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No. 41 - March 2018


Update on ARMS10, the 2018 ISRM International Symposium

The10th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium(ARMS10), which will be held in Singapore from 29 Oct to3 Nov 2018, was also approved by the ISRM Board as the ISRM International Symposium for 2018. The theme for ARMS10 is “Rock Mechanics in Resource and Infrastructure Development”.

By end of Jan 2018, ARMS10 had accepted about 500 abstracts from 39 counties. Seven keynote lectures were arranged to cover various fields of rock mechanics and rock engineering, and the keynote speakers were conformed as follows:

  • Derek ELSWORTH, Pennsylvania State University;
  • John HARRISON, University of Toronto;
  • Manchao HE, China University of Mining and Technology;
  • Koji UENISHI, University of Tokyo;
  • Jian ZHAO, Monash University;
  • Zhiye ZHAO, Nanyang Technological University;
  • Robert ZIMMERMAN, Imperial College London.

We are in the process to finalize the short courses/workshops/site visits. For more updated ARMS10 information, please check the ARMS10 webpage:

The ARMS10 Organizing Committee

European Rock Mechanics Symposium - Eurock 2018, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 22-26 May

Dear Colleagues!

We are pleased to invite you to the EUROCK 2018 which will be held on May, 22-26 at Saint Petersburg Mining University (Saint Petersburg, Russia).

For the first time in 50 years the Russian Federation is hosting the ISRM European Rock Mechanics Symposium, the topical issue of the EUROCK 2018 Symposium is "Geomechanics and Geodynamics of Rock Masses", which covers a wide range of high-technology solutions and advanced engineering developments in the field of Geomechanics and Geotechnology from theory to application in practice. We would like to inform you about the following key positions and dates:

1.Registration Form

If you would like to take part in the Symposium and haven't filled the registration form on the EUROCK 2018 website we ask you to fill it ASAP:

2. Organization Fees

Actual information about organization fees and short courses fees; fees of technical tours, accompanying program and guided tours is published on the website:

3. Visa Support

If you need to get a visa support invitation from the University please point this in the registration form. For participants from the European Union, China and India deadline for submission of visa support application is May 10th.

For participants from other countries deadline for submission of visa support application is March 25th (process takes more than 1 month).

4. Accommodation

EUROCK 2018 will be held in the "Multifunctional Complex Gorny". Due to the high season and some key events in St.Petersburg (e.g. SPIEF'18, CityDay in St.Petersburg) we offer you to book an accommodation in same Complex. We reserved the hotel for the event and offer special prices for you. For booking an accommodation on the website of the hotel please use code EUROCK. Deadline for reservation is May, 04.

5. Exhibition

An exhibition of equipment for geomechanical and geodynamic research will be organized, during the Symposium. The venue for the exhibition selected the second tier (balcony) of the conference hall of the Multifunctional complex «Gornyi». Actual information about exhibition is published on the website:

6. Sponsorship

The Symposium is supported by leading Russian and international mining and mining engineering companies. Being a sponsor enables the companies to effectively address corporate, marketing and communication issues in contact with the core audience. Actual information about exhibition is published on the website:

In the meantime, if you have any comments, suggestions and/or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We will be happy to host you in Saint Petersburg!

The Eurock 2018 Organising Committee

21st ISRM Online Lecture by Prof. Laura Pyrak-Nolte

For the 21sh ISRM Online Lecture the ISRM invited Professor Laura Pyrak-Nolte, from United States. The title of the lecture is “Geophysical Characterization of Fractures”. It was broadcasted Thursday, 15th March at 10 AM GMT and will remain available in a dedicated webpage.

Dr. Laura J. Pyrak-Nolte is a Distinguished Professor of Physics & Astronomy, in the College of Science, at Purdue University. She holds courtesy appointments in the Lyle School of Civil Engineering and in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, also in the College of Science. Dr. Pyrak-Nolte holds a B.S. in Engineering Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo, an M.S. in Geophysics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Mineral Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley where she studied with Dr. Neville G. W. Cook.

Her interests include applied geophysics, experimental and theoretical seismic wave propagation, laboratory rock mechanics, micro-fluidics, particle swarms, and fluid flow through Earth materials.

In 1995, Dr. Pyrak-Nolte received the Schlumberger Lecture Award from the International Society of Rock Mechanics. In 2013, she was made a Fellow of the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA). Currently she is the President of the American Rock Mechanics Association, and president-elect of the International Society for Porous Media.

