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No. 51 - September 2020

Message from the President

Dear Rock Mechanics Colleagues,

COVID-19 is still around, and each country is handling its situation differently. Things are different than they were at this time last year, and unfortunately, in terms of the effects of pandemic, there is still uncertainty about the future in the entire world. Whatever the conditions are, all societies, like ISRM, should continue to provide continuing activities. With the world being turned upside-down by COVID-19 face to face activities are rather difficult, video conferences, webinars and similar tools have become the new normal. Therefore, in these difficult days, ISRM also began to pay more attention to the use of these techniques for the communication with its members and continuation of its activities.

Since April, the Board continued to work on the planned issues and became in constant dialogue with the organizing committees of the ISRM events planned in 2020. But the cancellation of EUROCK2020, the international 2020 ISRM Symposium, became inevitable and a difficult decision made by its Organizing Committee due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and of the strong restriction to travelling. As ISRM, we would like to show our deep appreciation for the kind work of the Organizing Committee and of the Norwegian National Group for Rock Mechanics, who did everything they could to go ahead with the organization of EUROCK2020. The Organizing Committee and ISRM agreed that more than 200 peer-reviewed papers presented to EUROCK2020 will be published in the ISRM’s digital library on the OnePetro.org platform, subject to the authors’ consent.

The 11th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium, ARMS11, has also been postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic to 21-25 October 2021 and it will be held in Beijing, China. One of the two ISRM Specialized Conferences, 5th Symposium of the Macedonian Association of Geotechnics (Ohrid, Macedonia) was postponed to 10-12 June 2021. However, the second ISRM specialized Conference “CouFrac” 2020, to be held between 11-13 November 2020, in Seoul, Korea, was not postponed and has turned into a fully virtual conference with simultaneous offline meetings. Due to COVID-19 crisis, the special session in honor of Prof. Pierre Habib, the ISRM Past President, in Paris, was also postponed to 2021. The exact date of this session will be announced later on and ISRM will also be represented by a Board member in this session. I congratulate the initiative of the Bolivian Geomechanics Association to promote series of webinars on rock mechanics with participation of eight lecturers between 24 September and 16 October 2020. The National Group of Bolivia is a growing society and its Board is very enthusiastic and this activity is related to the celebration of the 10 years anniversary of this group.

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31st ISRM online lecture by Prof. Frederic Pellet

For the 31st ISRM Online Lecture the ISRM invited Prof. Frederic Pellet. The title of the lecture is “Damage and Time-Dependent Behavior of Rocks in Underground Construction”.

The lecture was broadcast on 24 September and will remain available in the online lectures dedicated webpage .

Dr. Pellet is a professor of geomechanics and rock engineering in INSA University of Lyon. He obtained his BSc in civil engineering at the Technical University of Geneva, Switzerland, and his MSc in geotechnical engineering at the University of Grenoble, France (1986). After a few years working for consulting companies in different fields, such as dam engineering and hydroelectric projects, he joined the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, where he prepared a doctoral thesis on rocks reinforcement. His thesis received the prize of the French Tunneling Association (AFTES) in 1993.

After another period spent in industry, Dr Pellet became an academic in 1996; first as an associate professor at the University of Grenoble (Lab 3SR) and then, in 2009, as a full professor at the University of Lyon (INSA). His scientific approach is based on a combination of experimental approaches and numerical modeling to enable risk analyzes. It has led him to study various subjects related to time-dependent behavior of rocks such as large transport infrastructures (deep alpine tunnels), underground storage of radioactive waste in close relationship with the French Institute for Radioprotection. Today, he mainly focuses on the exploitation of deep geothermal energy and delayed induced seismicity.

Dr. Pellet has collaborated with numerous institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States), McGill University and the University of Sherbrooke (Canada) Mines ParisTech (France). He has also worked for several companies in the civil engineering and petroleum industry. At the same time, he is the author of more than 120 technical articles and book chapters on rock engineering and has delivered 35 invited addresses or lectures at national and international conferences. He is on the editorial boards of several international journals.

