No. 10 - June 2010


Update on the 2010 ISRM International Symposium and 6th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium
23-27 October, New Delhi, India

Indian National Group of International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) will be hosting the ISRM International Symposium 2010 and the 6th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi during 23-27 October 2010, jointly with the Central Board of Irrigation & Power, the Secretariat of the Indian National Group of ISRM.

There has been an overwhelming response from Rock Mechanics community and more than 285 abstracts from 33 countries have been received for consideration as to their presentations during the Symposium. Submission of full texts of the accepted presentations is 31 July 2010.

Sessions on “Underground Mining” are also planned wherein more than 35 papers from Australia, China, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, South Korea and USA, are being scheduled for discussions.

Special emphasis is being laid on presentation of Keynote Lectures by renowned experts on each day of the Symposium. Confirmed keynote speakers are: Dr. S. Akutagawa, Prof. G. Barla, Prof. M. Dusseault, Prof. Xia-Ting Feng, Prof. Y.H. Hatzor, Prof. J.A. Hudson, Prof. Guowei Ma, Prof. Yingxing Zhou, Dr. John Read and Prof. Herb Wang.

An exhibition is also planned as a technology showcase to meet the challenges of rock formations in various engineering activities in the field of Water and Energy Resources, Mining, Roads, Underground Works, etc. The strategic location of this event in India which is the fifth largest economy in the world will be a key factor for the exhibitors who are looking for a gateway to this potential region. In total, 22 stalls of size 3mx3m are planned.

Many exciting programmes are being planned for the accompanying persons, and pre and post Symposium tours for all the delegates, to provide glimpses of rich heritage and diversity of the country.

For further details, click here to download the second bulletin .

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

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Invitation to the 5th International Symposium on In-situ Rock Stress,
an ISRM sponsored Specialized Conference, 25-28 August 2010, Beijing, China

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The 5th International Symposium on In-situ Rock Stress (ISRSV) sponsored by International Society for Rock Mechanics will be held from August 25-27, 2010 in Beijing, China. On behalf of the Organizing Committee of ISRSV, I formally invite you to participate in this significant event.

The symposium is designed to show the latest development in the investigation of the in-situ rock stress, which provides us with a unique opportunity to share the state-of-the-art experience and knowledge, to facilitate progress in the future and to make new friends and renew old acquaintances.

I believe that the participants may better understand the development of earthquake disaster prevention in China, and enjoy the oriental scenery and the harmonious coexistence of ancient civilization and modern culture.

We will make every effort to make this event a sound success, and make your stay enjoyable and unforgettable.

We look forward to meeting you in Beijing in 2010. For more information click here to visit the conference website .

XIE Furen
Secretary General, Organizing Committee of ISRSV

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Submission of papers for the 12th ISRM Congress
16-21 October 2011, Beijing, China

The 12th International Congress of ISRM will be held in Beijing in October 2011. Calls for submission of abstracts and papers have been sent to representatives of the ISRM National Groups.

The mechanism for submission of papers to the ISRM 2011 Congress is that all abstracts and papers must be submitted via the respective ISRM National Group that the author belongs to.

There is an allocated page quota for each National Group -- of the extended abstracts (1 or 2 pages for each extended abstract, determined by the National Groups) which form the hard copy proceedings; and the papers, the length of which is also determined by the National Groups but not exceeding 6 pages, which will be on the CD. Please contact the ISRM Secretary General if your National Group requires more page quotas or if you wish to submit a paper but do not have a National Group.

Both the extended abstract (max 2 pages) and full paper (max 6 pages) must be submitted to the respective National Groups for review. The National Groups will review the abstracts and full papers and make the decision of acceptance/rejection and inform the Congress's Scientific Programme Committee of the list of papers by 15 January 2011. Upon notification of acceptance, authors should send the respective National Group the camera-ready manuscripts (both extended abstract and the full paper) and the copyright transfer form. National Groups need to upload all the required files to Scientific Program Committee for compliance checking by 15 April 2011.

The National Groups will have their own schedule for submission of the manuscripts (the start date for abstract submission being 15 June 2010) but the sooner you submit your manuscripts after 15 June the better.

For detailed instructions, please visit . For enquiries, please contact . National Groups requiring more page quotas and individual members without a national group are to contact the ISRM Secretariat.

