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No. 52 - December 2020

President's New Year Message

Dear colleagues,

The term of office of the current Board started on 19 September 2019, and we have now completed more than one year of activity as the governing body of our Society. 2020 has been a difficult year for the entire world due to the pandemic. However, it is a great pleasure for me to address all of you to summarize our activities during the year of 2020. First of all, I am glad to emphasize that throughout this period, although the conditions in the world caused by the pandemic adversely affected the human life, the economy and the activities of various societies like the ISRM, the Board members worked in harmony and with enthusiasm, and our Secretariat in Lisbon was efficient as usual. We feel especially pleased because we continued to realize the ISRM works and our plans in this period despite the influence of the pandemic.

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 the ISRM, should continue to provide continuing activities. With the world being turned upside-down by COVID-19, face-to-face activities are rather difficult, while video conferences, webinars and similar tools have become the new normal. In these difficult days, ISRM also began to pay more attention to the use of these tools for the communication with its members and continuation of its activities. Therefore, the first year of our term of office has been characterized by intense video-meetings, lectures and virtual conferences.

Click here to continue reading .

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32nd Online Lecture by Prof. Antonio Samaniego

For the 32nd ISRM Online Lecture the ISRM invited Prof. Antonio Samaniego. The title of the lecture is "Empirical Design Methods in Underground Mining". The lecture will broadcast on 17 December and will remain available in the online lectures dedicated webpage .

Prof. Samaniego is a civil and mining engineer with over 40 years of experience. He obtained a BSc in Civil Engineering from the Catholic University of Peru; a BSc in Mining Engineering from University College Cardiff; and an MSc and PhD in Rock Mechanics from the Royal School of Mines of Imperial College London.

In 1985, Antonio Samaniego co-founded SVS Ingenieros, which merged with SRK Consulting (Peru) SA in 2011. As Practice Leader, he assesses mining method design; rock support; slope stability; mine planning; tailings deposit design; and due diligence. He has worked on more than 150 civil engineering and mining projects in Latin America.

Prof. Samaniego was President of the Institute of Engineers of Peru (IIMP) in 2014-2016 as well as Vice President for South America of ISRM in 2011-2015. He is member of the SME, CIM, IIMP and SPEG; Fellow Member of IOM3; and CEng. Dr. Samaniego is a principal lecturer at the Catholic University of Peru and a post-graduate thesis advisor. He has authored technical publications and has been speaker at different Peruvian and international conferences.

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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) ( ) 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 two Rocha medal lectures and the 2020 and 2021 Franklin lectures will take place during EUROCK 2021 in Turin. A large number of abstracts have been received and authors will soon be informed of their acceptance.

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

  • 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 has been updated with the list of keynote speakers and opening lecturer, accommodation and exhibition information.

In order to face possible consequences of Covid-19, should the outbreak still affect the normal attendance in September 2021, the organizing committee will consider an online platform where Eurock2021 can be held. Technical sessions, lectures and short courses will be scheduled taking into account the different time zones of speakers. The programme will be rescheduled and the scientific contribution of the conference can be spread among more days.

Also other interaction resources, offered by modern technology for online events, can be considered to complete the feeling of being in a big international conference.

The EUROCK 2021 Organizing Committee.

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The ISRM 2020 online Council meeting took place on 28 October

The ISRM held its 2020 Council meeting on the 28th of October, as a video conference, due to the cancellation of the 2020 ISRM International Symposium that was to take place in Trondheim, Norway, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was the first time in the history of the ISRM, since the first Congress in 1966, that the Council did not meet presentially. However, making use of the web tools nowadays available, it was possible to gather the National Groups, the Board and all the other Council members and observers, so that a successful Council meeting could be held where all the pending decisions taken.

53 National Groups were represented at the Council, which was also attended by all the Board members, the Past Presidents Sunshuke Sakurai, Xia-Ting Feng and Eda Quadros, the chairpersons of several ISRM Commissions, representatives of sister Societies and observers appointed by the National Groups.

The National Groups of Finland and Paraguay presented to the Council two excellent proposals to host the 2022 International Symposium of the ISRM, in Helsinki and Asunción, respectively. The Council, by secret ballot, selected the application from Paraguay, which is also the IX Latin American Congress on Rock Mechanics, Rock Testing and Site Characterization.