Between 2011 and 2016, Dr Pellet served as Vice-President of the ISRM for Europe and President of the French national group. Since 2010, Dr. Pellet has worked in several countries on various review committees, providing an independent geotechnical study on major civil engineering projects.


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Rock Mechanics Principles, a complete video course by Professor Jian Zhao available from the ISRM website

Rock Mechanics Principles, an on-line course by Professor Jian Zhao, provides an introduction to rock mechanics principles including the mechanics of rock materials, rock joints and rock masses, rock mechanics characterization and rock mass classifications. The course was now completed with the 5th part on rock mechanics testing and analysis.

The course is prepared for students of civil and mining engineering, and other science and engineering disciplines concerning rocks.

The course is an on-line course, with approximately 30 hours of lectures. It covers 5 parts:

  1. Origin of rocks and rock masses (online in March 2016);
  2. Properties and mechanics of rock materials (online in March 2016) ;
  3. Properties and mechanics of rock joints (online in June 2016) ;
  4. Rock mass classifications and properties (online in June 2016) ;
  5. Rock mechanics testing and analysis (online in July 2020).

The lectures are given by Professor Jian Zhao, who has been teaching rock mechanics and rock engineering since 1990, first at Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, then at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne of Switzerland, and currently at Monash University in Melbourne of Australia. He is a Fellow of the International Society for Rock Mechanics since 2015.

Rock Engineering, a sequential on-line course to Rock Mechanics Principles given by the same lecturer, will be made available very soon.

Click here to go to the online course webpage on the ISRM website .


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EUROCK 2021 - work in progress

Despite difficult and tough times during COVID-19 outbreak, the organization of EUROCK 2021 is moving on. In the spirit of starting again the conference activity, keeping in mind the difficult times, AGI together with University and Politecnico di Torino are organising the event with a conservative and cautious politics to face any possible risks. In order to face possible consequences of Covid-19, and relying on the speed world resilient new start, the organizing committee of EUROCK 2021 postponed the conference to the period 20-25 September 2021. A new venue has been chosen: ITC - International Training Centre - Turin, (Italy) ( https://www.itcilo.org/about/campus ) for having larger flexibility in the organizations of the event. Seminars, workshops, and events are held in a spacious auditorium and more than 280 rooms and suites can accommodate participants and guests. The venue is in the park along the river and well connected with the town centre and hotels.

Six keynotes lectures, the 2 Rocha medal lectures and the 2 Franklin lectures of 2020 and 2021 will take place during EUROCK 2021 in Turin.

So far 126 abstracts have been received but the new submission deadline is 31 October 2021 and we are confident that new contributions will be sent. Newsletters to remind new submission deadline are scheduled.

The deadline and the conference road-map has also been updated according to this new schedule:

  • Abstract submission opening: 1 Feb 2020
  • Abstract submission deadline: 31 Oct 2020
  • Abstract acceptance: 31 Dec 2020
  • Paper submission deadline: 28 Feb 2021
  • Notice of paper acceptance: 10 Apr 2021
  • Paper final submission: 10 May 2021
  • Earlybird deadline: 30 Jun 2021

AGI has the aim to produce Open Access Proceedings. Since we are aware of the importance, for academics and authors, of the indexing of their works, the Proceedings will be sent to the indexing services (Scopus, EI and Compendex).

A rich social program and one or two days long technical visits will be organised after the conference date.For more information the conference website www.eurock2021.com will be soon updated with the list of keynote speakers and opening lecturer, accommodation and exhibition information.

The EUROCK 2021 Organizing Committee


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Winner of the John Hudson Rock Engineering Award is 3GSM GmbH

The John Hudson Rock Engineering Award was approved in 2019 and honours the memory of Professor John Hudson, President of the ISRM from 2007 to 2011. It is conferred biannually in recognition of one or more outstanding achievements in engineering practice.

Nominations for the award are by the chairs of the ISRM National Groups and are in the form of a brief, descriptive report, not exceeding 1,000 words, addressing the nominee’s achievements.

