A M M Shafiullah of (BUET) led to form Bangladesh
Society for Geotechnical Engineering in 1993 when I was a
founding member (to combine geology) with an objective to
create an standard and reliable practice for testing and
exploration in Bangladesh by providing training.
COST OF TESTING WAS A BIG FACTOR
IN THE CONTROL OF QUALITY
Entering into a new urbanization process, the development projects of the
country received finance / funding from various sources and were
monitored by respective agencies with prescribed methodology for
execution and implementation. This dilemma of funding and ownership
over the projects put the geotechnical exploration and testing system in
challenging state.
The large engineering projects are either funded by WORLD BANK, ADB, USAID, 
DID, EU, JICA and NGOs where the consultants are designated from respective 
agency and multi‐standard practice made hindrance in development of 
national standard method, though there is Bangladesh Standard and Testing 
Institute (BSTI). BSTI has yet to take strong shape towards controlling are 
auditing engineering or technical services. 
Engineering Geological Risks

Soft Soil, Swelling Soil 
Earthquake, Liquefaction, Slope Failure, Subsidence, 
City / Urban Flood  
Debris Flow Sand flow 
Water logging, Flash flood and Annual Flood 
Saline Water Intrusion
Tidal Flood, Soil Erosion, River Bank Erosion, Scour 
Hydro‐geological hazards
The physical growth of the urban centers (more than 500) was so fast that it was 
difficult to maintain a systematic land‐use pattern by the administrators. AND 
THAT PUT THE URBAN FASCILITIES VULNERABLE TO VARIOUS NATURAL, 
ENVIRONMENTAL AND MANMADE HAZARDS……………… 
All engineering and infrastructures are built  on the ground or under 
the ground. If the static or dynamic geologic characteristics are not 
well defined or rightly understood we simply set the structure under 
engineering geological risks, because geotechnical investigations do 
not always cover the risk factors. All structural failures are not due to 
construction or design defects, many are due to poorly judged geology 
of the vicinity. ……….. Rana Plaza of Savar, which is a perfect example 
of Engineering Geological Failure. (Karim, M. F. 2013, Harvard University Seminar). 
THE COLLAPSE OF A BUILDING, SAVAR 
AND AN EXAMPLE OF ENGINEERING 
GEOLOGICAL FAILURE  

Bangladesh Industrial Holocaust, 2013: 
Could this be avoided?

The building occupied a part of a slope of a depression of an abandoned channel, 
filled up with uncompact soil and municipal waste, raised to the road level from 
the annual flood level. The building was constructed on 18 inches diameter and 
60ft long bored cast in situ RCC piles where the pile‐tips were rested on an 
abandoned channel fill. The conventional and simple soil investigation would not 
explain the simple geology and solve the elevation puzzle unless materials are 
geologically judged. 
2001 We have created many 
environment like Savar
Building Failure which was 
silmply an Engineering 
Geological Failure
Location Dhaka: 
23°44'37.16" N  
90°21'43.12" E

Geology: Low Floodplain
2015
Karim, 1991

Only understanding of engineering geology can reduce these urban sufferings, 
communication disruption loss of time, properties and at some time many 
innocent lives

Thursday, May 24, 2018 22
INTERNET INTERNET
NOW THE CHALLENGE IS
DETERMINING engineering
geological characteristics by
mapping and geological testing in
the urban or covered ground….….

So far WE HAVE MAPS !!! but still a


long way to go to support the
upcoming engineering challenges
So far GSB has done different types of geological mapping of many urban areas of the country  

JOYDEBPUR

TONGI
TONGI

MIRPUR

ROMNA

NEW MARKET

Engineering Geology of Dhaka City, 
Engineering Geomorphology of Dhaka City  (Assaduzaman ATM, 1991 and  
Drainage Map of Dhaka City (Karim, M. F., 
(Karim, M. F., 1993) CDMP 2009)
1993)
Geology of Sylhet City (CDMP, 2009)

Engineering Geology of Chittagong City  Engineering Geology of Khulna City 
(Karim, M. F., 1993) (Ali, R. M. E. and Karim, M. F., 1993)
Geology of Rajshahi City (Karim, M. F. 1985) Geology of Barisal City (Karim, M. F. 1984)
THE CHALLENGES OF QUALITY 
and UPDATED LARGE SCALE 
DIGITAL AND INTERACTIVE 
DERIVATIVE MAPS

