No. 8 - December 2009


Call for submissions to the International E-Journal of the Japanese Committee for Rock Mechanics

International Journal of the Japanese Committee for Rock Mechanics (IJJCRM), quick double-blind-peer-reviewed online journal, welcomes research manuscripts that contribute to developments in the fields of Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering. The manuscripts may be categorized into Review or Issue papers, Technical Note, or Discussion.

The researchers and the engineers who have ISRM (International Society for Rock Mechanics) membership or JCRM student membership can have a right to submit their own articles to this journal. Each article accepted will be published with a PDF format in chronological order immediately after the review and publication processes are completed. Downloading of all the articles is completely free.

Please visit our website ( ) and download the articles of interest as many as you wish.

Toru Takahashi
JCRM E-Journal Committee




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Alvaro Gonzalez, ISRM VP for South America, received an important award

During the “Distinctions and Awards to the National Engineering” ceremony that the Association of Civil Engineers of the National University of Colombia - AICUN held on 26 November 2009, Prof. Alvaro Jaime González García was conferred the Professional Trajectory Award. The ISRM wishes to congratulate Prof. Álvaro Gonzalez, for this deserved recognition of his professional carreer.

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A tribute to Martin Pretorius

Martin Johannes Pretorius, ISRM Vice President for Africa 2003 – 2007, passed away on Sunday 29 November 2009 at the age of 53 after a brave and long battle with leukemia. Like the long distances he was so fond of running, he did not give up until it was over.

Martin’s career was spent on the deep gold mines in South Africa, in capacities ranging from production to rock engineering and technical advisor. He found the time to complete a Master’s degree in Engineering and a PhD, both part time, working nights and weekends. From a work perspective, he was hard working, intelligent and diligent. When he was appointed as technical advisor at the Harmony Gold Mining group, his instruction by the then CEO, Bernard Swanepoel, summarized Martin’s attitude and abilities by this very simple brief: “ Teach the guys on the mines to think like you do ”, that was all, that was all that was necessary.

He served the technical community through his duty on the Council of the South African National Institute for Rock Engineering for several years, including a stint as President and then ISRM Vice President for Africa.

Upon being notified of Martin’s passing away, his colleagues on the previous ISRM Board who could be reached had this to say:
…really sad news, and doubly so since he was a close colleague of us all… ” John Hudson
…I found him to be a man of depth and integrity… ” John St George
…so many times his good judgment had strong importance to enlarge my own thoughts… ” Eda Quadros
…a very nice and friendly person, and too young to leave us… ” Luís Lamas

The words “nice”, “friendly” and “integrity” describe the person Martin was. Those who had the privilege of knowing him, also know that he quietly set the example: always calm, thoughtful, mindful of the needs and the feelings of others. He never had to combat negative concepts like hate, anger and revenge – those simply did not exist in him.

In Martin’s own words:
One of the things I resolved was not to ask why something like this had to happen to me, however difficult it was at times. I am not even sure that one would ever come to a satisfactory answer after hours of moping and wasting time! Life is simply too short to waste time and energy on such issues. I will rather spend my time and energy making life better for those close to me and those with whom I come into contact.

At this time, our thoughts are with Martin’s wife, Christa, and their children Stefan, Martin and Christelle.

Rest in peace, dear friend, you have made life better for all of us who were touched by your gentleness.

Nielen van der Merwe
ISRM President, 2003-2007

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The Challenges of Mining Old, Shallow, Small Coal Pillars

by Nielen van der Merwe

The coal reserves in the mainstay of South African coal production, the Witbank coal field, are nearing depletion. Very few, if any, medium to large mines can still be opened there to replace the defunct ones. The current mines are having to scratch around to find the remaining pockets of coal in order to extend their lives.

The coal that is left, is often that which was not mined in the past due to adverse ground conditions, low quality or low mining heights that prohibited using the equipment that was available. One such source of coal is that which is contained in small pillars in the old mines that were never intended for secondary mining. Several operators now consider mining those reserves and it is proving to be challenging from a rock engineering viewpoint.

Because these pillars tend to be small by virtue of the shallow depth, there are limited options when designing the sequence of cuts and also the sizes of the remnants (snooks) that are to be left in situ. Snooks very often have to be left as protection during the actual process of mining a pillar. They therefore have to be large enough to remain stable while there are still unmined pillars close to them, but they have to be small enough to fail once mining has progressed to the next line of pillars.