Decision on conferring the John Hudson Rock Engineering Award 2020 was taken by the ISRM Board with the advice of a group of five members from the Board and Fellows, who analysed the nominations . The winner is the application by 3GSM GmbH entitled "Photogrammetric 3D models from drone imagery for improved rock mass characterization", submitted by the ISRM National Group for Austria. Click here to download the winning application .

The award will be conferred at the 2021 International Symposium of the ISRM in Turin, Italy. The winner will receive a certificate of commendation and will be requested to present a video with a maximum of 10 minutes describing the achievements, to be shown during the award ceremony, and a paper to be published in the ISRM News Journal.


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Winner of the ISRM Science Achievement Award 2020 is Prof. Jianping Zuo

The ISRM Science and Technology Awards were approved by the ISRM in 2019. They have two categories - Science Achievement Award and Technological Invention Award - to be given in alternate years, in recognition of outstanding contributions to science and technology in the field of rock mechanics and rock engineering.

The ISRM Science Achievement Award are conferred on ISRM individual members in recognition of one or more contributions to the progress of the science of rock mechanics.

Nominations for the award are by the chairs of the ISRM National Groups who wish to nominate an ISRM individual or corporate member and are in the form of a brief, descriptive report, not exceeding 1,000 words, addressing the nominee’s achievements including relevant attachments.

The ISRM Board, after receiving the proposal from the group of five experts appointed to analyze the applications, decided to select Prof. Jianping Zuo from China as the winner of the ISRM Science and Technology Award 2020, in the category “Science Achievement Award”. The award will be conferred by the ISRM President at the 2021 International Symposium of the ISRM in Turin, Italy.


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Three new ISRM Suggested Methods were published on the ISRM website

Three new ISRM Suggested Methods were published on the ISRM website:

  • ISRM Suggested Method for the Lugeon Test (2019)
  • ISRM Suggested Method: Determining Deformation and Failure Characteristics of Rocks Subjected to True Triaxial Compression (2019)
  • ISRM Suggested Method for In Situ Acoustic Emission Monitoring of the Fracturing Process in Rock Masses (2019)

Click here to go to the ISRM Suggested Methods webpage . (ISRM member's credentials required)


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2020 DDA and Rock Mechanics Cloud Forum

The ISRM Commissions on DDA and on Rock Dynamics promoted a first "Cloud Forum" on 18 July. This half-day event was co-organized by China University of Geosciences and Tianjin University. This forum was conducted in English via ZOOM and can be accessed for free by everybody.

The following lectures were given:

  • "Development and engineering applications of block theory and block algorithms", by Prof. Genhua Shi
  • "On the development of true triaxial SHBP system", by Prof. Jian Zhao
  • "A coarse-grained approach for modelling solid-liquid-gas interactions at microscale", by Prof. Luming Shen

This first "Cloud Forum" was recorded and is available from this website: https://www.isrm.net/gca/?id=1475 .


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ISRM Specialized Conference CouFrac2020 goes fully virtual - Seoul, Korea, 11-13 November 2020

The International Conference on Coupled Processes in Fractured Geological Media: Observation, Modeling, and Application invites you to Seoul, Korea, November 11-13, 2020. The conference, in succession of the 1st one in Wuhan, China in 2018, will focus on new and exciting advances in all areas of coupled processes associated with fractured geological media, including numerical methods, in-situ tests, lab experiments and applications to different subsurface engineering activities.

The CouFrac2020 consists of oral and poster presentations, a panel discussion on nuclear waste disposal, keynote presentations and special sessions of emerging young scientists.

Due to continued uncertainties surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have made decision to hold CouFrac2020 as a virtual conference. The online virtual conference platform will facilitate better opportunities, in addition to your great savings of travel time and registration fee, of interactions between presenters, audiences and participants and ubiquitous access to recorded video presentations in CouFrac2020.

For further detail information, please visit the Conference website www.coufrac2020.org . We look forward to meeting you in Seoul or our virtual conference platform.