Yingxin ZHOU, Chairman
Scientific and Publication Committee
ISRM 2011 Congress Organising Committee

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Update on the VII South American Congress on Rock Mechanics, an ISRM Regional Symposium
Lima, Peru, 2-4 December 2010

The Peruvian Society of Geo-engineering is organizing the 7th South American Congress on Rock Mechanics, which will take place in Lima, Peru, from December 2 to 4, 2010 and will be co-sponsored by the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) and the Peruvian Institute of Mining Engineers (IIMP).

The aim of this forthcoming congress is to offer a space where the world's most respected experts in the field of rock mechanics can share their experiences with their South American colleagues and discuss with them the most recent advances in this important discipline of engineering.

Most South American countries share the challenge of having to design and build a variety of complex engineering works (roads, tunnels and hydro-power stations) within the Andes, as well as mining the vast mineral resources hosted by this important mountain range, which means that civil and mining engineers working in this part of the world have been able to accumulate a rich and valuable technical experience in surface and underground engineering in rugged and difficult rock environments.

The themes of the Congress are:

  • Design of underground excavations
  • Open pit design
  • Geotechnical information and site characterization
  • Perfomance and Monitoring of excavations
  • Geotechnical modelling

A total of 45 abstracts were approved and 30 will be selected for presentation. Several keynote lectures will take place. The following speakers are already confirmed: E.T. Brown, J.A. Hudson, X.T. Feng, N. Barton, R. Pakalnis, C. Carranza Torres and L. Lorig.

Registration for the Congress is now open. If you are interested in participating, you are kindly invited to contact the Organizing Committee at .

For information in Spanish, visit the Conference website , or download the Conference announcement .

Carlos G. Soldi
President of the Organising Committee

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ISRM sponsored meetings

  • 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
  • 2-4 December 2010, Lima, Peru – VII Southamerican Rock Mechanics Congress : an ISRM Regional Symposium
  • 16-21 October 2011, Beijing, China – ISRM 12th International Congress on Rock Mechanics : the 2011 ISRM International Congress
  • 27-30 May 2012, Stockholm, Sweden – EUROCK 2012 Rock Engineering and Technology : an ISRM Regional Symposium

Click here to view the list of ISRM Sponsored Conferences .

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FedIGS developments

As many of you will know, a Federation of International Geo-engineering Societies (FedIGS) was established recently, the three constituent Societies being the ISRM, the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), and the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG). The intention of FedIGS is to enhance communication between the three Societies in areas of mutual interest. However, the configuration and style of the originally formed FedIGS turned out to be inherently cumbersome and functionally inflexible.

Accordingly, the three current Society Presidents, John Hudson of the ISRM, Jean-Louis Briaud of the ISSMGE, and Fred Baynes of the IAEG made a series of agreed recommendations for re-configuring FedIGS to a leaner more effective Federation. These included the elimination of fees, a reduction in the number of Joint Technical Committees (JTCs), and a reduction in Liaison Committee members. These recommendations were adopted by the FedIGS Board at a meeting in London, UK, on 28 May 2010. The intention is that, while retaining the basic thrust of FedIGS in enhancing communication between the constituent Societies, it will now be a sleeker and more informal organisation.

To take us forward with this new FedIGS configuration, I am pleased to report that our previous ISRM President, Nielen van der Merwe, is now the Chairman of FedIGS. He has invaluable related experience, both with the ISRM and with the development of FedIGS. Thus, I am now confident, given the FedIGS reconfiguration, that the ISRM membership of FedIGS is indeed ‘a good thing’ and will enable us to follow up any required inter-Societal initiatives rapidly and effectively.

John A Hudson
ISRM President

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Müller Award nominations

The deadline for the reception of nominations for the 2011 Müller Award was16 April. The Müller Award of the ISRM is made once every four years in recognition of distinguished contributions to the profession of rock mechanics and rock engineering. The received nominations were:

  • Nick Barton nominated by CGS, the Colombian Geotechnical Society,
  • Richard Goodman nominated by ARMA, the American Rock Mechanics Association,
  • Peter Kaiser nominated by CARMA, the Canadian Rock Mechanics Association.

The ISRM is proud to have such prominent personalities in the field of rock mechanics as candidates to its highest award. The decision on the recipient of the 2011 Müller Award will be taken by the ISRM Council, at its meeting in New Delhi, on 24 October 2010.

