To avoid future email messages from ISRM being blocked by antispam software, be sure to add to your list of allowed senders and contacts.
If this newsletter does not display correctly, please open this link on your browser:

No. 24 - December 2013


President's 2014 New Year Address

Dear ISRM Members,

Many were the activities undertaken by the ISRM in 2013 to accomplish the tasks proposed for this Board’s term of office, which are focussed on the modernization and growth of the ISRM.

Four National Groups joined the ISRM in 2013: Hungary, Mexico, Tunisia and Vietnam . The Society reached 54 National Groups and an all-time record of individual members, which is now over 7,000.

The ISRM Online Lecture series was launched in February. Every three months, experts in different fields of rock mechanics were invited to give a lecture on a specific topic:

  • “50 Years of NATM - from a Construction Method to a System" by Prof. Wulf Schubert, in February
  • "Solving the Unsolved Problems in Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering“ by Prof. John A. Hudson, in May
  • "Rock Mechanics Lessons from Dams" by Dr. Pierre Duffaut, in September, and
  • “Catastrophic Landslides; the legacy of Vajont” by Prof. Eduardo Alonso, in December.

The ISRM Online Lectures were broadcast from the ISRM website and, during the subsequent two days, the attendees were able to ask questions to the lecturer by e-mail. The ISRM Online Lectures remain available on the ISRM website in a dedicated webpage .

The number of ISRM Commissions is now 17. This large number of Commissions called for the recent creation of a Technical Oversight Committee, presided by the Vice President at Large Prof. Yuzo Ohnishi, whose task is to interact with the Commissions, summarize their activities and report to the Board and Council.

As a result of the activity of the Commission on Testing Methods, along the year the Board approved nine new Suggested Methods. A new book compiling all the new and upgraded Suggested Methods is being prepared and will be published in 2014.

Three ISRM Specialized Conferences took place:

  • “Effective and Sustainable Hydraulic Fracturing”, in May, in Brisbane, Australia,
  • “SINOROCK 2013 - Rock Characterization, Modelling and Engineering Design Methods”, in June, in Shanghai, China, and
  • “6th International Symposium on In Situ Rock Stress -RS2013”, in August, in Sendai, Japan.

  The Eurock 2013 was held in September, in Wroclaw, Poland. This was also the 2013 ISRM International Symposium, where the ISRM Council, Board and Commissions met. Meetings of the ISRM Advisory Forum and of the Young Members’ Presidential Group also took place during the conference.

Dr Matthew Pierce from Canada gave the Rocha Lecture and the ISRM Franklin Lecture was delivered by Dr Andreas Goricki from Austria.

Steps were taken towards the creation of the ISRM Foundation for Education. Its mission will be the promotion of rock mechanics and rock engineering to the ISRM community. A multi-lingual glossary in rock mechanics is being prepared and is expected to be available in 2015.

We published the yearly issue of the ISRM News Journal, in January, and the four quarterly Newsletters. The website was continuously updated. The ISRM Digital Library was constantly updated and we now have the proceedings of 29 past conferences, with 6,000 papers, available for download.

The Board of the Federation of International Geo-Engineering Societies (FedIGS), of which the ISRM is a member, met in September, in Paris, and inter-Society co-operation was debated. The President and the Vice President for Europe also took part in a workshop organised to present the activities of the FedIGS participating Societies.

The Council, at the meeting in Wroclaw, elected Dr Eda Quadros, from Brazil, and the ISRM President 2015-2019. Dr Quadros now sits in the Board as the President-Elect.

In 2014, we will have several ISRM sponsored conferences. The ISRM International Symposium will take place in Sapporo, Japan, in October, in conjunction with the 8th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium. This is where the ISRM Council, Board and Commission will meet. Before the symposium, several interesting short courses and workshops will take place.

The European Rock Mechanics Symposium – Eurock 2014 will take place in Vigo, Spain, in May. This conference will be associated with several short courses and a workshop on the “Application of Eurocode 7 in Rock Engineering”.

Two Specialised Conferences on relevant topics have already been approved for 2014:  

  • VI Brazilian Rock Mechanics Symposium, September, in Goiania, Brazil, and
  • AusRock 2014: 3rd Australasian Ground Control in Mining Conference, in November, in Sydney, Australia.

Finally, it is important to remember that the success of the ISRM depends, in first place, on the contribution and involvement of its members. We would very much appreciate your time and effort in this regard, so that, all together, we can better serve the rock mechanics fraternity.

I wish you a Happy New Year!