Thursday, May 24, 2018 27
NEED GOOD MAPS ‐
TRANSFER THIS LARGE 
SCALE MAPS TO 
DETAILED GEOLOGICAL 
MAPS WITH ALL 
POSSIBLE VERTICAL 
LOGS AND ENGINEERING 
GEOLOGICAL 
CHARECTERESTICS FOR 
SITE SPECIFIC 
GEOTECHNICAL 
DATABASE
Analysis and Use of 
Photogrammetric 
Methods for Geologic 
Characterization

SURVEY OF BANGLADESH HAS GOOD URBAN MAPS 1:5,000
An unique example of altered 
ground… What is risk? Risk 
under the buildings and under 
the feet… !!!
SOUTH PLAZA

The Engineering Geological Risks


FARM GATE  

under urban feet


BASHUNDHARA

3 2
4 LOST RIVER VALLEY
1
Engineering Geological Risks in the middle of Dhaka City, Bangladesh: The river valleys are lost under the altered ground and
urban concrete layers where buildings are collapsed, failed, sinking or living with engineering geological risks. The locations
where recently (1) one under construction high‐rise building project failed due to failure of pile construction and site was
abandoned, (2) under‐construction building failed and one tilted building still being used where the building was tilted during
storm sewer drainage construction, (3) the buildings are still sinking and being used (behind Ferdous Tailors) at Green Rd and
Panthapoth crossing and (4) building collapsed in Kolabagan by killing several people. (Investigated by – Mir Fazlul Karim).
Risk is always present in any alteration of
geological environment and geological materials
during or after the construction.
But the risk can be reduced or damage can be
avoided if there is one engineering geologist is in
the team.
Engineering geology is concerned with any
subsurface construction, operation and
maintenance, safe and sustainable structure over
geological materials covered by urban concrete.
3 2

4 WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND
ON THE URBAN GROUND THERE IS 
NO TRACE 
OF PAST RIVER
Particular challenges are in 
redeveloping unplanned  sites
THE CHALLENGES OF ACTIVE / GIS 
SUPPORTED INTELLIGENT MAPS AND 
ACTIVE MONITORING    

Thursday, May 24, 2018 33
Mapping Techniques Using Drones / with real time 
GIS support for monitoring deformation risk and 
hazard [Should Geological Survey of Bangladesh and other geo‐science 
institutes focus for using drone for modern and active mapping practice]
River Management Improvement Program for BWDB Geologists
Real time monitoring, 
recording and measuring  ASSET 
ground movement , river 
erosion, bank failure and  MANAGEMENT 
water level changes 
Challenges of Instrumentation, Monitoring and
Information Management
• GEOLOGICAL STRUCTURES – Faults or Discontinuities,  
• INFRASTRUCTURES BEHAVIOUR TO EXISTING GROUND CONDITION 
AND AFTER OCCURENCES OF EARTHQUAKES
• REDUCE THE LEVEL OF UNCERTAINITIES IN ALL ASPECTS OF RISK 
MANAGEMENT – Before Construction (Design and Risk Assessment, 
During Construction and After Construction (monitoring the risk and 
re‐ assessment ) 
Real‐time Monitoring for Potential Landslides

USGS Landslide Monitoring

Standpipe
Piezometers /
Monitoring Pore-
Water Pressure

Slope indicator
Real time excavation monitoring
THE CHALLENGES OF 
SEISMIC RISK MANAGEMENT 
AND STANDARDIZATION
Geologic uncertainties in infrastructure 
construction  (especially underground) 
promotes design and construction 
conservatism and has a significant effect 
on cost and success of project. 
Thursday, May 24, 2018 38
Many expert geologists are assuming much
bigger threats from tectonic structures,
which has to be tested for clear
understanding and projection.
This presentation emphasizes to integrate
the visible geological hazards for
Engineering Geological Risk Reduction and
recommends research in uncertainties.
BANGLADESH OCCUPIES AN EARTHQUAKE PRONE TECTONIC ENVIRONMENT 
A paradigm shift of tectonic environment 