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ISRM Rocha Medal 2012 - nominations to be received by 31 December 2010

Nominations for the Rocha Medal 2012 are to be received by the ISRM Secretariat by 31 December 2010. The winner will be announced during the 2011 ISRM International Congress in Beijing, in October 2011, and will be invited to receive the award and deliver a lecture at the 2012 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 2 runner-up certificates may also be awarded.

Click here to download the announcement with details on the Rocha Medal 2012 .

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CRC Press / Balkema offer 15% discount on books to ISRM members

CRC Press /Balkema aggred to offer members of ISRM a 15% discount on all engineering and science books, excluding e-books, ordered at , and free standard shipping worldwide.

A promotion code, exclusively for ISRM members, can be obtained in the members area of the ISRM website. How it works:

  • Get the promotion code by clicking here (member username and password are needed)
  • Go to and make your selection (promotion code valid for all science and engineering books)
  • Click ‘Checkout’
  • Login or Create an account
  • Enter your credit card details
  • The final invoice appears, where there is a field to insert a discount code: insert the code here
  • The reduced amount is shown
  • Finalize order

For questions, please e-mail to and you will get a personal reply.

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Rock Failure Mechanisms: Explained and Illustrated
A new book by Chun'An Tang and John A. Hudson

This new book, where rock failure mechanisms are illustrated and explained, has been recently released by CRC Press / Balkema. Rock Failure Mechanisms features:

  • A unique coverage of rock failure by two world renowned experts
  • Vital information on the safety of structures built on and in rock masses
  • A software CD-ROM and manual of the Rock Failure Process Analysis (RFPA) code, to generate many of the illustrations included.
  • Support material available at

For more information, you can download the Introduction to the book and the Table of Contents . The direct link to the book webpage is: .

Members of ISRM will receive a 15% discount and free standard shipping worldwide. For this, you need a promotion code exclusive for ISRM members, which you can obtain in the book flyer, available here (member username and password needed). To buy the book, follow the instructions in the previous news item.

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Underground Science at DUSEL: A window into the Heavens and the Earth

(a) Perspective of the underground workings and overlying topography at DUSEL Homestake, Lead, South Dakota; (b) Surface facilities for the Ross Shaft, a primary access portal to DUSEL Homestake [Photo courtesy Homestake Corporation].

Acicular crystals of sulfate mineral growing out of a fracture (along cleavage planes) at 4850L, indicating active fluid flow and sulfide oxidation.

Wall view of previous photo showing sulfate minerals precipitating along fractures parallel to cleavage planes at 4850 L.

Scientists on a reconnaissance marshalling at the Ross shaft on the 4850 L.

Plaque dedicating the Sanford laboratory at the 4850L. Isotope geochemist Kate Maher (Stanford University) as part of the reconnaissance team investigating water-rock interaction.

Biofilms comingled with actively forming carbonate stalactites suspended from the adit roof on the 4850L.
[Photos credits Eric Sonnenthal]

A plan to develop a deep underground science and engineering laboratory (DUSEL) is taking shape at the former Homestake Gold Mine in Lead, SD.

The mine produced more than $38B of gold over its century-and-a-quarter lifetime and was the site of a Nobel Prize winning experiment that identified a deficit in the number of neutrinos produced by the Sun. The mine reaches to a depth of ~2500 m (~8000 ft) and is being dewatered and rehabilitated as the prospective home for experiments in astrophysics and particle physics, in biology, in geosciences and in engineering.

Physicists go deep primarily to escape the noise in their detectors produced by the interactions of the active detector material with the shower of particles created by cosmic-ray collisions in the atmosphere. The rock of the mine is a very effective shield for those particles and allows physicists to record and study weakly interacting particles such as neutrinos or WIMPs which are naturally traversing the Earth. These particles interact very rarely with matter and would be lost in the background in a surface detector. In fact their collisions with matter are so rare that all but one in ten-trillion pass clear through the Earth without a collision. But the chance of observing such events is increased as the mass, and thus size, of the subterranean liquid-filled detector is increased. Large and deep detectors are the desired standard and large caverns spanning 60m and at a depth of 1500 m are proposed – these pose unprecedented construction challenges.