Click here to read the complete article

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Get Underground, Finland - a review

On 4 and 5 November 2009, in Helsinki FINLAND, the Finnish National Group of ISRM (the ISRM NG FINLAND), the Finnish Tunnelling Association (the ITA NG FINLAND), the Finnish Geotechnical Society (the ISSMGE NG FINLAND), and the Concrete Pile Division of the Confederation of Finnish Construction Product Industries organized together the “Get Underground” conference, which included the following events:

  • Geotekniikan Päivä (Geotechnical seminar);
  • Nordic Symposium of Rock Grouting;
  • Paaluseminaari (Concrete pile seminar);
  • Rock Engineering Seminar, with the themes Rock mechanics and Underground projects; and
  • Underground Space Seminar, with the themes Reasons to go underground, City planning, and Maintenance and repair of the space.

The conference marked also the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the Finnish Tunnelling Association, and counted with the presence of Eivind Grøv, a Vice President of the ITA, and Nuno F. Grossmann, the 1st Vice President of the ISRM, who gave an introduction about the activities of their organizations.

The conference, which had nearly 200 participants, from many countries, included a technical exhibition with more than 20 booths.

The papers of the different seminars were distributed as books to all participants.

Nuno Grossmann
ISRM Vice President for Europe

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EUROCK 2009 - a review

The ISRM Regional Symposium EUROCK 2009, was organised by the Croatian Geotechnical Society. It was a continuation of the successful series of regional ISRM European symposia, which began in 1992 in Chester, UK, and will be continued next year with the 14th symposium to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland. EUROCK 2009 was chaired by Ivan Vrkljan.


This EUROCK 2009 focused on recent developments in rock mechanics and rock engineering in difficult ground conditions, with an emphasis on soft rocks and karst conditions. Seven sections were organized and eight excellent keynote presentations were given during the Symposium.

234 participants from all over the world attended the symposium. 70 papers were selected for oral presentation and 54 for the poster session. One volume of the proceedings and a CD, edited by Ivan Vrkljan, containing 7 keynote papers and 129 ordinary papers, were published by CRC Press / Balkema.

During the symposium European Council meting has been held. 13 companies participated in an active technical exhibition. The social programme included two excursion for accompanying persons and one day excursion for all participants on Pelješac peninsula.

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The ISRM South America Board Lecture Tour 2010 - Bogotá and Lima

The ISRM Board will meet on 8 February 2010 in Bogotá, Colombia, half way between the 2 regular meetings in May 2009, in Hong Kong, and in October 2010, in New Delhi. This additional meeting was found necessary owing to the large span between those 2 meetings, and in order to booster the modernisation initiatives which are in an advanced stage of implementation.

Profiting from the presence of the Board members in Bogotá, our Colombian and Peruvian National Groups agreed to host a Seminar entitled "Latest Advances in Rock Engineering", where all the Board members will deliver a lecture on a specific rock mechanics issue.

This South America Board Lecture Tour will start with a Seminar in Bogotá, Colombia, on 9 February, at the National University of Colombia, organised by our Vice President for South America, Álvaro Gonzalez García. Click here to download the programme in English . For Spanish click here .

The Seminar will be replicated in Lima, Peru, on 12 February, at the Peruvian Institute of Mining Engineers (IIMP), organised by Antonio Samaniego, President of our Peruvian National Group. Click here to download the programme .


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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.

The 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 go to websites or .

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Invitation to the 2nd ISRM technical and cultural field trip to Switzerland

This 2nd ISRM Annual Field Trip takes place in June 2010 on the two days immediately before the EUROCK2010 Symposium: Sunday 13 June and Monday 14 June 2010. The Field Trip starts and finishes in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The field trip leader will be Christophe Bonnard of the EPFL, where he is the leader of the group Natural Hazard Assessment of the Soil Mechanics Laboratory and Member of the Board of Directors of the Soil and the Rock Mechanics Laboratories. He is a Lecturer of the Doctoral Program Environment at the EPFL and at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Geneva (post-graduate course on Study and Management of Geological Risks).

The 1st day includes visits to a motorway anchored wall, landslide sites, molasse outcrops and cliffs, as well as visits to the Fribourg and Gruyères towns and castles. Dinner and overnight will be in Gruyères. On the 2nd day participants will visit a cheese cave, rock outcrops, an arch dam and a rock fall zone, a quarry and the Chillon castle.