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The 2020 ISRM Board online meeting took place on 20-22 October

The usual annual Board meeting took place as three half-days telemeetings, preceding the Council. Full reports were presented by the Board members and by the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC), the Young Members Committee (YMC) and the Education Fund Committee (EFC). A new Young Engineers Award was created to recognize achievements in rock engineering practice , which will be implemented in 2021. The Board approved the initiative to broaden the number and type of courses available on the website. The conference AusRock2022, in Melbourne, was approved as the 2022 ISRM Regional Symposium for Australasia. The Board analysed and discussed in detail all the financial, organizational and technical aspects of the life of the Society.

In view of the success of the telemeeting, despite the difficulties put by the different times for the Board members coming from all parts of the world, the Board decided to meet in the same way two or three times along the year to discuss and decide on urgent issues.

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Rock Engineering Practice, a complete video course by Professor Jian Zhao available from the ISRM website

Rock Engineering Practice, an on-line course by Professor Jian Zhao, provides an introduction to rock mechanics practice. The course is prepared for students of civil and mining engineering, and other science and engineering disciplines concerning rocks. This course follows the introductory course on Rock Mechanics Principles given by the same author, which is also available on the ISRM website.

The online course on Rock Engineering Practice is organized in 24 lectures, divided in four parts:

  • Part 1: Site Investigation and Testing;
  • Part 2: Rock Slope Engineering;
  • Part 3: Rock Foundation Engineering;
  • Part 4: Underground Rock Excavations.

Professor Jian Zhao 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.

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

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New ISRM course on "Prevention methods for Landslides in Rock Masses" by Prof. Zhong-qi YUE

A new ISRM course on "Prevention methods for Landslides in Rock Masses" by Prof. Zhong-qi Quentin YUE, from the University of Hong Kong is now being uploaded on the ISRM website, in open access.

The course has four parts with a total of 24 lectures:
  • Part A - Understanding landslides in rock mass
  • Part B - Methods for quantifying rock mass
  • Part C - Methods for landslide potential of rock mass
  • Part D - Measures for preventing landslides in rock mass
Part A is now available and the remaining parts will be made available soon. Click here to go to the online course webpage on the ISRM website .
New ISRM Young Rock Engineer Award

In October 2020, the ISRM Board decided to institute the ISRM Young Rock Engineer Award, to acknowledge excellence in the field of rock engineering by ISRM members who are in early stages of their career.

Nominations for the award shall be by the nominee's National Group, or by some other person or organization acquainted with the nominee's work. Self-nominations are not accepted.

A complete description of the nature and objectives of this Award, as well as of the nomination procedure, can be found in the Guideline for the ISRM Young Rock Engineer Award.

The deadline for submission of nominations for the ISRM Young Rock Engineer Award 2021 is 20 March 2021.

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New ISRM Suggested Method video available on the website - triaxial compression tests

A video for the Suggested Method for Determining the Strength of Rock Materials in Triaxial Compression was uploaded on the website.

This video results from a cooperation between Prof. Seokwon Jeon from Seoul National University (South Korea) and the ISRM Commission on Testing Methods.

Click here to go to the video webpage .

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Indonesian was added to the ISRM technical glossary

The ISRM Glossary assembles a list of approximately 1000 Rock Mechanics terms translated by the ISRM National Groups from an original list in English into their national languages. Indonesian was recently added, totalling 18 languages: Chinese, Croatian, English, Finnish, French, German, Korean, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Macedonian, Norwegian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish and Turkish. Translation into several other languages is still going on and they will be added to the glossary in the future.

Click here to go to the ISRM Glossary webpage .

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Prof. Manuel Romana passed away

On 26 March 2020, our colleague Prof. Manuel Romana Ruiz has passed away.

Throughout his long professional career, Professor Romana became one of the greatest exponents of Rock Mechanics both in Spain and internationally. He developed the so-called Slope Mass Rating (SMR), one of the most used geomechanical classifications focusing slope stability.