Geoscientists and engineers are going deep to help in this effort, but also to explore the processes that shape our planet and to ensure good stewardship of the resources that sustain our existence. Proposed experiments are arranged in both observatories and as active mine-by, heating and fracturing experiments. These address questions related to the inner workings of the Earth’s crust and how we safely build unprecedented structures within it.

Experimental groups are currently evaluating the feasibility of a variety of experiments to better characterize the subsurface at all scales, to probe scale- and time-dependent effects in rock masses related to fracturing, the transport of fluids and the evolution of biota and to develop improved methods to define the response of structures and treatments in the subsurface.

This effort to establish a multi-disciplinary deep underground laboratory with the capacity to accommodate these and other frontier experiments for the next fifty years is being explored by the National Science Foundation and the academic community. Such experiments are the subject of multiple development efforts to explore their feasibility for such a laboratory, should the plan for DUSEL become a reality.

Further details of the project are available at: and related to the scientific activities are available here .

Derek Elsworth, Penn State University;
Steven Elliott, Los Alamos National Laboratory;
Charles Fairhurst, University of Minnesota;
Daniela Leitner, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory;
Lawrence Murdoch, Clemson University;
Tullis Onstott, Princeton University;
Henry Sobel, University of California, Irvine;
Eric Sonnenthal, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory;
Kevin Lesko, University of California, Berkeley;
William Roggenthen, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology;
are the principal investigators for the Homestake-DUSEL project.

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Landslide risk management concepts and guidelines

Slope instability occurs regularly in urban and remote areas throughout the world. These events often impact on infrastructure and have devastating impacts on people. This result has been recognised by many tiers of government and have led to the development of many landslide risk management guidelines.

In recognition of deficiencies and inadequacies in many of these guidelines, in 1999 the National Committee of the Australian Geomechanics Society set up a sub-committee to address these areas and to establish new guidelines to help practitioners carry out stability assessments in rock and soil using risk based rocedures. The most recent publication of the sub-committee can be found under the heading Landslide Risk Management 2007 at

Tony Meyers
Vice-President for Australasia, ISRM

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EUROCK 2010 - a review

EUROCK 2010, the ISRM European Regional Rock Mechanics Symposium was held on 15-18 June 2010, on the campus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. The theme of the symposium was “Rock Mechanics in Civil and Environmental Engineering” and the proceedings collects 198 papers including 5 keynotes.

One important mission of the EUROCK 2010 was to bring the rock mechanics community in Europe together, to exchange, to collaborate and to progress. This objective was well achieved by having 336 participants, from 26 countries in Europe and 17 countries/regions in other continents.

Welcome by the Swiss Alpine horn performance at the banquet reception in the Olympic museum.

EUROCK 2010 made consented effort to attract young rock mechanics professionals to the symposium, with a low registration fee. There were 95 young professionals (students and engineers) attended the symposium. The first EUROCK Award for the best paper by a young scientist/engineer was given at EUROCK 2010. Altogether 33 young authors participated the competition and the winner was Azania Mufundirwa and the runner-up was Matt Lato.

An open discussion on the future of rock mechanics in Europe generated sufficient interests among the delegates, towards a stronger rock mechanics community in Europe, by increasing the visibility of rock mechanics in teaching, research and engineering applications.

You can read the full report here.

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2nd ISRM Field Trip to Switzerland a great success

The 2nd ISRM Field Trip was successfully held in the two days before the EUROCK2010 ISRM Symposium. The Field Trip, with 16 participants representing 11 nationalities, was led by Christophe Bonnard.

A wide variety of technical and cultural visits was packed into the two days, including a visit to Lausanne Cathedral, landslide locations and castles. The technical highlight was a comprehensive visit to and explanation of the La Frasse landslide; the cultural highlight was a detailed explanation of the Etivaz cheese maturation process which included a visit to the ‘cheese cave’, see photos below.

John A Hudson
ISRM President

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3rd International Workshop on Rock Mechanics and Geo-Engineering in Volcanic Environment - a review

The 3rd International Workshop on Rock Mechanics and Geo-Engineering in Volcanic Environments has been held between 31 May and 3 June at Puerto de La Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain). It was organised together with the multidisciplinary Conference Cities on Volcanoes CoV6-Tenerife 2010.

