No. 7 - September 2009


ISRM 1st technical and cultural field trip to the Florence region was a success

The 1st Annual ISRM Technical and Cultural Field Trip was held on September 21st and 22nd in Florence - Italy, organised by Massimo Coli and Carlo Alberto Garzonio of the Firenze University.

More than twenty people, coming from the Europe and U.S.A. participated in this event. The first day was devoted to the worldwide famous Carrara Marble, where large quarries both open-pit and underground were visited, historical and modern exploitation techniques and concerns of geomechanics and stability were illustrated.

The second day was spent in Gavorrano, where the group visited mining activities ended in the second half of the XX century, problems of water inflow and social reuse of the disused mine were illustrated. The tour ended in the Etruscan and Mediaeval mines of the San Silvestro Park where a walk in the ancient cultivations tunnels and shafts was done.

In order to better appreciate the social and cultural aspects correlated with these historical and cultural exploitation activities, selected dishes from the local culinary traditions were tested, among them the famous “Lardo di Colonnata”.

The great success of this 1st Technical and Cultural Field Trip was due to the effort of the organisers, namely of Massimo Coli, who set a very high standard for this series of events. The 2nd one is already being planned and news about it will be available soon.

Go to the top of the Newsletter

Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (JRMGE) launched in 2009

JRMGE is an academic publication in English, jointly under the auspice of Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Society for Rock Mechanics and Engineering, and Wuhan University, China. It is a quarterly journal focused on the issues of the latest international research achievements on rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering, and it provides an opportunity for overseas colleagues to understand the current development of rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering in various countries, including China.

Papers are welcomed on all relevant topics and especially on theoretical developments, analytical methods, in-situ and laboratory tests, numerical methods, site investigation, experiences, case studies. and trends of rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering in China and overseas. The journal was launched on Mar. 15, 2009. ( )

Prof. Xia-Ting Feng
Vice President at Large, ISRM

Go to the top of the Newsletter

Current extension to the London Water Ring Main, UK

The Thames Water London Ring Main in the UK is a major part of London's water supply infrastructure that consists of an approximately 80 km system of mostly 2.54 m concrete pipelines, at a depth of between 10 to 60m below ground level, and used to transfer potable water by gravity flow from river treatment works to distribution within London. The average daily flow is approximately 1 Glitres, out of a total London average daily demand of approximately 2.6 Glitres. The initial ring was constructed between 1988 and 1993 and, since 2006, two extensions totalling 9.3 km have been under construction at a cost of £90M to increase the capacity by 0.5 Glitres/day.

The ring main lies mostly within London Clay but with sections within the overlying alluvium and underlying the clay of the Lambeth Group and the Thanet Sands. However, the southern extension is mainly in chalk. There are several stratigraphical horizons in the chalk in the UK: some do not have flints (e.g. the Lower chalk within which the Channel Tunnel from England to France was constructed); other horizons do contain flints – and they have been encountered during construction of 3 km of the 4.8 km of the southern extension of the Ring Main.

Flint, consisting of silica, is highly abrasive and the flint bands in the chalk (visible in the photograph) damaged the cutting tools on the Lovat TBM involving the need for many cutter replacements. The pre-cast concrete lining segments had to be waterproofed to prevent water from both leaking into and leaking out of the tunnel. The TBM was equipped for high pressure grouting and special care has been taken with the grouting when passing through faults. The whole extension project will be completed in the Spring, 2010.

John Hudson
President, ISRM

Go to the top of the Newsletter

International Symposium UNSAT-WASTE 2009 held in Shanghai, China

The International Symposium on Unsaturated Soil Mechanics and Deep Geological Disposal of Nuclear Waste (“UNSAT-WASTE 2009”) was held in Tongji University, Shanghai, China, on August 24-28, 2009. About 70 delegates from China, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Algeria, Iran, USA and Korea carried out in-depth discussions on two main topics: unsaturated soil mechanics and its applications to deep geological nuclear waste disposal.

This symposium was jointly organized by Tongji University, China Three Gorges University, State Key Laboratory of Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering China and ENPC France, under the auspices of TC6 - Unsaturated Soils of International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Commission on Radioactive Waste Disposal of International Society for Rock Mechanics, and Commission on Underground Waste Disposal of Chinese Society for Rock Mechanics and Engineering. National Natural Science Foundation of China financially supported this symposium.

