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No. 53 - March 2021

ISRM International Symposium Eurock 2021 will be online

Dear rock mechanics colleagues,

the Eurock 2021 organization is moving forward: we are now in the phase of receiving and reviewing the papers that are coming, more than 300 abstracts from Europe and around the world were proposed. More than 200 final papers are already under review. Among the 14 topics the most numerous are “Rock mass characterization" and "Rock properties and testing methods".

We remind that all papers will be Open access publication and all articles are free to read and download in perpetuity. The papers will be abstracting and indexing in Scopus, as well as EI Compendex and Inspec (please note as a proceedings journal EES is not assigned an Impact Factor) and that the creation of hyperlinked references and tracking of future citations is forecasted.

The opening lectures will be held by Prof. John Cosgrove and John Harrison and the keynotes lectures held by Prof. Michel Alber, Leandro Alejano, Carlos Carranza-Torres and Tatiana Rotonda. The event will then be enriched by the awards ceremony and related presentations of two winners, respectively for the year 2020 and 2021 of the Rocha medals and of the Franklin lecture (held by Fredrik Johansson and by Prof. Maria Rita Migliazza). To remember our past reference colleagues, a tribute session will be dedicated to Prof. Giovanni Barla and some technical sessions with the names of François Cornet, Pierre Habib, François Duffaut, Ove Stephansson and Gian Paolo Giani will be organised.

Special care will be given to the initiatives of our young people. In fact, two sessions will be completely organized by them, taking into consideration the 2020 proposal that couldn’t be presented, and the new 2021 proposal. The paper submission deadline has been postponed to the 31st March 2021 whilst the notice of paper acceptance is the 1st of May 2021 and the paper final submission the 31st May 2021.

The early bird deadline is fixed on the 30th June 2021.

The organizing committee has been working hard to guarantee an event in presence but unfortunately, the pandemic situation and its resolution is still uncertain and therefore we had to evaluate the possibility of guaranteeing the conference online via live links and downloadable recordings.

This also means a severe reduction of fees that will be communicated to all participants very soon.

We are really sorry for not meeting all of you, but we are confident that the new solution will allow all interested participants to attend safely.

Best regards

Prof. Nicola Moraci, AGI President
Prof. Anna Maria Ferrero, Chair of Eurock 2021
Prof. Claudio Scavia, Chair of Eurock 2021

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33rd ISRM online lecture by Prof. Sérgio Fontoura

For the 33rd ISRM Online Lecture the ISRM invited Prof. Sergio Fontoura. The title of the lecture is "The role of rock mechanics in the safe and economic development of oil fields". The lecture was broadcast on 25 March, and will remain available on the online lectures dedicated webpage.

Sérgio Fontoura graduated in Civil Engineering in 1972 at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and immediately enrolled as a MSc student at the same School. During his MSc studies, after deciding to join the Academic life, he started to teach Soil Mechanics as an Assistant Teacher. After finishing his degree, he spent a short period of work as field engineer in charge of soft soil sampling campaign and designing equipment for sampling and testing soft clays. He left Brazil in 1975 to become a PhD student at the University of Alberta, Canada, and graduated in 1980 under the supervision of Professor Nobert Morgenstern. He returned to Brazil and joined the academic staff at the PUC-Rio.

In 1983, he spent a short period at the Disaster Prevention Research Institute from the University of Kyoto, Japan, where he developed studies on underground excavations in Japan as Visiting Scholar, hosted by Professor Toru Shibata. In the academic year of 1988 – 1989, he stayed as a Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto in close collaboration with Professor Evert Hoek.

Over the years, Professor Fontoura has taught many courses on Soil Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Underground Excavations and Rock Mechanics. In 1990, he introduced the course on Petroleum Geomechanics at the Catholic University in Rio and, after that, he became fully involved in the field of rock mechanics to the petroleum industry. At the same year, he started the Group of Technology and Petroleum Engineering at PUC-Rio with the mission of carrying out research and development project for the Brazilian Industry. This research group is still very active and has developed many studies for several oil companies operating in Brazil, notably in the fields of wellbore construction and reservoir engineering.