Xia-Ting Feng

President, ISRM

ARMS8 - 2014 ISRM International Symposium, Sapporo, Japan, 14-16 October 2014
Abstract deadline extended to 24 January 2014

The deadline for submission of abstracts to the 2014 ISRM International Symposium ARMS8: 8th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium has been extended to 24 January 2014. We would appreciate your contribution.

The symposium will be held on 14-16 October 2014 in Sapporo, a modern and beautiful city in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. The theme of the symposium is Rock Mechanics for Global Issues - Natural Disasters, Environment and Energy. Contributions in all areas of rock mechanics and related fields are welcome.

Prospective authors are kindly asked to submit an abstract, to participate in the symposium, before 24 January 2014. All accepted papers will be published in the proceedings by USB-drive at the symposium, and they will be introduced in the ISRM Digital Library after the symposium.

Seven excellent keynote speakers were invited from around the world to address the main themes of the symposium:
  • Prof. Xia-Ting Feng, China: "Tunneling and underground construction in China-challenges and progress"
  • Mr. Rolf Christiansson, Sweden: "Environmental impact of nuclear waste management - Concerns from intermediate storage to final disposal"
  • Prof. Derek Elsworth, USA: "Stimulation and fluid displacement in unconventional reservoirs using liquids and gases"
  • Prof. Seokwon Jeon, Korea: "Performance assessment of a rock cutting tool"
  • Prof. Toshifumi Matsuoka, Japan: "Contributions of rock physics to carbon dioxide capture and sequestration"
  • Prof. Surya Parkash, India: "Geohazards risk management in India"
  • Prof. Ernesto Villaescusa, Australia: "Research in ground support technology for deep underground excavations"

A variety of workshops and short courses will be scheduled before the symposium. Technical tours will be conducted after the symposium.

A Student's Night will be organized to encourage the active participation of young members.

For further information, click here to download Bulletin No. 2 or visit the website at .

Eurock 2014, Vigo, Spain, 27-29 May 2014 - an update

The School of Mines of the University of Vigo and the Spanish Society for Rock Mechanics are proud to announce the celebration of the ISRM International Symposium EUROCK 2014 Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering: Structures on and in Rock Masses”, to be held in Vigo, Spain, 27-29 May 2014.

Vigo is a young and modern city, very famous for the beauty of its bay and the quality of the fish and shellfish delicacies. Located in the always green region of Galicia in North Western Spain, it is also very close to the Portuguese border and Porto. Santiago de Compostela and its “Camino” is only 45 minutes away.

EUROCK 2014 will be hosted in the ‘Centro Social Novacaixagalicia Vigo’. It is located in an outstanding architecture jewel of the XIXth century, right in the center of Vigo, and many hotels of the town are located nearby.

An appealing program with a good number of keynote lectures by some of the world’s leading experts on rock mechanics is already prepared. This will include:

  • Nick Barton, Norway and Brazil: "Shear strength of rock, rock joints and rock masses: some problems and solutions"
  • Anna Maria Ferrero, Italy: "Rock mass characterization by means of advanced survey methods"
  • Xia-Ting Feng, China: "Case histories of rock engineering projects in China"
  • Claudio Olalla, Spain: "Foundations on rock masses"
  • Derek Martin, Canada: "The impact of brittle behaviour of rocks on excavation design"
  • José Lemos, Portugal: "Representation of rock discontinuities in safety analysis of large dams"
  • Carlos Carranza-Torres, USA: "Numerical modelling in rock engineering"

A one-day course on ‘Rock mechanics solutions for ornamental rock protection & archaeological site conservation´ will be held the day before the congress. The objective of this course is to establish a dialogue between rock mechanics and conservation of architectural and archaeological sites with the objective of identifying, in the field of geotechnical engineering, applied technologies or novel theoretical premises able to analyze, diagnose and treat conservation problems of the rocks used in architectural heritage. This course is directed by José Delgado Rodrigues.

A two-day course on ‘Numerical Modelling in Rock Engineering’ will take place two days before the symposium. The objective of this course is to provide a background on the numerical modelling for rock engineering problems using two and three-dimensional finite element tools. The participants will be provided with Phase2 and RS3, state of the art 2 and 3-dimensional geotechnical software, which are being used around the world. John Curran from Rocscience and Carlos Carranza Torres will be teaching this course.

A Workshop on "Applicability and application of Eurocode-7 to rock engineering design" will take place the day before the congress, chaired by John Harrison. The objective is to discuss the experiences of verification of rock mechanical design according to the Eurocode-7 for future development and implementation. It is extremely relevant a commitment of the rock mechanics community to be capable to include rock engineering principles and techniques within this code. The workshop represents an excellent opportunity to collect inputs of the rock mechanics community on the application of Eurocode-7.