Professor Xia-Ting Feng, President-elect and Vice President at Large of ISRM, Professor Alonso, President of TC 6, Professor Ju Wang, President of Commission on Underground Waste Disposal for ISRM, attended the symposium.

Prof. Xia-Ting Feng
Vice President at Large, ISRM

Go to the top of the Newsletter

EUROCK'2009 - Rock Engineering in Difficult Ground ConditionsDubrovnik-Cavtat, Croatia, 29-31 October

We will be greatly pleased and highly honoured to meet you in this remarkable venue, close to the old Croatian town of Dubrovnik, known as one of the pearls of the Mediterranean, where we can continue to build the bridges of friendship and professional dialogue in a combined atmosphere of work and leisure.

Since the Symposium is being held from Thursday 29, why not take the opportunity and explore the city during the weekend, enjoy one of the post-symposium excursions, or simply sit on the beach of the beautiful Hotel Croatia, and take a dip in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea!

It is my pleasure to bid you welcome to Croatia, a small country with the largest karst polje in the world, and I hope that your stay here will be intellectually and professionally stimulating and rewarding.

For more information you can download the second bulletin and visit the conference website .

We look forward to seeing you in Cavtat in October 2009!

Ivan Vrkljan
EUROCK'2009 Chairman

Go to the top of the Newsletter

3rd International Workshop on Rock Mechanics and Geo-engineering in Volcanic Environments
an ISRM sponsored Specialized Conference

This Workshop will take place in the Canary Islands on 31 May and 1 June 2010 and is organised by the Spanish National Group of the ISRM. This event is complementary to those technical meetings organized in previous years at Madeira and Azores, in 2002 and 2007, respectively.

This Workshop is included in a multidisciplinary Congress, (Cities on Volcanoes 6 – Tenerife 2010), organized by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of Earth Interior. Volcanologists, geologists, disaster mitigation experts, and other specialised professions are expected to participate.

For more information click here to download the brochure or go to websites , or .

Go to the top of the Newsletter

EUROCK'2010 - Rock Mechanics in Civil and Environmental Engineering

The European Rock Mechanics Symposium of the ISRM - EUROCK 2010 will take place in 15-18 June 2010 in Lausanne, Switzerland, organised by the Swiss Society for Soil and Rock Mechanics and by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne.

The theme of EUROCK 2010 is “Rock Mechanics in Civil and Environmental Engineering”. It covers all the aspects of rock mechanics and rock engineering, from theoretical research to engineering practice, with emphasis on applications to infrastructural construction, sustainable development, and natural hazards management. A plenary open session will be organised to report and discuss rock mechanics activities in Europe, including education, training, research, and engineering. The objective is to foster a closer cooperation among European countries, to promote future rock mechanics activities in Europe, and to build a stronger rock mechanics community.


Abstract should be about 400 words long, with a title, authors' names, affiliations, and email addresses, and be sent to the symposium organiser by 15 November 2009.

For more information click here to download the conference brochure , or visit the conference website .

Jian Zhao
Chairman of the Organizing Committe

Go to the top of the Newsletter

The 5th International Symposium on In-situ Rock Stress
an ISRM sponsored Specialized Conference

The 5th International Symposium on In-situ Rock Stress will be held in Beijing, China, 25-28 August 2010, organised by the Institute of Crustal Dynamics (ICD), the China Earthquake Administration (CEA) and the Seismological Society of China (SSC) Chinese Society for Rock Mechanics and Engineering (CSRME).

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 November 2009. For more information click here to download the first announcement or visit the conference website .

Go to the top of the Newsletter

2010 ISRM International Symposium and 6th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium
"Advances in Rock Engineering" - 23-27 October, New Delhi, India


The study of rock mechanics has assumed considerable importance because of its wide application in civil and mining engineering, petroleum, underground caverns, and metro. Considerable activities in India in the field of rock mechanics are in progress, mainly due to the execution of projects for irrigation, flood control, hydropower generation, road tunnels in mountainous areas, sub-surface excavations for underground railway and storages, and also for mining purposes. Liberalisation of economy has further facilitated planning and execution of many large scale projects in India. World over, number of projects involving rock engineering, have either been completed or are under execution or under investigation.

