Military Geology

military geology

[′mil·i‚ter·ē jē′äl·ə·jē]
The application of the earth sciences to such military concerns as terrain analysis, water supply, foundations, and construction of roads and airfields.

Geology, Military


the branch of geology that studies the geological structure of terrain and the hydrogeological conditions from the point of view of the requirements of engineering support for troop combat actions; substantiates the location of various fortified works, airfields, military roads and bridges, military hydroengineering and other structures, and the organization of troop water supply; evaluates the passability of the terrain for different combat arms; and searches for and explores underground waters and inorganic construction materials.

Until World War I (1914-18) the study of the geological structure of the terrain and hydrogeological conditions for military purposes was unplanned, and military specialists rarely used this information (it was used during the building of certain forts and for their defense). During World War I military geological service to the armies became extensive and systematic. In the English, American, German, and Austro-Hungarian armies special military geology services were formed, whereas in the Russian, French, and certain other armies civilian geologists and scientific research establishments were involved in solving geological questions in the theaters of war.

Work was done in the USSR to study and generalize the military geological experience gained in World War I with regard to the location of defensive works and the carrying out of various types of military engineer work. During the 1930’s in France, Germany, Finland, annd other countries the data of military geology were used during the construction of defensive lines (Maginot, Siegfried, and Mannerheim). During the course of World War II (1939-45), the need to study the geological structure of the terrain rose significantly and the preparation of special geological and hydrogeological maps became widespread. These maps were used extensively for such military purposes as troop maneuvers and organization with regard to water obstacles. Military geological services were formed in virtually all the armies of the warring countries.

In postwar times military geology has continued to develop, particularly in connection with the appearance of nuclear weapons.


Voennaia geologiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
Popov, V. V. Geologiia v voenno-inzhernnom dele. Moscow, 1958.


References in periodicals archive ?
After an introductory chapter on the defense landscape of the early 21st century and the concept of environmental security, chapters discuss historical perspectives, including how military geology was practiced before the 21st century; the geographical, security, and political considerations for army installations in the US; the conduct of military operations in arid regions; and the hazard of desert dust storms.

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