THE 
CHALLENGE IS 
TO ASCERTAIN Ref : Michael S. Steckler, S. Humayun Akhter, Leonardo Seeber 2016

THE RISK LEVEL AND ENGINEERING GEOLOGICAL 
Thursday, May 24, 2018 CHARACTERIZATION FOR DESIGN OF INFRASTRUCTURES 41
Site‐specific earthquake hazard characterization  PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA

for Dhaka City, Bangladesh
Mir Fazlul Karim1, Md. Zillur Rahman2, A. S. M. Maksud Kamal3 and Sumi Siddiqua2
ABSTRACT
Seismic hazard characterization is the foremost module for earthquake risk
Figure 7. 3D Block model of Dhaka city surface 
morphology and thick two top layers of very stiff 
Site‐specific earthquake 
to hard clay and moderately lithified sanstone

hazard characterization is 
management in a seismically vulnerable region. The mega city Dhaka in Bangladesh showing very dense urban settlement  
is considered by many researchers as one of the riskiest cities in the world due to
many non‐engineered construction practices and poorly studied tectonic boundary
conditions. The city is built on a Plio‐Pleistocene terrace, located within the
subsiding Bengal basin. The records of historical earthquakes indicate that three
large magnitude earthquakes occurred during the last 150 years within and in close

another challenge 
Figure 9. Deterministic spectral response
proximity to Bangladesh. Magnitudes of these earthquakes ranged from 6.9 to 8.7
occurring between 1885 and 1918. These events caused moderate damage to
buildings and other infrastructures in Bangladesh, but the damage in Dhaka city
were negligible. It is believed that the 6.9 magnitude Bengal earthquake occurred at
about 50 km from the city, although there are multiple controversies about the
location of the epicenter. Many consider that the epicenter of this earthquake was
170 km away from Dhaka city and others inferred the epicenter to be somewhere
along Madhupur fault, approximately 50 km away. The 1885 Bengal, 1897 Great
Indian, and 1918 Srimangal Earthquakes are considered as the seismic sources for
site‐specific seismic hazard characterization. The peak ground acceleration (PGA),
peak ground velocity (PGV), spectral accelerations (SA) of different periods have
Figure 10. Probabilistic total hazard Bangladesh geologists will 
face to support earthquake 
been calculated at the ground surface based on recently developed ground motion
prediction equations and site amplification factors. The amplification factors are
predicted from the average shear wave velocity to a depth of 30 m (Vs30), which are
estimated using various geophysical and geotechnical investigations. The study Figure 6. Satellite image of Dhaka city  Figure 8. Two borehole logs from two 
reveals that the city is built on a very firm ground where seismic risks are showing very dense urban settlement   location showing SPT logs (N), Travel Time 
and Shear Wave Velocity logs. 
manageable provided the engineering structures adhere to the norms of seismic