It is planned to construct 475 hydroelectric projects in India in the coming years, to add hydro potential of about 16,000 MW by the end of 11th Plan ending March 2012 and another 30,000 MW by end of 12th Plan ending March 2017, which would involve construction of dams on comparatively weaker foundations as good sites in general are not available and also construction of about 2000 km length of hydro tunnels through rocks of variable nature.

Indian Railways is executing many projects in difficult terrain conditions. For providing rail connectivity to various states falling in north India, tunneling appears to be a necessity to cross many hilly regions. Ministry of Railway, Government of India, is at present executing various railway projects in North and North Eastern regions involving an annual expenditure of more than Indian Rupees 13000 millions (USD 275 Million). Works are spread in topographically difficult terrain.

A national project to link Jammu with Kashmir Valley by about 340 km broad gauge railway line has been undertaken by Ministry of Railways involving construction of about 63 tunnels, out of which 21 have already been completed in Jammu-Udhampur sector. Works on the remaining portion is also under implementation. For the execution of this project, besides construction of tunnels in variable rock conditions, rock slope stability measures are also being given due importance.

Delhi, the national capital with the population of about 16 million ought to have had a metropolitan rapid transportation network long back as per the prevailing standards. Though late, its first phase covering 65.10 km has already been completed and the work in phase II (125 km) having a tunnel length of about 29 km is in progress. Phases III & IV have been planned for extending the metro network. Metros are also planned for other cities namely Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai etc. which would involve construction of no. of tunnels & underground works.

Thus there is a great opportunity for all agencies in India and abroad to get themselves actively involved in the development of tunnel and underground works in India. Rock engineering shall have a dominating role in the execution of these works.

It is hoped that the deliberations in the ISRM International Symposium 2010 and the 6th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium on “Advances in Rock Engineering”, being held during 23-27 October 2010 in New Delhi, will help in formulating appropriate measures needed for successful execution of projects, related to civil and mining engineering, petroleum, underground cavern or metro.

On behalf of the organisers, I extend a cordial invitation to you all to participate and share your experiences, besides have exciting experience in this country.

Looking forward to meet you in New Delhi.

K.G. Sharma
President, Indian National Group of ISRM
( )

Go to the top of the Newsletter

ISRM sponsored meetings

  • 29-31 October 2009, Dubrovnik-Cavtat, Croatia – EUROCK'2009 – Rock Engineering in Difficult Ground Conditions - Soft Rocks and Karst : an ISRM Regional Symposium
  • 30 May-1 June 2010, Tenerife, Canary Islanda, Spain – 3rd International Workshop on Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering in Volcanic Environments : an ISRM Specialized Conference
  • 15-18 June 2010, Lausanne, Switzerland – EUROCK'2010 – Rock Mechanics in Civil and Environmental Engineering : an ISRM Regional Symposiuman
  • 25-27 August 2010, Beijing, China – 5th International Workshop on Rock Stress : an ISRM Specialized Conference
  • 23-27 October 2010, New Delhi, India – ARMS 6 – International Symposium on Advances in Rock Engineering : the 2010 ISRM International Symposium
  • 16-21 October 2011, Beijing, China – ISRM 12th International Congress on Rock Mechanics : the 2011 ISRM International Congress

Click here to view the list of ISRM Sponsored Conferences .

Go to the top of the Newsletter

6th ISRM Müller Award - nominations to be received by 16 April 2010

The ISRM instituted in 1989 an award to honour the memory of Prof. Leopold Müller, the founder and first President of the Society. The Muller Award is made once every four years in recognition of distinguished contributions to the profession of rock mechanics and rock engineering and consists of a special Müller Lecture to be delivered at the ISRM International Congresses, a work of art typical of the culture of the country hosting the Congress and a silver medallion with a portrait of Leopold Müller.

The nominations the 6th Müller Award are to be received from the ISRM National Groups by 16 April 2010. Further information on the award can be found on the ISRM website .

The nominations will be voted by secret ballot at the next ISRM Council meeting in New Delhi, in October 2010. The selected nominee will receive the award and deliver the Müller Lecture at the 12th ISRM International Congress in Beijing, in October 2011.

