Prof J. Louis van Rooy


Associate Professor: Engineering Geology

  Tel: +27-(0)12- 420 2023
  Fax: +27-(0)12- 362 5219
  E-mail: [email protected]


  • Engineering geological properties of granite saprolite.
  • Durability of basic igneous rock used in civil engineering construction.
  • Interaction between groundwater vulnerability, surface stability and urban development on karst terrains.
  • Influence of engineering geological conditions on mass housing schemes.


1992 PhD Engineering Geology, University of Pretoria1985 MSc Engineering Geology, University of Pretoria

1979 BSc (Hons) Engineering Geology, University of Pretoria


2005 – present: Associate Professor of Engineering Geology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

1985 – 2005: Senior Lecturer in Engineering Geology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

2000 – present: Part-time consultant servicing town and regional planners, civil engineers and the community on issues related to housing development, foundations for structures, dolomite stability, construction material durability and bulk water supply schemes.

1985 – 2000: Part-time consultant to AFRICON Engineering Inc., Pretoria, South Africa

1979 – 1985: Geologist, Geological Survey of South Africa



2003 - present Programme coordinator for Honours course in Engineering and Environmental Geology.

1985 – 2007 Responsible for pre and post-graduate teaching of engineering geology and geology to civil engineering students

Project supervision:

1988-present Supervisor and co-supervisor of 15 MSc dissertations and 2 PhD theses.

2008 – present Supervise MSc project by Izak Breytenbach on “The relationship between index testing and California Bearing Ratio values for natural road construction materials in South Africa.”

Supervise MSc project by Glory Momubaghan on the “Geotechnical investigation works carried out for mass transit rapid link over dolomite bedrock area: a case study.”

Supervise PhD research by Mehran Kholeini on the “Engineering Geological Assessment and Rock mass Characterization of the Asmari Foramtion as Large Dam Foundation in south-western Iran (Zagros Range).”“

2000-present Supervision of honours projects – University of Pretoria


1985-present Present and develop various pre-graduate and post-graduate courses for civil engineering, mining engineering, geology and engineering geology students.


Fellow of the South African Institute for Engineering and Environmental Geologists

Member of the International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment

Member of the Geological Society of South AfricaProfessional Natural Scientist; SACNASP


Van Rooy, J.L., Changuion, J.P., Venter, I.S., 1987. Tegniese nota oor die implikasies van finansiële en lewens­ verlies van sinkgate. Seminar on the engineering geological evaluation of dolomitic terrains. SA Geological Survey, Applied Research Unit on Dolo­mite and the Department of Geology University of Pretoria. 7 September 1987.

Van Rooy, J.L., 1988. Index test results and durability characteristics of Drakensberg Basalts. Rock Mechanics in Africa, First Regional Conference for Africa, ISRM. November 1988. pp. 53‑59.

Van Rooy, J.L., 1991. The influence of the mineralogy on the durability of Drakensberg basalts. Geotechnics in the African Environment. Proc 10th Reg. Conf. for Africa on Soil Mech. and Found. Eng. and the 3rd Int. Conf. on Tropical and Residual Soils. Maseru. Kingdom of Lesotho. 23-27 September 1991. pp 383-392.

Van Rooy, J.L., 1994. Aggregate selection criteria for Drakensberg basalt, Kingdom of Lesotho. Seventh International Congress, International Association of Engineering Geology, 5-9 September 1994, Lisbon, Portugal. (Ed. Oliviera, R., Rodrigues, L.F., Coelho, A.G. & Cunha, A.P.) pp 3245-3250.

Van Rooy, J.L., 1994. Testing of Drakensberg Basalt for use in Civil Engineering Projects. Tuncon '94: Advances in Underground Construction with Special Reference to Tunnelling in Basalt, South African National Council on Tunnelling, November 1994. Midrand. pp 71-77

Croukamp,L. and Van Rooy, J.L., 1998. An engineering geological information system for land-use planning in South Africa: results from the Pretoria - Johannesburg region. 8th Congress of the International Association of Engineering Geology. Engineering Geology: A Perspective from the Pacific Rim. 21-25 September 1998. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Botha, F.S., Van Rooy, J.L., Vivier. J.J.P, 2000. The value of groundwater resources associated with carbonatites. 30th Congress. Groundwater: Past achievements and future challenges. Int. Ass. Hydrogeologists. Cape Town. 26 November – 1 December 2000.