Professor Fontoura has supervised over 100 students in their research work and some of these students are today very active as professionals in the oil industry. He has published over 120 articles in many areas of geotechnical engineering notably in the application of rock mechanics to petroleum engineering.He has worked as consultant for rock mechanics engineering projects and has served as expert in judicial case involving failure of engineering structure.

Professor Fontoura has dedicated part of his time serving the Professional Associations. He helped forming the Brazilian Tunneling Committee where he served as first president for four years and representative of Brazil at the International Tunneling Association. He served as President of the Brazilian Rock Mechanics Committee for 8 years and he was the representative and voting delegate of Brazil in the ISRM Council from 2003 to 2015. During this period, he attended all Council meetings and participated activilly as member of the Rock Testing Commission and served as Chair of the Petroleum Geomechanics Commission and Co-Chair of the ISRM Young Member Committee. In 2015 he was elected to serve ISRM as Vice-President for South America and his term ended in 2019. He was the Chair of the Organizing Committee of the 14th ISRM Congress held in Foz do Iguaçú, Brazil.

Volume 23 - 2020 of the ISRM News Journal is online

The 2020 issue of the ISRM News Journal is available on the website. This issue of the News Journal reports the ISRM activities in 2020 and presents two technical articles.

You will find information about the Board and Council meetings and activities, the President's and Vice President's reports on the ISRM activities, the Secretary-General’s report displaying the evolution of ISRM National Groups and ISRM’s membership in recent years, the reports of the Technical Oversight Committee, of the Education Fund Committee and of the Young Members Committee, the Anual Review, conference reports and many other articles of interest for the rock mechanics community.

The technical articles are the ISRM Franklin Lecture 2020 delivered by Dr Fredrik Johansson and the Rocha Medal presentation by Dr. Junlong Shang, winner of the Rocha Medal 2020.

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.

Click here to read it directly on our website or download it.

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Online course on "Empirical Methods in Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering" by Dr. Nick Barton

The new ISRM course on "Empirical Methods in Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering " was recorded in 2021 by Dr. Nick Barton, and is available on the ISRM website, in open access.

It comprises some examples of empirical methods in rock mechanics and rock engineering: for tunnelling, rock joints, rock masses, and rock slopes, cliffs and mountains (Q, QTBM, JRC, JCS, QSLOPE and other topics)

Dr Nick Barton, an ISRM Fellow and recipient of the 2011 Müller Award of the ISRM. The course has four parts:

Part 1 - The many faces of Q
Part 2 - Shear Strength of Rock, Rock Joints, etc.
Part 3 - Failure Modes in Rock Masses
Part 4 - TBM Performance and Prognosis
Online course on "Prevention methods for Landslides in Rock Masses" by Prof. Zhong-qi Quentin YUE

A new ISRM video course on "Prevention Methods for Landslides in Rock Masses" by Prof. Zhong-qi Quentin YUE, from the University of Hong Kong is now 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 (4 lectures)
Part B - Methods for quantifying rock mass (8 lectures)
Part C - Methods for landslide potential of rock mass (5 lectures)
Part D - Measures for preventing landslides in rock mass (7 lectures)
A Tribute to Milton Kanji (1937-2021)

It is with great sadness that we write this message on behalf of ISRM, in honour of our dear friend Prof. Milton Kanji who passed away on 12 February 2021. One more life among many millions taken by Covid-19. He was involved in intense geotechnical activities, just before his hospitalization at the end of December 2020.

Prof. Kanji was a Geologist, expert in geotechnical engineering and rock mechanics, with intense academic activity at the University of São Paulo, as well as a renowned international consultant. He was active in the ISRM at least since 1972, when he participated in the Working Group coordinated by Nick Barton to produce in 1972 the ISRM “Suggested Method for the Quantitative Description of Discontinuities in Rock Masses”. In 1974 he was elected VP for South America and in 1978 he participated in the organizing committee of the ISRM International Symposium on Rock Mechanics related to Dam Foundations. Until 2019 he was the chairman of the ISRM Commission on Soft Rocks and he was co-editor of the book "Soft Rock Mechanics and Engineering" published in 2020. Very deservedly, he was appointed a Fellow of the ISRM in 2013 and in December 2017 he gave the 20th ISRM Online Lecture on "Dam Foundations affected by Geological Aspects", a memorable lecture that you can watch here: . This was one of the topics of his expertise, together with the behaviour of soft rocks and debris flows.