Go to the top of the Newsletter

ISRM communication - RSS feed of the ISRM News

As part of our modernisation program, we’re trying to make it easy for you to obtain news about the ISRM.

You may be familiar with the RSS's logo, shown above. An RSS feed of the ISRM News is now available and it can be a great way to keep up to date with what’s happening with your society. RSS (most commonly translated as "Really Simple Syndication" but sometimes "Rich Site Summary") is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favoured websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place.

You can read the ISRM feed directly through your browser's feed reader (available in the last versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) or you may use a dedicated news aggregator . The address of ISRM's News feed is .

Go to the top of the Newsletter

ISRM Rocha Medal 2011 - nominations to be received by 31 December 2009 

Since 1982 a bronze medal and a cash prize have been awarded annually by the ISRM for an outstanding doctoral thesis in rock mechanics or rock engineering, to honour the memory of Past President Manuel Rocha while stimulating young researchers. Starting with the Rocha Medal 2010, one or 2 runner-up certificates may also be awarded.

Nominations for the Rocha Medal 2011 are to be received by the ISRM Secretariat by 31 December 2009. The winner will be announced during the 2010 ISRM International Symposium in New Delhi, in October 2010, and will be invited to receive the award and deliver a lecture at the 12th ISRM Congress in Beijing, in October 2011. Click here to download the announcement with details on the Rocha Medal 2011 .

Go to the top of the Newsletter

FedIGS website with main information about the Federation

The website of the Federation of International Geo-engineering Societies ( ) is now online and regularly updated with information on the FedIGS's activities.

FedIGS was founded by the three learned Societies ISSMGE, ISRM, IAEG, on the principle that each of the participating associations/societies, whenever joining FedIGS, will retain its identity and autonomy.

The role of the Federation is to carry out functions for the international geo-engineering community that could not be carried out with the same effectiveness and efficiency by the Members individually.

Go to the top of the Newsletter

The Planet Earth Lisbon Event 2009 - November 20-22, 2009

The International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations for 2008 with the objective to foster outreach and research activities to raise worldwide public and political awareness of the vast (but often under-used) potential of Earth sciences for improving the quality of life on this planet. IYPE aims to ensure greater and more effective use by society of the knowledge accumulated by the world’s 400,000 Earth scientists. To maximize the impact of this unique opportunity, IYPE was extented into a three year period, the IYPE Triennium (2007-2009).

By the end of this IYPE Triennium a worldwide event is being organised. PELE2009 will be hosted by the Portuguese Government, in Lisbon, and aims to bring together scientists, politicians and industrial leaders to celebrate the closing of the International Year of Planet Earth triennium (2007-2009), to evaluate the results of the IYPE and to look ahead. This forward look will dominate the Event and is reflected in the PELE2009 subtitle: Planet Earth, Present for the future!

All IYPE International Partners will be invited to participate in the meeting with the IYPE leadership and to expose their products in a special exhibition. See .

Go to the top of the Newsletter

6th WBI-International Shortcourse

The WBI-International Shortcourse on Rock Mechanics, Stability and Design of Tunnels and Slopes will take place at the WBI Head Office in Aachen, Germany, from 26 to 30 November 2009. The course, in its 6th edition, will cover the following topics:

  • Jointed Rock: Mechanics, Hydraulics, Investigation
  • Tunnels - Stability and Seepage Analyses
  • Tunnels - Design and Case Studies
  • Slopes
  • Dams and Special Aspects of Rock Mechanics

The course will be held in english and the speakers are: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Walter Wittke, Dr.-Ing. Claus Erichsen, Bauass. Dr.-Ing. Bettina Wittke-Schmitt and Dr.-Ing. Martin Wittke. For registration and more information, download the Shortcourse brochure or visit

Claus Erichsen,
Vice-President at Large, ISRM

Go to the top of the Newsletter

ISRM Secretariat, c/o LNEC, Av. Brasil, 101, 1700-066 Lisboa, PORTUGAL 
Tel: (+351) 218443419; Fax: (+351) 218443021; Website: ; E-mail:
© 2009 ISRM; Editor: Luís Lamas; Webmaster: Ricardo Resende

Disclaimer   ISRM Privacy Policy
Click here to subscribe or unsubscribe to the ISRM Newsletter