Various technical visits will be proposed for the aftermath of the symposium including:

  • Technical Visit 1: Underground slate mine & Las Médulas (Roman gold mining area)
  • Technical Visit 2: Venda Nova III underground reversible hydroelectric scheme, under construction, in Northern Portugal (160 km away from Vigo)
  • Technical Visit 3: Rail-way tunnel underground works near Verin (Ourense-150 km)

There will also be a number of social activities comprehending a welcome reception, a banquet (that includes a Spanish wine tasting session and Galician queimada) and some excursions for accompanying people (Santiago de Compostela, nearby region of Baixo Miño).

Additionally, the Scientific Committee is happy to inform that nearly 350 abstracts from around 50 countries were received, so a good number of delegates is expected. It is finally relevant to note that an effort has been made to offer well-priced accommodation through the web site.

It is a great honour for the organizing committee to host for the first time in Spain the Symposium EUROCK and we strongly hope that an exciting program and the charms of this far-west beautiful part of Europe will combine to make this a successful and memorable event.

Please visit our web page at for additional information.

We look forward to seeing you in Vigo in May 2014!

Submission of abstracts to the 13th International ISRM Congress in May 2015, Montreal, Canada, is now open

The website of the 13th International ISRM Congress, which will take place 10-13 May 2015 in Montreal, Canada, is now available: . Submission of abstracts is now open on the website.

As usual in the International ISRM Congresses, screening of the abstracts and papers will be done by the ISRM National Groups, according to their paper allocation quotas. This process will be done through the Congress website. So, please upload your abstract, and later your paper, on the Congress website, and they will be directed to the National Group of the first author for revision and acceptance.

ISRM sponsored meetings

  • 27-29 May 2014, Vigo, Spain. EUROCK 2014. An ISRM Regional Symposium
  • 10-13 September 2014, Goiânia, Brazil. VI Brazilian Rock Mechanics Symposium. An ISRM Specialised Conference.
  • 14-16 October 2014, Sapporo, Japan. 8th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium. The 2014 ISRM International Symposium.
  • 4-5 November 2014, Sydney. The 3rd Australasian Ground Control in Mining Conference. An ISRM Specialised Conference.
  • 10-13 May 2015, Montréal, Canada. ISRM 13th International Congress on Rock Mechanics.
  • 24-25 September 2015, Island of Ischia, Italy. 4th Workshop on Volcanic Rocks and Soils. An ISRM Specialised Conference.
  • 7-9 October 2015, Salzburg, Austria. EUROCK 2015 – Geomechanics Colloquy. An ISRM Regional Symposium.
  • May 2016, Cape Town, South Africa. African Rock Engineering Symposium. An ISRM Regional Symposium.
  • 29-31 August 2016, Cappadocia. Turkey. EUROCK 2016. An ISRM Regional Symposium.
  • October 2016, Bali, Indonesia. ARMS 2016 – 9th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium. An ISRM Regional Symposium.

Click here to view the list of ISRM Sponsored Conferences.

Go to the top of the Newsletter

5 th ISRM Online Lecture by Dr John Read

For the fifth Online Lecture the ISRM invited Dr John Read and the title of his lecture will be “Implementing a Reliable Slope Design”.

The lecture will be broadcast in April, in a date to be announced. It will remain online so that those unable to attend at this time will be able to do it later. As usual, the attendees will be able to ask questions to the lecturer by e-mail during the subsequent 48 hours.

Dr Read is a geological engineer with over 45 years civil and mining engineering project experience as a practitioner, consultant and mining research manager in a number of locations around the world, including Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, USA, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, and Zambia.

His particular expertise is in slope stability and since 1980 he has been specifically concerned with the stability of rock slopes in large open pit mines. In 1987 he got a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering from the Purdue University, USA. In 1994 he was appointed Deputy Chief of the CSIRO Division of Exploration & Mining and Executive Manager of the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies Brisbane. However, in 2004 he stepped back from both of these positions to first establish and then manage CSIRO’s industry funded Large Open Pit Slope Design (LOP) project. The principal objective of the project is to perform research that improves our current methods of predicting the stability of rock slopes in open pit mines.

The previous ISRM Online Lectures were given by Prof. Wulf Schubert, Prof. John Hudson Dr. Pierre Dufaut and Prof. Eduardo Alonso. All the ISRM Online Lectures will remain available on the ISRM website in this dedicated webpage (click to open in a new window) .

Boulder in memory of John Franklin to be placed in the Rock Garden of the University of Waterloo

Dr John Franklin was a geological engineer in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Waterloo in the mid-1980s, and a past-president of the International Society for Rock Mechanics. John passed away last year. He was an international leader in the fields of geomechanics and geological engineering.