Previous ISRM Online Lectures were given by Wulf Schubert, John Hudson, Pierre Dufaut, Eduardo Alonso, John Read, Herbert Einstein, Shunsuke Sakurai, Resat Ulusay, Dick Stacey, Jean Sulem, Nick Barton, Ove Stephansson, Peter Kaiser, Walter Wittke, Nielen van der Merwe, Giovanni Barla, Charles Fairhurst, Marc Panet, Xia-Ting Feng and Milton Kanji.

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Volume 20 - December 2017 of the ISRM News Journal is now online

The December 2017 issue of the ISRM News Journal is now available. This issue of the News Journal reports the main ISRM activities in 2017. You will find information about the Board and Council meetings and activities, the ISRM President’s Address, the Secretary-General’s Report displaying the evolution of ISRM National Groups and ISRM’s membership in recent years, the Reports from the ISRM Vice-Presidents, the report from the Technical Oversight Committee with the achievements of the Commissions over the period 2016-2017, the report with the activities of the Education Fund Committee and many other articles of interest for the rock mechanics community.

Three technical articles are presented: the ISRM Franklin Lecture 2017 delivered by Prof. Francois Malan, the Rocha Medal presentation by Dr. Bryan Tatone, winner of the Rocha Medal 2017, and an Invited Lecture presented by Prof. Dick Stacey.

The ISRM News Journal is distributed to all members in electronic version. We also print a few copies of the News Journal, which are available at our sponsored symposia.

The Third International Conference on Rock Dynamics and Applications (RocDyn-3)

RocDyn-3 will be held on 25-29 June 2018 in Trondheim, Norway, which includes technical sessions, forums and two-day technical excursions ( It is a specialized conference supported by the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) and the Norwegian National Group of Rock Mechanics (NBG). The conference will cover the recent developments in dynamic rock testing, rockburst, seismic management, dynamic rock support, blasting, earthquake damage, etc. Application topics are paid special attentions in the conference. Two forums will be held on (1) rockburst and dynamic rock support and (2) dynamic testing of rock and blasting by means of invited speeches and open speeches and discussions.

The conference received 100 full papers among which 38 papers are on rockburst, dynamics rock support and seismic monitoring, 33 papers on dynamic rock testing and theoretical / numerical studies, 18 papers on earthquake-related topics and rock blasting, and 11 papers on other relevant topics. The four keynote speakers are Mr. Brad Simser on mine rockburst and dynamic rock support, Prof. Xibing Li on dynamic rock testing, Prof. Finn Ouchterlony on rock blasting and Prof. Chun’An Tang on rock spalling under extreme ground motion. It is two post-conference excursions. Excursion 1 is along a circle route Trondheim - the western coastline – the Dovre plateau – Trondheim for two days. The participants in Excursion 1 will visit mountain tunnels, a subsea tunnel under Atlantic ocean, mountain slides and the Norwegian geology as well as the spectacular glacier-shaped landscape. Excursion 2 is a half-day excursion on underground openings, rock slope stability and bedrock characteristics in the Trondheim area. Read more on the preliminary schedule of the conference and the details of the excursions in this link:

Registraion has been opened ( All who are interested in the conference themes are welcome to RocDyn-3 on 25-29 June 2018 in Trondheim!

Brazilian Symposium on Rock Mechanics – SBMR 2018

The most important geotechnical meeting in Brazil will be held in August 2018, bringing together five major thematic events, including the VIII SBMR - Brazilian Symposium on Rock Mechanics. Also in this edition, the SBMR consolidates itself as a specialized conference of the ISRM and aims to congregate professionals and students of rock mechanics in both national and international spheres, attracting especially participants from South America. The chairman of the event is Prof. Lineu Azuaga Ayres da Silva, president of the Brazilian Rock Mechanics Committee (CBMR). The main committee of the event is composed by the CBMR board members: Dr. Vivian Marchesi (vice-president of CBMR), Prof. Sergio Fontoura (general secretary of the CBMR and vice-president of ISRM for South America), Prof. Carlos Emmanuel Lautenschläger (executive secretary of CBMR) and Profª Anna Luiza Ayres da Silva (treasurer of the CBMR).