He was elected president of the the Spanish National Group of the ISRM (SEMR) in 1980 and was in office for more than 20 years.

The ISRM and the rock mechanics community deeply regret his loss.
1st International Youth Scientists Forum for Discontinuous Deformation Analysis (IYSF-DDA)

The 1st International Youth Scientists Forum for Discontinuous Deformation Analysis (IYSF-DDA), co-sponsored by ISRM commission on DDA and CSRME commission on DDA, will be held in 9 January 2021. In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation and strong restrictions to travelling, IYSF-DDA will take place via Zoom platform.

The conference aims to exchange cutting-edge advances of various discontinuous deformation analysis methods among young researchers community, and also welcome to share discontinuous deformation analysis cases in rock engineering .

For more information click here to download the the first announcement .

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Rocha Medal 2021 winner and runners-up were announced

The Rocha Award Committee selected the winner of the Rocha Medal 2021 and two runners-up.


  • Yasuhiro Yokota, Japan, for the thesis “Experimental and computational study on rock bolt modelling and its application on a new type of energy-absorbing rock bolt”, presented at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


  • Wenzhuo Cao, China, for the thesis “Monitoring and modelling of microseismicity associated with rock burst and gas outburst hazards in coal mines”, presented at Imperial College, U.K.;
  • Bing Li, Canada, for the thesis “Microseismic and real-time imaging of fractures and microfractures in Barre granite and opalinus clayshale”,presented at MIT, U.S.A.
Click here to go to the Rocha Medal web page .

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ISRM Specialized Conference CouFrac2020 was held online from Seoul, Korea, 11-13 November

The 2nd International Conference on Coupled Processes in Fractured Geological Media: Observation, Modeling and Applications, CouFrac2020, was held online and at the Global Education Center for Engineers (GECE) of Seoul National University, Seoul Korea on November 11 – 13, 2020. CouFrac2020 was chaired by Dr. Jonny Rutqvist (LBNL, USA) and co-chaired by Antonio Pio Rinaldi (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Hideaki Yasuhara (Ehime University, Japan) and Ki-Bok Min (Seoul National University, Korea).

The event gathered 228 participants from 25 countries. 131 presentations from 18 countries were delivered including 6 keynote lectures, 8 special lectures by young scientists and 23 invited talks. One keynote lecture was dedicated to Prof Ove Stephansson, who passed away in February 2020, to remember his lasting contribution in rock mechanics and coupled processes.

The program consisted of 18 technical sessions including two special sessions of ‘Development of coupled processes and their validation in nuclear wastes disposal (DECOVALEX)’ and ‘Scientific machine learning applications for coupled processes in the subsurface’. The event also included a panel discussion on ‘Nuclear waste disposal research as the main driver for research and development on coupled processes in fractured rocks over the past 40 years’ and a two-day short course on ‘Reservoir Geomechanics’.

The CouFrac conference established the ‘CFT Coupled Processes Award’, after Dr. Chin-Fu Tsang who was a pioneer of ‘Coupled THMC processes in geological media’, to encourage researchers in this field and recognize outstanding contributions in their early career. The 2020 CFT Coupled Processes Award was conferred on Dr. Victor Vilarrasa from Spain, and the awardee lecture was delivered with the title of ‘A journey from investigating anisotropic transport evolution in a rough fracture undergoing shear to predicting injection-induced seismicity’.

Due to COVID-19 Pandemic, CouFrac2020 was held in the form of hybrid but mostly as a fully virtual conference. This was the first ISRM sponsored online conference, which could show that a virtual event can be as effective and efficient as a face-to-face one by making it easier to focus on presentations, ask questions through a chat window and dedicate time as well as efforts to attend sessions. The entire conference was available for another two weeks after the completion of the event so that participants could attend the sessions or talks that were missed out.

In a quick online survey more than 95% answered that CouFrac2020 was overall satisfactory and positive. More than 70% answered online conference was more than or equally effective as offline event, around 90% answered online conference is more efficient than offline event. Next CouFrac conference will be held in Berkeley, California USA in 2022 and we hope we can meet face-to-face.

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ISRM Sponsored Conferences

Click here to open the conferences webpage.

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