His colleagues, friends and family felt it was fitting to recognize John’s contributions to this department and to his profession by placing a rock in the Rock Garden in his memory ( ).

A large 3-tonne anorthosite boulder from Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, was delivered to the Rock Garden this fall for John. Friends, family, and colleagues will be on hand to celebrate and remember John on the University Campus on Sunday May 4, 2014, when the boulder will be inaugurated and formally join the other rocks in the garden.

Barry Warner and Maurice Dusseault

The Technical Committee on Rock Mechanics of the Mexican Society for Geotechnical Engineering joined the ISRM

It is with great pleasure that the ISRM welcomes the Mexican Society for Geotechnical Engineering (SMIG) - Technical Committee on Rock Mechanics as the newest ISRM National Group. The Chairman of the group is Mr Valentin Castellanos Pedroza. Visit the pages of SMIG to know more: .

The ISRM has now 54 National Groups and over 7,000 individual members, an all time record.

COGAN - Competency in Geotechnical Analysis Project

The COGAN project aims to define the competences necessary to perform good quality, reliable numerical analysis in geotechnics. The project goals are to:
  • define the minimum user competences required for the safe implementation of analysis software
  • identify training resource material to help gain these competences
  • provide a web-based platform to view competences and training material and to track progress, and
  • prepare and run e-learning courses in key areas

Young Members Presidential Group Activities

YMPG Executive
The June newsletter ( available here ) reported on the gols of the YMPG. An executive for the group has been elected between the group's members. It's composition is the following:

  • Leader - Karim Zaki (USA)
  • Deputy Leader - Ricardo Resende (Portugal)
Education Task
  • Leader- Ricardo Resende
  • Deputy Leader - Ivan Mihaljević (Croatia)
Increasing YMPG Participation
  • Leader - Ludger Suarez-Burgoa (Colombia)
  • Deputy Leader - Jannie Maritz (South-Africa)
A web page dedicated to the YMPG is under contruction and will soon be available at the ISRM website with more information.

Australian Geomechanics Society and the New Zealand Geotechnical Society invite you to attend the 10th ANZ Young Geotechnical Professionals Conference (10YGPC). The 10th YGCP will take place on Quensland, Australia on the 3th to 5th September 2014.

The 10YGPC is for geotechnical professionals from Australia and New Zealand 35 years old and younger. It is designed for all attendees to present a technical paper on any topic of interest / experience relating to the field of geomechanics or geotechnical engineering . Click here to open the call for papers .

Underground excavation on the mass media

In an earlier newsletter issue ( available here ) we reported on the excelent images that NYC's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) publishes of the New York subway excavation works. Wired magazine, one of the most widelly read technology magazines wrote again on the updated images of the significant excavations in New York. Click here   to read about it or here   to visit MTA's Flickr account.

Do you have good quality photos of impressive excavations? Please share them with the Secretariat and they might be included in the next newsletter.

Go to the top of the Newsletter

Dr Georges Takla passed away

Dr Georges Takla died on September 24th, 2013, at the age of 74. He was born in Damascus on 17 January 1939, graduated in mining engineering at the Mining University Ostrava and obtained his PhD at the same institution. Georges started his technical career in Damascus and in Palmyra in a phosphate mine in 1962. After his re-entry to Czechoslovakia he worked as rock mechanics expert in the Ostrava Coal mine Corporation. Most of his work he devoted to the study of the main geomechanical problems of the underground mines – to rockburst and gas outburst. Georges influenced the design and creation of the rockburst prevention system in Czech part of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin, in a close co-operation with other European coal mine countries.

Between 1995 and 2011 he acted as President of the Czech National Group of ISRM and participated in many ISRM meetings and activities. Even after his retirement he did not cease his professional activities and pursued his interest in rock mechanics further. Georges continued to share and pass his lifelong experience with us, his colleagues, until his last days.

Petr Konicek,
President of the Czech National Group of ISRM

Journal of the ISRM National Group of India

The ISRM (India) Journal was launched in 2012. It is a half yearly technical journal of the Indian National Group of the ISRM, which is involved in dissemination of information on rock mechanics and its related activities in the field of foundation and abutments of dams, tunnel engineering, mining, underground works, rock slope stability, road works, etc.

ISRM Secretariat, c/o LNEC, Av. Brasil, 101, 1700-066 Lisboa, PORTUGAL
Tel: (+351) 218443419; Fax: (+351) 218443021; Website: ; E-mail:
© 2013 ISRM; Editor: Luís Lamas; Webmaster: Ricardo Resende

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