Organised by the Spanish National Group of the ISRM (SEMR) and the Regional Ministry of Public Works of the Government of the Canary Islands and sponsored by the ISRM and the University of La Laguna, this event was recognized as an ISRM Specialized Conference and represents a continuation of the technical conferences on volcanic rock mechanics previously held in Madeira and Azores in 2002 and 2007, respectively.

Many activities took place during the conference, which allowed participants to enjoy the natural wonders of the Canary Islands. Two visits were especially preferred by workshop participants: the Teide Volcano Natural Park, with volcanoes specialists, and the tunnel under construction affected by volcanic materials.

The topics covered in the Workshop have been related to geomechanical characterization of volcanic materials, instabilities in volcanic islands and geo-engineering and infrastructures in volcanic environments. About 120 people attended the ISRM Workshop and a total of 50 papers were presented. A Keynote Lecture titled “Low stress and high stress phenomena in basalt flows” was given by Dr. Nick Barton. Articles submitted to the Workshop are contained in a proceeding printing volume titled “Volcanic Rock Mechanics”. This volume is available at the SEMR secretariat ( and a conference report is available here .

Luis E. Hernández, Claudio Olalla and José A. Rodríguez Losada
(Chairman, Co-Chairman and General Secretary)

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Corporate members' highlights

In this Newsletter the series of highlights on the ISRM Corporate Members continues. Corporate Members, 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.

This 10th issue of the trimestral newsletter presents the major activities of two corporate members:

  • Suncoh Consultants Corporation, Japan, and,
  • Geoscience Research Laboratory, Co., Ltd, Japan

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Corporate members' highlights - Suncoh Consultants Corporation

Suncoh Corporation is the general consultant in the civil engineering field in Japan. In the field of geological investigation we had worked the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge (the world's longest three-span suspension bridge), the Seikan Tunnel (the world's longest undersea tunnel). Recently, we are researching the high-level radioactive waste and CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) as a global environmental protection.

The many large earthquakes occur in the Japanese Islands which is located in the Circum-Pacific seismic zone and we predict the high event probability of large earthquakes. So we have to study the safety of ground and structure foundation considering influence of earthquakes.

We have developed new stiffen direct shear equipment to determine strength and deformation characteristics of rock joints. We apply these parameters to the numerical analyses which are Multiple Yield Model (MYM) for small deformation and Discontinuous Deformation Analysis (DDA) for large deformation.

As an example, we show the result of simulation of a rock collapse that occurred by the Mid Niigata Prefecture Earthquake in 2004(M=6.8) using MYM and DDA.

We examined the stability of rock slope during earthquake using the static and the dynamic analyses of MYM as a kind of a non-linear FEM considering rock joints to estimate of the potential of collapse before earthquakes. And we analyzed collapse modes during earthquakes by using DDA. URL: (Japanese only).

New Direct Shear Equipment

Result of DDA calculation and remedial work

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Corporate members' highlights - GEOSCIENCE RESEARCH LABORATORY, Co., Ltd.

Geolab coordinates and conducts research and development on the subsurface environment and its related disciplines including rock mechanics, groundwater hydrology, geology, and etc. With the experience and knowledge acquired through the R&D, we provide technical supports on numerical analysis, and experiments and measurements in the field and labs. For contribution to the further advancement of rock mechanics, we are working on the R &D of the following subjects.

Site Descriptive Modeling

With Geolab’s 3D site descriptive modeler “Geo-Graphia”, high-resolution surface geometry can be easily reconstructed from 3D laser scanner data. Additionally, Geo-Graphia integrates geological data into a topographic model and visualizes bedrock geology in 3D. For FEM and FDM analyses, Geo-Graphia directly generates mesh from the 3-D model.

Topographic Image by Laser Measurement

Topographic Image after Filtering Process

Cross-section View of Geological Model

Geological Model for Simulation

Landslide Analysis Model of Tunnel Entrance Area
Numerical Analysis for Geo-Disaster Prevention

To simulate complex and ever-changing phenomena in the subsurface environment under different scenarios,

Geolab offers software development service and brings solutions using the software. Geolab’s knowledgeable and experienced engineers provide software users with advice on modeling physical properties or boundary conditions for analyses, as well as other engineering problems.

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7th 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 25 to 29 November 2010. The course, in its 7th 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, visit

Claus Erichsen,
Vice-President at Large, ISRM

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