The event will take place between August 28 th and September 1 st 2018, in the city of Salvador, Bahia (Bahia Othon Palace Hotel). In parallel to the SBMR, four other events will take place: COBRAMSEG (Brazilian Congress of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering), SPD (Pan-american Symposium on Landslides), Geojovem (Brazilian Symposium of Young Geotechnical Engineers) and Luso-Brasileiro (Luso-Brazilian Congress of Geotechnical Engineering). The central themes of the events are aligned with urban development, which is the theme of SBMR 2018: "Rocks Engineering on Urban Development".

The SBMR technical committee is completing the abstracts evaluation phase, and in this edition SBMR has more than 100 submissions distributed in the following subjects: Underground Excavations, Stability of Rock Slopes, Foundations of Dams and Rock Masses, Field and Laboratory Investigations, Rock Mechanics for Petroleum Engineering, Computational Modeling and Geosciences applied to Rock Mechanics. In addition to the technical sessions, there will be two plenary sessions related to rocks at the event. One of them is already defined, and will be proffered by Prof. Sergio Fontoura, on the subject of rock mechanics in petroleum engineering, addressing the necessary conditions for the success of a project.

In addition to the technical program, the 3rd edition of RockBowl Brazil will also take place within the Symposium. RockBowl is a very successful game, consolidated in the geotechnical community since the last two editions of the SBMR. Organized by CBMR, the game is sponsored by Geobrugg. The prize for the winning team will be a sponsorship to represent Brazil in the international edition of RockBowl, during the International Congress of Rock Mechanics in 2019.

The eighth edition of the SBMR is special for CBMR because it is the largest national rock event before ISRM 2019, which will be held in Foz do Iguaçú in September 2019. The organizers of the symposium are committed to mobilising the Brazilian geotechnical community to participate in the most important international event of rock mechanics.

The organizing committee invites everyone to participate in SBMR 2018! For information and registration, go to and click on the menu "8° SBMR" or directly contact the organizing committee of the event through the email

The SBMR 2018 Organising Committee

Franz Pacher 1919-2018 - In memory of an outstanding engineer and man

Professor Franz Pacher, pioneer of rock mechanics and modern tunnel construction, has passed away in his hometown Salzburg on the 3rd of March 2018 at the age of 98.

Franz Pacher was born in 1919 in Mittelsuchau, now Prostřední Suchá in the Czech Republic. He grew up in Graz, Austria, where he also completed his schooling, military service and, between 1939 and 1943, his study of civil engineering at the Graz University of Technology. From 1943 to 1945 he worked as a scientist in the hydraulic engineering department. From 1945 to 1952 he was a construction manager for hydroelectric power plants in Austria.

Franz Pacher moved to Salzburg in 1952 and started work in Dr. Leopold Müller’s Office for Geology and Civil Engineering. 1952 was also the first year in which a colloquium to improve the mutual understanding of geology and construction was held, albeit the number of delegates did not approach 1000 as it does today, and Dr. Müller’s living room was an adequate venue. Rapid advances in the field of rock mechanics were made in the following years, in which Pacher und Müller played decisive roles. In parallel, collaboration with L. v. Rabcewicz lead to the development of modern tunnelling in the form of the “New Austrian Tunnelling Method”.

Particular achievements of Pacher are in the area of fundamental research, for example the definition of planar and volumetric proportions of discontinuities and the ground reaction curve. In a 1964 publication, Pacher demonstrated for the first time a method for prediction and graphical representation of the interaction between ground pressure and tunnel support loading (the Pacher-Fenner curve). This was based on measurements of deformations and led to the development of the convergence-confinement method. In 2009 Pacher extended this representation to a diagram showing the time-dependency of both ground pressure and deformation.

Franz Pacher was a founding member of the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) in 1962 and the Austrian Society for Geomechanics in 1968, both in Salzburg. He was also leader of an internationally active engineering company, a researcher and teacher at the Technical Universities of Munich and Vienna and an honorary member of several institutions in the fields of rock mechanics and tunnel construction. Furthermore, his 45-year career gave us 60 lectures and publications. Further information on Franz Pacher and the founding of the ISRM is available in an interview with him on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ISRM (

We will always hold this outstanding engineer and man in great respect and wish that he may be an example to us and to future generations.

Wulf Schuber

In memory of Richard Z.T. Bieniawski

Prof. Richard Z.T. Bieniawski, died on 11 December 2017 at his home. He was born in 1936, in Krakow, Poland. He was one of the most prominent and influential rock engineering personalities of the 20th century.