engineers.  
Generalized
regulations andgeology
buildingofcodes.
Dhaka city : The Mega City of Dhaka occupies an unique Geotechnical and seismic properties of Dhaka ground Figure 11. Probabilistic PGV
geological location. The subsurface geology is firm and almost homogenously Formation Average Consistenc Average Dry Average N value Shear Wave 
consistent. Geologically it is an old terrace raised considerably about 6m above sea Thicknes y and Moistur unit Undrained Range Velocity,
s, Material e Weight Shear (SPT m/sec
level (AMSL). The surrounding floodplains are at about 4m AMSL. The ground is
meter , Strength, count)
composed of Madhupur Clay. The Clay is Over‐consolidated. The shear strength content d su, kPa
properties are considerably high. The Thickness of Madhupur Clay is about 6 m and it , kN/m3
overlies a firm sandstone bed, geologically known as Dupitila Formation (Upper wn %
Dupitila Sandstone). It may be considered as very dense bedrock. The Madhupur Madhupu 6 Stiff
Clay and Dupitila Sandstone are very much suitable for construction of underground r Clay‐SILT 25 16 150 10 ‐ 30 >200 <300 Figure 12. Probabilistic spectral response for 
Clay 0.2 sec period
structure, even for development of underground transportation system for this
growing city. The study reveals that the city has been developed on an advantageous Very dense Dupi Tila > 90
Sandstone < 20 Sandstone
> 16  > 30o Often > 350 <450
geological location consisting of raised Madhupur Clay Formation or older alluvium
with Refusal
in respect to the surrounding floodplains of young alluvial deposits occasional
clay beds
Deterministic and probabilistic seismic hazard analyses: The deterministic and probabilistic seismic hazard analyses were performed for Dhaka City using EZ‐FRISK software of 
Risk Engineering, USA. The earthquake catalogue that was prepared by the Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program (GSHAP) was used for seismic sources. The Next 
Generation of Ground Motion Attenuation Models for the western United States (NGA West) were used in the analysis to estimate ground motion intensity measures (IM), i.e., 
peak ground acceleration (PGA), peak ground velocity (PGV), spectral acceleration (SA) for the periods of 0.2 and 1.0 second, and uniform hazard spectra. The mean values of IM 
Figure 13. Probabilistic spectral response for 
that were estimated using four ground motion prediction equations (GMPE) that are proposed by Abrahamson‐Silva (2008), Boore‐Atkinson (2008), Campbell‐Bozorgnia (2008),  1.0 sec period
and Chiou‐Youngs (2008). Concluding remarks: The event based earthquake study for Dhaka reveals that there are no 
HIMALYAN MOUNTAINS 

large  continuous faults in the vicinity of the city capable of generating large earthquakes. The 
The Great 
Indian  city is built on a very firm ground surrounded by recent floodplain sediments, where the 
INDIA Earthquake 
250 km 
increase of density, shear strength, and shear wave velocity with depth below ground surface 
from Dhaka
Srimangal
are strong advantages for expecting lower seismic risk. The seismic risks posed by faults 
Balisera located more than 140 km away are manageable provided the engineering structures adhere 
INDIA

The  Earthquake
140km from  to the norms of seismic regulations and building codes.
SUBDUCTI

Bengal 
SUBDUCTION 
ON ZONE

Earthq Dhaka
The Great Indian 
uake Earthquake,  Figure 14. Probabilistic uniform hazard 
ZONE

160  M 8.7, June 1897 spectra


References:
An attempted is made for Site‐specific earthquake 
km 
from  Abrahamson, Norman, and Walter Silva. "Summary of the Abrahamson & Silva NGA ground‐motion relations." Earthquake spectra 24.1 
Dhaka (2008): 67‐97.
Boore, David M., and Gail M. Atkinson. "Ground‐motion prediction equations for the average horizontal component of PGA, PGV, and 5%‐
TECTONIC  damped PSA at spectral periods between 0.01 s and 10.0 s." Earthquake Spectra 24.1 (2008): 99‐138.

hazard characterization and was presented in 
ROTATIO Campbell, Kenneth W., and Yousef Bozorgnia. "NGA ground motion model for the geometric mean horizontal component of PGA, PGV, 
NAL 
BAY OF BENGAL STRESS PGD and 5% damped linear elastic response spectra for periods ranging from 0.01 to 10 s." Earthquake Spectra 24.1 (2008): 139‐171.
Chiou, BrianS‐J., and Robert R. Youngs. "An NGA model for the average horizontal component of peak ground motion and response 
spectra.“ Earthquake Spectra 24.1 (2008): 173‐215.  Comprehensive Disaster ManagementProgramme (CDMP). Seismic hazard and 
DHAK
Figure 2. Map showing three historical  vulnerability assessment of Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet city corporation areas. Final Report. Ministry of Food and Disaster Management, 
A

Southern California Earthquake Center, USA 
Dhaka, Bangladesh. 2009.
events that did not cause significant  Figure 3. Seismic  Figure 4. Generalized soil  Karim, M F. “Some basic considerations for seismic hazard assessment in a complex geological environment like Bangladesh.” Workshop 
Figure 1. Tectonic and relief map of Indian  damages in Dhaka city   source areas are  condition map by seismic wave  on Earthquake Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Organized by Identification Mission Consultants to the EU Delegation‐Bangladesh, 
Subcontinent located >100 km  February 18, 2004,  Dhaka, Bangladesh 
velocity ranking (m/s) https://www.academia.edu/14000774/Some_basic_considerations_for_seismic_hazard_assessment_in_a_complex_geological_environm
1 Geocomp Corporation, Massachusetts, 125 Nagog away from Dhaka 
Park, Acton, MA 01720, USA. 
city.Email: mfkarimazad@gmail.com
ent_like_Bangladesh._Mir_Fazlul_Karim

