NZ Geomechanics News

Obituary for Professor Milan Matula (1924 – 2016)


Prof. Milan Matula, professor of Engineering Geology, died December 26, 2016. He was 92. Professor Matula was a key person in the development of Engineering Geology when this discipline was emerging in the Geoengineering field. He was vice president of IAEG in the 80’s and had a most contributing role in IAEG activities during its first period of its development and thereafter. He was the president of the commission of Engineering Geological Maps a commission with so useful outcome and a guide book published by UNESCO.

Throughout his career, Prof. Matula held positions at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava. He is considered to be the father of modern Engineering Geology in Slovakia both as scientific discipline as well as an important tool for practitioners dealing with various kinds of constructional activities. Under his guidance, since 1952, the Department of Engineering Geology, initially within Czechoslovakia, became an internationally recognized centre of education and research. He focused his research on regional studies closely connected with engineering geological mapping, namely with standardization of principles, systems and methods for their preparation. This effort resulted in the multi-authored-guidebook (M. Arnould, W.R: Dearman, etc.) prepared for UNESCO by the IAEG Commission on Engineering Geological Maps under the chairmanship of Prof. Matula. The guidebook published in 1976 gives the state-of-the-art of the experience from various countries where engineering geological mapping was already undertaken at an advanced level and later on served as a practical tool for assessing and implementing engineering geological phenomena affecting the engineering use of different terrains around the world.

Prof. Matula was the first who described the engineering geological conditions of Western Carpathians in the book Regional Engineering Geology of Slovakia, published also in English (1969), later on was the chief-editor of engineering geological maps at the scale 1:200 000 covering whole territory of Slovakia (1988).

Prof. Matula was the author of more than 160 papers, 12 monographs and several text books.In 1968 at the occasion of the 23th International Geological Congress in Prague Prof. Matula was elected within new created IAEG as the chairman of the Commission on Engineering Geological Maps (1968-1984), in 1982 in New Delhi was elected as the IAEG vice-President and in 2001 in Helsinki he was given the IAEG honorary membership. During his international activities mostly within IAEG he delivered 40 general and panel reports (Prague 1968, Montreal 1972, Sao Paulo 1974, Sydney 1976, Madrid 1978, Newcastle 1979, Paris 1980, New Delhi 1982, Moscow 1984, Buenos Aires, 1986, Beijing 1987, etc.).

Prof. Matula had retired in 1989. However his activity and interests on several issues concerning engineering geology remained and he wrote the book “Engineering Geology in Land-use Planning (1995).

It was a great pleasure to have known him as the teacher, supervisor and colleague, both for the majority of Slovak and Czech engineering geologists and international community, as well.

His scientific legacy is well rooted in the Comenius University.

By Jan Vlcko
Chairman of Slovak Association
of Engineering Geologists

Paul Marinos
Past President of the International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG)


NZ Geomechanics News
Jan Vlcko, Paul Marinos
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 93 - June 2017

Leave a Reply