Van Rooy, J.L. and Jermy, C.A., 2002. Editors: Engineering Geology for Developing Countries. Keynote lectures and extended abstracts. 9th Congress of the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment, 16 – 20 September 2002. Durban, South Africa.

Van Rooy, J.L. and Jermy, C.A., 2002. Editors: Engineering Geology for Developing Countries. Proceedings. 9th Congress of the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment, 16 – 20 September 2002. Durban, South Africa.

Leyland, R., Witthüser K.T. and Van Rooy, J.L., 2006. Vulnerability mapping in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, South Africa. 8th Conference on Limestone Hydrology. Neuchâtel, Switzerland. 21 – 23 September 2006.

Invited keynote speaker: Training Engineering Geologists in Developing Countries: South African Perspectives and Challenges. First International Conference on Education and Training in Geo-Engineering Sciences: Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Geology, Rock Mechanics. Constantza - Romania, June 2nd – 4th, 2008.


Breytenbach, I J,Paige-Greene, P and Van Rooy, J L, 2010. The relationship between index testingand California Bearing ration values for natural road construction materials inSouth Africa. J. SA Inst of Civ Eng.Vol 52, No 2. October 2010 pp.65-69. Koleini, M. and Van Rooy,J.L., 2010. Falling rock hazard index: a case study from the Marun Dam andpower plant, south-western Iran. Bull EngGeol Environ. DOI 10.1007/s10064-010-0327-6 Van Rooy, J.L. (1989). The water absorption and durability character­istics of Drakensberg basalts. Contributions to Engi­neering Geology, Vol. 1. S.A.Institute of Eng.Geol. & Geological Survey of S.A. Government Printer, Preto­ria. pp. 69‑79. Van Rooy, J.L. and Nixon, N. (1990). Mineralogical alteration and durability of Drakensberg basalts. South African Journal of Geology, Vol. 93, no. 5/6, 1990. pp 729-737. Van Rooy, J.L. and Van Schalkwyk, A. (1993). The geology of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project with special reference to the durability of construction materials. Journal of African Earth Sciences, Vol.16, No1/2, pp 181-192. Buttrick, D.B., Van Rooy, J.L. and Ligthelm, R. (1993). Environmental geological aspects of the dolomites of South Africa. Journal. of African Earth Sciences, Vol.16, No.1/2, pp 53-61. Van Rooy, J.L. (1996). The role of engineering and environmental geology in the Reconstruction and Development Programme for South Africa. Bulletin International Association of Engineering Geology. No. 53. April 1996. 115-120. Stiff JS, Croukamp L, Keyter GJ, McKnight CL, Tromp B, Van Rooy JL, Venter JP. 1997. Guidelines for Urban Engineering Geological Investigations. South African Institute of Engineering Geologists and the South African Institution of Civil Engineers. Pretoria, 1997. Van Rooy, J.L. and Stiff, J.S., 2001. Guidelines for urban engineering geological investigations in South Africa. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment. Vol 59. Issue 4. pp0285-0295 Eriksson, P.G., Catuneanu, O., Els, B.G., Bumby, A.J., Van Rooy, J.L. and Popa, M. (2005). Kaapvaal craton: changing first- and second-order controls on sea level from c. 3.0 Ga to 2.0 Ga. Sedimentary Geology, Vol. 176, Issues 1-2, pp121-148. April 2005 Manuel Parizot, M., Eriksson, P.G., Aifa, T., Sarkar, S., Banerjee, S., Catuneanu, O., Altermann, W., Bumby, A.J., Bordy, E.M., Van Rooy, J.L. and Boshoff, A.J., (2005). Microbial mat-related crack-like sedimentary Structures in the c. 2.1 Ga Magaliesberg Formation sandstones, South Africa. Precambrian Research. Dippenaar, M.A., Sole, M.D., Van Rooy, J.L., Du Toit, G.J. and Reynecke, J.L., 2005. Determining actual LNAPL plume thickness: Review and case study in a fractured aquifer. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment. Vol 64. pp347-360. Fourie,C.J.S., Cole, P. and Van Rooy, J.L., 2008. Three-dimensional in-situ small movement elasticity modulus estimations of the subsurface using a seismic technique. Africa Geoscience Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 1-10, 2008. Trollip, N, Van Rooy, J.L. and Eriksson, P.G., 2008. Analysis of the occurrence and importance of slot development (grykes) within shallow dolomite zones in a selected type area on the Eccles Formation. South African Journal of Geology, Vol. 111, No. 2-3, September 2008. pp. 333-344.