Click here to download the Field Trip invitation .

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EUROCK 2010 - Lausanne, Switzerland, 15-18 June

EUROCK 2010, the European Rock Mechanics Symposium of the ISRM, is organized by the Swiss National Group and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. The symposium will take place on EPFL campus on 15-18 June 2010.

Over 340 abstracts were received, but considering all the limitations 220 abstracts from 36 countries were accepted and the authors were requested to prepare full-length papers and presentations.

Keynotes will be given by Herbert Einstein, Claus Erichsen, Peter Kaiser, Marek Kwaúniewski, Jean Sulem, and Robert Zimmerman. Special presentations will be given on the DECOVALEX and the TIMODAZ radioactive waste repository projects and on the construction of the Lötschberg and the Gotthard long base tunnels. At the Open Session there will be overview reports on rock mechanics teaching, research and engineering activities in Europe and future outlook. The Open Session will be chaired by Giovanni Barla and Håkan Stille.

A few options of technical visits were prepared, primarily to tunneling and slope sites, on 18 June, the last day of the Symposium. Preceeding the Symposium, the 2nd ISRM technical and cultural field trip is being organized by the ISRM (see details in this Newsletter). Short courses will also be organized.

In conjunction with the Symposium, a technical exhibition will be organized. A series of 48 panels entitled “New Rail Link through the Alps: a Swiss Pioneer Achievement” will be exposed by the Foundation “Hänggiturm” Ennenda and Museum for the Art of Civil Engineering.

Companies wishing to take part in the exhibition or to sponsor the symposium, please contact the symposium organizer directly for detailed arrangements, at .

Further information is available at the symposium website, .

Jian Zhao
Chairman of the Organizing Committee

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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).

A high-level special session “Difficulties with Hydraulic Fracturing Stress Measurements and Ways to Overcome them”, chaired by Prof. Bezalel Haimson, has been added. This session emphasizes the limitations of the method and how to overcome them in practice, or how to improve the method. Prof. B. Haimson, Prof. M. Zoback, Prof. J.C Roegiers, Prof. F. Cornet, Prof. T. Ito, Prof. T. Doe and other world known geoscientists will contribute to this special session. This special session will be followed by a Panel debate entitled "The Future of Deep In Situ Stress Measurements Through Boreholes", also chaired by Prof. Haimson. The Panel will consist of all the invitees of the special session, and it will be conducted in front of the entire Symposium audience, and will first include statements from the panel members, followed by questions from the audience and answers from the panel.

For more information visit the conference website .

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

The Symposium will take place at the modern Habitat Convention Centre, organised by the Indian National Group of the ISRM and the Central Board of Irrigation and Power. The ISRM Board, Council and Commission meetings will take place on the 23rd and the 24th, and the technical programme of the Symposium will be from the 25th to the 27th October.

A technical exhibition is being organised. Excursions for accompanying persons and 2 post-symposium tours are planned.

The Organising Committee has decided to extend the date for submission of synopses to 28 February 2010, in view of extension for submission of synopses being sought from various quarters.

For more information click here to go to the Symposium website .

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ISRM sponsored meetings

  • 30 May-1 June 2010, Tenerife, Canary Island, 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 .

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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.

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Join the ISRM - check the benefits given to ISRM members

Individuals wishing to join the ISRM shall normally apply for membership through their National Group. Those wishing to apply for membership of the ISRM directly to the Secretariat become corresponding members. This is normally reserved to members from countries without a National Group.

The current benefits given to ISRM individual members are:

  • 1 copy of the ISRM News Journal
  • ISRM Newsletter
  • Access to the members area in the website, where most benefits are offered (download of suggested methods, commission reports, slide collections, rock mechanics lectures, etc.)
  • Right to participate in the ISRM Commissions
  • At least 20% discount in the registration fees in the ISRM sponsored International and Regional Symposia and Specialised Conferences
  • Personal subscription to the International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences at a discounted price (see details)
  • Personal subscription to the Journal Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering at a discounted price
  • Other benefits that are from time to time offerred to members, such as discount in Rock Mechanics books

Companies wishing to join the ISRM shall apply for membership as corporate members, either through their National Group or directly to the Secretariat. In addition to the benefits given to ISRM individual members, corporate members are listed in the ISRM website, with a link to the company's website, and in the annual edition of the ISRM News Journal.