Milton was a frequent participant in the ISRM Symposia, where he will be missed, and kept many friends in our Society, which remember his kindness, his joyful attitude towards life and his immense knowledge. The thoughts of the ISRM community are with his wife, close family and friends.

A fuller appreciation of Milton’s rich life and career is available here.

Eda Freitas de Quadros, ISRM Past President 2015-2019
Luís Lamas, ISRM Secretary General

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IX LARMS, Asuncion, Paraguay, 16-19 October 2022

The 9th Latin American Rock Mechanics Symposium (LARMS IX), an International Society of Rock Mechanics International Symposium, will be held in Asuncion, Paraguay, from October 16-19, 2022. This will be the first time an ISRM Symposium will be held in Latin America since 1994 and will be the first conference for Rock Mechanics in our region since the conference held in Buenos Aires in 2015.

The theme for LARMS IX is “Challenges in rock mechanics: towards a sustainable development of infrastructure”.
Some of the topics for the Symposium are:
  • Rock mass characterization
  • Geophysics applied to rock engineering
  • Monitoring techniques
  • Numerical methods and modeling in rock mechanics
  • Environmental and safety issues in rock engineering and mining
  • Soft rock engineering and case histories
  • Tunnelling and deep excavations in rock
  • Rock mechanics for energy infrastructure
  • Petroleum and deep reservoir engineering
  • Case histories in rock engineering (interdisciplinary case histories particularly encouraged)
The symposium will be preceded by two days of short courses and workshops. Attractive programs will be provided for young researchers and students, including poster and paper presentations, and a Rock Bowl competition.

The parallel activities will be the Board Meetings (by invitation), the Technical Commission Meetings, the Council Meeting, and the delivery of the ISRM Awards.

For additional information, please visit the website or contact us via email to

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ARMS11, Beijing, China, 21-25 October 2021, the 2021 ISRM Asian Regional Symposium

The Chinese Society for Rock Mechanics and Engineering (CSRME, ISRM NG China) is pleased to invite you to Beijing for the 11th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium (ARMS 11), which will be held on 21-25 October 2021 in Beijing. The conference will focus on advances and innovative applied research on rock mechanics and rock engineering. It will provide a showcase of recent developments and advances in rock mechanics and innovative applications in rock engineering. It will offer an international forum for exchanging new ideas and exploring the future directions in rock mechanics and engineering. Short courses, workshops, industrial exhibitions and technical visits will also be organized. Attractive programs will be provided for young researchers and students, including the student night, poster and paper competitions. Click here to download the leaflet with additional information.

In order to avoid the influence of COVID-19, The organizing Committee of ARMS11 decided to oganize ARMS11 both online and offline. For those who can not travel internationally, they can choose to attend ARMS11 online. The dates for submission of abstracts and full papers have been extended to 15 April and 15 June 2021, respectively. Click here to visit the conference website.

New ISRM Commission on Sorptive Rocks

A new ISRM Commission on Sorptive Rocks was recently approved by the Board. The commission is chaired by Dr. Shimin Liu from the USA, and Dr. Yixin Zhao from China.China.

The commission’s interest includes both mining and petroleum fields to address the unique rock engineering challenges posed by sorptive rocks. The commission will address the long-term ground control challenge in underground mining by considering time-dependent fluid-rock interactions and we will focus on fluid production enhancement and carbon sequestration through modelling of sorption behaviour of sorptive reservoir rocks. The commission will focus on the mechanical and transport behaviours of sorptive rocks, such as shale, coal and other mudstones, and their implications on their corresponding rock engineering designs.