The CouFrac2020 Organizing Committee


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Information on the Geomechanics Colloquium 2020 regarding the Covid-19 situation

In the past months and weeks, we all have had very turbulent times due to the current corona pandemic. Restrictions were established and eased again, infection numbers rose and fell. Nevertheless, the danger is still not completely eliminated. For this reason, after careful consideration, the board of the Austrian Society for Geomechanics has decided to hold this year's colloquium for your health as a pure webinar on 7-9 October. The tunnel day 2020 will be completely canceled and will be postponed to 2021.

You can find all the exact details on the Colloquium on our website https://www.geomechanics-congress.com/en/ . We are looking forward to welcome you to the 69th Geomechanics Colloquium virtually this year, and in the next year healthy and personal again here in Salzburg.

The board of the Austrian Society for Geomechanics


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Bolivian Geomechanics Association - 10 years

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Bolivian Geomechanics Association invites you to a series of 10 webinars on rock mechanics, during a period between 24 September and 16 October. Click here to download the program .

The ISRM extends its warm congratulations to this young but very active ISRM National Group.

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ISRM Rocha Medal 2022 - nominations to be received by 31 December 2020

Nominations for the Rocha Medal 2022 are to be received by the ISRM Secretariat by 31 December 2020. The winner will be announced during the 2021 ISRM International Symposium, EUROCK 2021 in Torino, Italy, and will be invited to receive the award and deliver a lecture at the 2022 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 2022 .

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Pierre Duffaut 1924-2020

We regret to inform you that Pierre Duffaut passed away on September 11th in Paris. He was an esteemed colleague and a friend so it is with a heavy heart that we share this sad piece of news.

Pierre Duffaut graduated from the Saint-Etienne School of Mines (France) after which he joined the EDF (French Electrical Board) geological department in 1947. He worked there with a team of engineering geologists, carrying out field missions in the French Alps each summer. He supervised the construction of a dam in the French Pyrenees for two years, during which time the Malpasset dam disaster took place, in 1959.

Pierre Duffaut was already interested in hydropower reservoirs, underground works and slope stability so he immediately understood the necessity of rock mechanics in dam engineering. From this time onwards, he always argued for a combined approach between geology and rock mechanics, using his talents in geological observation and his knowledge of dam construction and design. In 1977 Pierre Duffaut moved to the BRGM (French Geological Survey) as a Head of Geotechnical Department.

Retired in 1981, he never stopped working, teaching, consulting and writing numerous publications, over 200. He launched and coordinated the first volume of the French Manual of Rock Mechanics. Visionary in the use of underground space, he imagined an underground city and promoted the development of large caverns.

He gave the 3rd ISRM Online Lecture on "Rock Mechanics - Lessons from Dams", a memorable lecture that you can watch here: https://www.isrm.net/gca/?id=1230 .

Pierre Duffaut was passionate about sharing his knowledge: he had a particular talent in engaging the next generation of engineers. His constant sense of humour, smile and laugh were infectious. With his passing, a piece of the early stages of rock mechanics passes with him. He will be dearly missed by the ISRM and French community of rock mechanics, as well as by the many friends he had.

Philippe Vaskou and French Committee for Rock Mechanics


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Rock Report - Quarterly Newsletter of the Institute of Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling, Graz, Austria

The last months and weeks have been truly exceptional for all of us and we hope that you are in good health and the biggest difficulties have passed. Even more so it is a great pleasure for us to present the second issue of our institute’s quarterly newsletter - the ROCK REPORT . We present two of our most recent guests who gave fantastic virtual presentations and also put a focus on the topic of our research about rockburst phenomena. As part of our endeavor to keep research and teaching running in these difficult times we have led interviews with students about COVID 19 to get a glimpse on their perspective.

We are happy to receive any questions and / or feedback about the Rock Report. Enjoy reading and stay healthy!

All the best,

Thomas Marcher and the complete RMT team

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ISRM Sponsored Conferences

Click here to open the conferences webpage .


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