Click here to check the fees to be paid by ISRM members.

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Corporate members' highlights - a new section of the ISRM Newsletter

The ISRM has over 100 Corporate members, which give a very valuable support to our activity. All of them are listed on our website and can be searched per country, name or type of activity. In order to give more visibility to the ISRM Corporate members, it was decided to start publishing highlights on their activity in this electronic Newsletter. Being Japan, by far, the country with more Corporate members of the ISRM, the Japanese National Group was requested to ask some Japanese Corporate members to present their company profiles with key aspects of their activity. Other National Groups have been asked the same, and more of the short articles will continue to be published in the forthcoming Newsletters.

We would like to thank the contributions of the 3 Japanese companies selected for this first issue, which were:

  • Oyo Corporation
  • Tekken Corporation
  • Obayashi Corporation

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Corporate members' highlights - Oyo Corporation, Japan

Oyo Corporation has been operating mainly in the civil engineering field, especially related to construction of infrastructures in Japan, ever since its establishment in 1957 as a geotechnical consulting firm.

Nearly 70% of Japan's land area is mountainous and geological structure is very complex. Accordingly, in order to plan and construct roads or railways securing safety and efficiency, it is indispensable to comprehend the ground condition exactly and to estimate physical properties. We have been playing a role in the field.

Oyo Core Laboratory (Core Lab) is our comprehensive center which is equipped systems for high precision tests and researches in the physical, chemical, and mechanical properties of soil, rock, groundwater, and air.

Today, monitoring and estimating geo-risk related to CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage), as an action to the global warming, is one of the most important realms for our company.





The RAPIDAS mounted tunnel survey system


CO2 geological sequestration conception diagram



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The super triaxial testing system was designed to perform static and dynamic testing on large,non-uniform core samples.The unit is capable of applying a static axial load of to 200 tons,and a dynamic axial load of up to 100 tons.

Corporate members' highlights - Tekken Corporation, Japan

Ever since its foundation in 1944, Tekken Corporation has undertaken many projects mainly in construction of traffic structures. Mountain tunneling, an application field of rock mechanics, is one of our realms of expertise.

Fully utilizing our knowledge of tunnel construction technology accumulated over a long period of time, we have studied and developed important element techniques including shotcrete and rock bolts, and also developed new construction machines and grouting techniques.

With our outstanding technological performance, we participated in major projects such as construction of the Seikan Tunnel that is the longest undersea railway tunnel in the world (53.85 km long) and construction of the Kushikino underground crude oil storage caverns that are over three hundred square meters in total area.

The photos shown here is a view of the cutout construction of the steep rock cliff, which is in the upper part of the portal of the highway tunnel. At the construction, the monitoring was done with various measuring instruments to prevent the sudden fall accident of the rock blocks beforehand.

(Japanese only, English version is under construction)

Steep rock cliff before cutout

Bird's eye view of the cutting construction

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Corporate members' highlights - Obayashi Corporation, Japan

“To measure the mechanical and hydraulic properties of rock mass”

Obayashi Corporation is the general contractor in Japan. Our construction activities such as dams, tunnels and so on have strong relationship between global environment problems, because they handle and change the earth directly. A lot of R&D programs are performed in technical research institute to prove the quality of products and the influence on the environments of them.

The strength, deformability and permeability of the rock mass are basic parameters for stability calculations in geotechnical engineering. These parameters depend mainly on the properties of the rock substance, the discontinuities and on their interaction. “Multi-purpose testing Machine for Rock Masses” (MMRM) that has been introduced at Obayashi technical research institute, is a testing system for large scale specimen (max. 700mm cube) including discontinuities under true-triaxial stress conditions to investigate mechanical and hydraulic parameters.

Specification of the Multi-purpose testing Machine for Rock Masses and Rock Mass Specimens

Size of specimen

Max. 700x700x700

mm cube

Maximum load





Loading Rate

Min. 5kN/min

Deformation Rate

Min. 0.05mm/min

Loading Pattern

Monotonic & Sine Wave

Water Injection Pressure

Max. 1MPa



The experimental results shown here is AE event distribution of biaxial creep tests of tunnel model in rock mass. It can be seen that the damaged zone was appeared at both side-walls of hole and this behavior was reflected by crack evolution analysis. Through the application of MMRM, quality of structures constructed in and on the rock mass is supported.


AE event distribution
and crack evolution analysis
of biaxial creep test

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