More details on the Commission can be found in the commission webpage on the ISRM website .
9th International Symposium on Geomechanics, 5-6 May 2021, Colombia, virtual
an ISRM Specialized Conference

The ISRM Specialized Conference “Applied Geomechanics in Proactive Designs: Opportunities, Challenges and Security” is an international academic event that has been held every two years, and becomes an opportunity to analyze the main challenges and current issues of geomechanics in the oil industry. This particular version addresses geomechanics as part of a proactive design process that seeks to exploit the benefits and manage the negative impacts of extractive oil and gas operations. The aim of the event is to promote a space for the divulgation of knowledge and discussion of topics related to geomechanics, in which can interact academic specialists and representatives of the oil industry, national and foreign, oriented to face the main challenges of geomechanics in the exploration and exploitation of oil reservoirs. The symposium is organized by Research Group in Applied Geomechanics – GIGA from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia Medellin campus.

The target audience of the event are Petroleum, geologist, and civil engineers and students; researchers; professional of related areas of reservoirs engineering who are developing topics about geomechanics of reservoirs in thematic lines such as: Geomechanics on heavy oil reservoirs and thermal recovery, Unconventional reservoirs geomechanics, Wellbore stability and integrity, Hydraulic fracturing, Sand production: prediction, quantification, management and phenomena associated modeling, Caprock integrity, Geomechanical damage, Naturally fractured reservoirs, Geomechanics related to fluid disposal activities in the subsoil, Geomechanical reservoir management, Geomechanical laboratory tests, Emerging technologies applied to geomechanics.

Additionally, there will be a virtual pre-symposium course on May 3 and 4, on the subject Geomechanics of Unconventional Reservoirs with instructors Dr. Neal Nagel and Dr. Marisela Sanchez-Nagel.

Both the course and the symposium will be virtual and available in English and Spanish. ISRM members have a special 20% discount. For more information and registration click here to go to the conference website .

Dear Colleagues,

We take great pleasure of inviting you to participate of the 9th International Symposium on Geomechanics “Applied geomechanics in proactive designs: opportunities, challenges and security”, to be held on May 5-6, 2021 in Medellin,Colombia, via online.

The ISRM Specialized Conference considers an attractive program for the academic and practitioners, in an area of permanent growth.

Join us in the Conference.

Jose Pavon
ISRM Vice President for Latin America
ISRM Rocha Medal 2023 - nominations to be received by 31 December 2021

Nominations for the Rocha Medal 2022 are to be received by the ISRM Secretariat by 31 December 2021. The winner will be announced during the 2022 ISRM International Symposium, LARMS 2022 in Asuncion, Paraguay, and will be invited to receive the award and deliver a lecture at the ISRM International Congress in 2023.

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 2023.

The 1st International Young Scientists Forum for DDA was held online

The 1st International Young Scientists Forum for Discontinuous Deformation Analysis (IYSF-DDA) was held successfully in January 9th 2021 online via Zoom platform. This online forum was sponsored by ISRM DDA Commission, ISRM NG China and CSRME DDA Commission, and co-organized by three famous Chinese universities, i.e. China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Tianjin University, and Hebei University of Technology. Over 350 people all over the world attended this online forum.

This forum invited around 20 scholars from Australia, China, USA and Japan to give keynote speeches. The ISRM was represented by the Vice President at large Prof. Ömer Aydan from University of Ryukyu, Japan.

Click here to download the complete report .

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International Webinar on Rock Mechanics organized by young members of ISRM National Groups

Some Young Members of different ISRM National Groups (France, Italy, Paraguay, and Spain) started working in the organization of a series of international webinars on rock mechanics, with the aim of involving young researchers in different educational activities. They are contacting other ISRM National Groups to involve more countries in this initiative.

A tentative program has been created, and some online lectures have already been scheduled for the upcoming months. The flyer of the first programmed webinar, which is organized by the Young Members’ Group (Groupe de travail CFMR-Jeunes) of the ISRM French National Group can be downloaded here .

The next sessions will take place on 1 and 22 April and you can register for free.
ISRM Sponsored Conferences

Click here to open the conferences webpage.

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