The project is focused on investigating rock mass properties, origin and formation of Upper Cretaceous Flints from the North Sea basin. The study will involve extensive fieldwork to characterise flints within the context of their in-situ sedimentary origin and to collect samples for series of laboratory tests. Results from these tests will be utilised to evaluate the influence of different environmental settings on physical properties of the rock. In addition to this, variation in physical properties of the rock with colour and stratigraphic locations will also be correlated. Meanwhile, the laboratory tests results will be combined with modern isotope geochemical methods to predict the origin, formation and properties of the rock.
The outcome of this study is expected to provide the models for reliable and efficient design of drilling/tunnelling methods or equipment, with the view to solving several problems encountered when drilling/tunnelling in chalk bearing flints. The project will also serve as a source of current and comprehensive geotechnical/physical properties data of flints from the countries making the North Sea basin, for engineering, hydrogeological, geo-environmental, and petroleum geological industries. This is due to the roles played by the Upper Cretaceous chalk as an aquifer, petroleum reservoir as well as deposits for several complex engineering projects in many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America.