Prof. Bieniawski was trained as a naval architect and marine engineer in Poland, graduated in South Africa as mechanical engineer and obtained a doctorate in mining and tunnel engineering. He taught for 20 years at the Pennsylvania State University and retired on his 60th birthday to Prescott, having become Visiting Professor of Design Engineering at the University of Cambridge, England.

In the ISRM, he was chairman of the Commission on Testing Methods from 1972 to 1979 and Vice President for Africa from 1974 to 1979.

As two who have been to ISRM conferences for a long time, and therefore have known Dick Bieniawski for more than half his life, and during a bigger proportion of our own, it was with sadness we recently heard the news of his death on December 11, 2017.

His enthusiasm for life and work - seemingly at all times - was a foolproof camouflage of the fact that he had a long life, and was truly a senior and respected colleague. Starting in South Africa as a mechanical engineer, where he obtained a PhD in mining and tunnel engineering, he has been through his life a teacher and an engineer.

It is true perhaps, but misleading of his multi-faceted contributions to education, to rock mechanics and to rock engineering, that he is best known for his own RMR rock mass rating, which was a prime member of the 1972, 1973 and 1974 independently developed rock mass classification methods.

It is of interest to underline here that these classification methods miraculously developed almost simultaneously, if we look at the longer time-scale. RMR has of course provided healthy competition for Q, and gave a flying start for GSI.

Dick's book on rock mass classification methods of 1989, Engineering Rock Mass Classifications - A Complete Manual for Engineers and Geologists in Mining, Civil, and Petroleum Engineering, is one of the most cited texts in rock engineering.

However, how could Dick’s contributions to rock mechanics and rock engineering, during his first steps in the discipline, be neglected? The invaluable PhD thesis on the Mechanism of the Brittle Fracture of Rock in compression and tension is a remarkable sign of Dick’s ability to couple theory and practice.

The precious contributions of Dick Bieniawski to rock engineering in mining and tunneling are also to be reminded, as well demonstrated with his books on Strata Control in Mineral Engineering of 1987 and on Rock Mechanics Design in Mining and Tunneling of 1989.

The use of consistent design methods in rock engineering has always been Dick’s concern. This is well demonstrated in the books on Tunnel Design by Rock Mass Classifications of 1990 and on Design Methodology in Rock Engineering of 1992, always complemented with important case histories.

Giovanni Barla and Nick Barton

A tribute to Prof. Don Deere, 1922-2018

Regrettably Prof. Don U. Deere left us on January 14th at the age of 95. He had hardly recovered from a fall a few months earlier. His passing, however, leaves very good memories for his former students, assistants, colleagues and clients. Five years ago, when he was celebrating his 90th birthday, we were invited by his son Don W. Deere and daughter to Gainesville, Florida, to a memorable ceremony, while Prof. Deere was still very active. His last years after he recovered almost totally from a stroke were spent golfing, dancing, etc. at his glamourous retirement resort.

He represented a very important milestone for Engineering Geology and Rock Mechanics in his activities at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Campus, in the 60s and 70s. Together with Prof. Ralph Peck, they led and pioneered Geotechnics and Rock Mechanics in the USA. His area of expertise covered Civil Engineering (Ph.D), Mining (B.S.) and Geology (M.Sc.). My own impression is that Prof. Deere was a man who was very kind and respectful of his students and colleagues whom he encouraged the most. Moreover, he was a man who knew how to utilize the potential of his assistants to make them grow together with him. This resulted in a formation of a group of very talented colleagues, such as Ron Heuer, Alfred J. Hendron, Ed Cording, Frank Patton, and later Gabriel Fernandez, among others who were not of my time. Among his former students, you can find many engineers and geologists who reached senior and influential positions, like Andy Merritt (his consulting partner), Ray Miller, Harvey Parker (President of ITA), Jim Coulson (Chief Engineer at TVA), Ray Benson and Bob Conlon (Both Geotechnical Department Heads at Acres), Brian Sinclair, Sergio Brito, Alan Smallwood, Jim Gamble, Alberto Nieto, Jim Mahar and many others including the author of these lines. After many years at the University of Illinois, he moved to the University of Florida where he could devote more time to his consulting practice.