Dippenaar, M. A., Witthüser, K. T. & Van Rooy, J. L. (2009). Groundwater occurrence in basement aquifers in Limpopo Province, South Africa: model-setting-scenario approach. Environmental Geology. DOI : 10.1007/s12665-009-0044-2 RESEARCH REPORTS Botha, W.J., Combrinck, M., Botha F.S., Van Rooy, J.L., 2001. An integrated multi-disciplinary geophysical approach to groundwater exploration in the Nebo Granite, Northern Province. WRC Report No. 862/1/01. Water Research Commission. Pretoria. 2001 Beekman, H., Bumby, A., Dennis, I., Dippenaar, M.A., Rossouw T.G., Titus, R., Petzer, K., Van Rooy, J.L., and Witthüser, K.T., 2008. Determining sustainable yields of potential productive well fields in the basement aquifers of the Limpopo Province (with special emphasis on the Limpopo (WMA 1) and Luvuvhu/Letaba (WMA 2) Water Management Areas). Progress report: WRC Project No.: K5/1693/1. Prepared for the Water Research Commission. March 2008. Leyland, R.C., Witthüser, K.T and Van Rooy, J.L., 2008. Vulnerability mapping in karst terrains, exemplified in the wider Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Water Research Commission Report KV 208/08. April 2008. events CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS 1. The engineering geological properties of granitic saprolite on Basement Terrains. Team member: Mr M A Dippenaar (UP). Determination of geotechnical properties of different soil horizons covering granite-gneiss bedrock in the Limpopo Province; related to specific catchments. Reconstruction of different vertical profiles related to the geomorphological hirtory of the area. Application of vadose zone properties and seepage characteristics to manage and limit possible pollution from ground-based sanitation systems, cemeteries and waste disposal sites. 2. Reassessment of present state of the art evaluation of dolomite stability in term s of Inherent Risk Classes and actual karst phenomena. Co-worker: Mrs T Oosthuizen (Council for Geoscience). Zoning of an area to the south of Pretoria based on existing borehole information and relating the IRC to the actual stability history of the area. BOOK REVIEWS Van Rooy, J.L., 2002. Hydrogeology of an arid region: The Arabian Gulf and adjoining areas by Alsharhan, A.S. et al. Jnl. African Earth Sciences Vol. 35, p. 177 Elsevier. 2002. PROFESSIONAL SERVICES PERFORMED Representative of Academia on the ECSA Working Group on Geotechnical Code on competent persons. External examiner of 4 MSc dissertations from University of KwaZulu-Natal, one from University of Mauritius and two PhD theses from University of KwaZulu-Natal. Referee various publications in the following journals: · Journal of African Earth Sciences · Africa Geoscience Review · South African Journal of Geology · Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology · Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineers Assist entrepreneurial firm Amirikwini Bussiness Enterprises CC. to obtain funding from the Development Bank of SA to establish an aggregate quarry. 2002 – 2006. Advise on groundwater as a possible source for irrigation at Tateni HIV Aids Community Support property in Mamelodi. 2008. Head of Residence: Mopanie Residence, University of Pretoria (2003 – present) Chairman and programme coordinator: Orientation of first year students in university residences, 2005 - present.
Van Rooy, J.L. (1989). A new proposed classification system for dolomitic areas south of Pretoria. Contributions to Engi­neering Geology, Volume 1. S.A.Institute of Eng. Geol. & Geological Survey of S.A. Government Printer, Preto­ria. pp. 57‑65.
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