2 School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Canada
3 Department of Disaster Science and Management, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Karim, M. F.  and Rahman M. Z. Possible Effect of Moderate Earthquake on Existing Infrastructures of Dhaka City:  A Geological‐
Geotechnical Overview. Bangladesh Journal of Science and Technology, Vol. 4(2), July 2002. pp 193‐203.   
Rahman M Z, Kamal A. S. M. M and Siddiqua S. Shear wave velocity mapping of Dhaka city for seismic hazard assessment. 11th Canadian 
Conference on Earthquake Engineering. Canadian Association for Earthquake Engineering. July 21 – 24, 2015. Rahman M Z, Kamal A. S. M. 
M and Siddiqua S. Liquefaction hazard mapping by liquefaction potential index for Dhaka City, Bangladesh. Eng. Geol.188 (2015) 137‐147. 
(Karim, M. F., et al. 2016) 
THE CHALLENGES OF 
UNDERGROUND SPACE 
UTILIZATION
As cities without the use of underground space are 
unthinkable in a modern urban environment. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018 43
Because of irrational urban population density it
is envisaged that in many cities of Bangladesh
the urban underground will require an intense
modification or alteration to accommodate
urban facilities including installation of
multilevel transportation system and
underground space utilization.
For sustainable urban development
Bangladesh is fronting a difficult
engineering geological challenges though
the megacity of Dhaka has very
advantageous natural ground condition
comparing to any other cities of the world.
A COMPARISON OF UNDERGROUND TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION IN
DHAKA CITY WITH OTHER CITIES (After Karim, M. F. 2005)
CITY ENGINEERING DISADVANTAGES GEOLOGICAL
GEOLOGY ADVENTAGES
KOLKATA AND YOUNG DELTAIC ONLY CHOICE - CUT EASY FOR
BANGKOK SEDIMENTS, SOFT AND FILL AS NO FIRM EXCAVATION AND
CLAY, SILT AND SAND STRTUM AT A EASY FOR REMOVAL
AND PEAT AT NEAR CONSIDERABLE DEPTH. OF WASTE
SURFACE HEAVY DEWATERING
MANHATTAN AND HARD ROCK DIFFICULT TO DRILL OR REQUIRES LESS
MANY EUROPEAN EXCAVATE.. REMOVAL PROTECTION DURING
CITIES DIFFICULT PREGRESION OF
TUNNEL
DHAKA TERRACE OF WILL REQUIER FREEDOM OF CHOICE
SEDIMENTARY ROCK MODERATE FOR ANY METHOD OF
OR STIFF CLAY AND PROTECTION TO TUNNELING AND
VERY DENSE SAND RETAIN TUNNELS REMOVAL OF WSTE
BEFOR RIMMING MATERIALS
By Mir Fazlul Karim GSB Report, 2005
UTTERA
TONGI
MIRPUR

3D Subsurface geological model of Dhaka city, 
Bangladesh showing surface morphology and two 
thick top layers of very stiff to hard clay and 
moderately lithified sandstone; geologically 
advantageous strata for construction of 
underground structures. (CAD by Karim, M. F. 2005)
Bangladesh is waiting for immediate challenges 
for instrumentation and onsite installation for 
satellite based real‐time Monitoring  for active 
risk management in large construction, 
excavation, erosion control and monitoring 
potential landslides
RECOMMENDATION
Because of irrational urban population density Bangladesh 
must face the challenge of multilevel transportation system 
and step into underground space utilization. 

Picture by M Jawad, 1976 December: 
B Sc Honours 3rd Year, Fieldwork, Cox’s Bazar
THANK YOU  
FOR YOUR PATIENCE

ENGINEERING GEOLOGY IS TO MAKE


THE URBAN GROUND MORE
LIVEABLE, RESILIENT, SUSTAINABLE
AND FEEL LIKE RURAL