He was a recognized expert in Engineering Geology and Rock Mechanics and has the great merit of integrating Geology in Geotechnical and Geomechanical projects. He consulted on numerous dams, mining, tunnels and other underground projects for the US government, contractors and design engineering companies all over the world. Many of these projects involved precedent structures such as the Churchill Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador, Canada and the World Trade Centre in New York city. He also acted as a member of the Board of Consultants in many other large projects around the world. In Brazil he made very important contributions as a member of Board of Consultants for the following hydroelectric projects: Itaipu, Água Vermelha, Sobradinho, Itaparica, Paulo Afonso, Itumbiara, Sao Felix, Altamira and others. His first mission in Brazil was to help me on the design of the final slopes of the Cauê Open Pit Mine, in 1972.

His experiences in the field became teaching material for his classes. He wrote and co-authored numerous papers and was, of course, the inventor of the rock mass assessment tool, the RQD. Together with Giovanni Lombardi, he invented the GIN method of grouting. He was Chairman of the US Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. He was the President of the Commission on Standardization of Laboratory and Field Tests of the ISRM from 1968 to 1973. He received numerous distinctions throughout his career including being elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences. He was also a consummate joke teller.

Milton Kanji

A tribute to Professors Richard Bieniawski and Don Deere from Brazil

The Brazilian Tunneling Committee (CBT) of the Brazilian Association of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ABMS), in partnership with the International Tunnelling Association (ITA), the International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (ISRM), the Brazilian Comittee for Rock Mechanics (CBMR) and the Brazilian Association of Engineering Geology (ABGE), promoted a session in memory of Professor Richard Bieniawski and Professor Don Deere, on 14 March 2018, in São Paulo.

The main speakers were the ISRM Fellows Prof. Milton Kanji and Dr Nick Barton, and Prof. Georg Robert Sadowski.

Lineu Ayres da SIlva (CBMR President), Nick Barton (speaker), Eda Quadros (ISRM President), Werner Bilfing (CBT President), Tarcísio Celestino (ITA President), Georg Sadowski (speaker), Adalberto Azevedo (ABGE President) and Milton Kanji (speaker)

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ISRM EFC Training Course – Rock Mechanics and Engineering Geology for Reduced Geo-hazards in Mining and Civil Projects, Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2018

A Training Course for Reduced Geo-hazards was held at Institute of Geological Sciences in Hanoi, Vietnam, 26-27 March 2018. The Course was co-organized by Vietnamese Society for Rock Mechanics (VSRM) and ISRM as one of the activities of ISRM EFC. During the course, eight lectures were made by four ISRM VPs; Manchao He, Seokwon Jeon, Stuart Read, and Norikazu Shimizu.

In the opening, Prof. Phung Manh Dac, President of VSRM and Dr. Tran Tuan Anh, Director of Institute of Geological Sciences made welcome speeches followed by the congratulatory speech by Seokwon Jeon (ISRM VP for Asia). There were about 100 participants in the two-full-day Course. The lectures covered fundamental as well as practical issues of engineering geology, mine subsidence, new mining method, metro tunneling, geo-disaster prediction and monitoring, and GPS applications. At the end of the Course, Seokwon Jeon briefed the participants on the current interests, activities and development of the International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering.

A technical tour took place on the third and fourth day of the event. Key members of VSRM and ISRM VPs participated in the tour to a deep open pit coal mine (operated by VINACOMIN – Coc Sau Coal Joint Stock Company) and Mine Safety Center in Quang Ninh Province near Halong Bay.Following the VietRock 2015, the Training Course was very successful in organizing an event of VSRM and promoting ISRM in Vietnam. Hard work of Dr. Pham Quoc Tuan, Secretary of VSRM, and Dr. Tran Thu Hang is acknowledged.

ISRM Rocha Medal 2020 - nominations to be received by 31 December 2018

Nominations for the Rocha Medal 2020 are to be received by the ISRM Secretariat by 31 December 2018. The winner will be announced during the 14th ISRM International Congress on Rock Mechanics in Foz de Iguaçú, Brazil, and will be invited to receive the award and deliver a lecture at the 2020 ISRM International Symposium .

The Rocha Medal has been awarded annually by the ISRM, since 1982, for an outstanding doctoral thesis in rock mechanics or rock engineering, to honour the memory of Past President Manuel Rocha while stimulating young researchers. Besides the Rocha medal awarded to the winner, one or two runner-up certificates may also be awarded.

Click here to download the announcement with details on the Rocha Medal 2020.

ISRM Sponsored meetings

 Click here to go to the ISRM Sponsored Conferences page on the ISRM website.

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