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Rock Mechanics and

Engineering Geoscience
Dr. Dan Faulkner
Rock Mechanics
• First 6 weeks: Rock Mechanics
– 12 lectures
– 6 practicals
• Second 6 weeks: Engineering Geoscience
– 12 lectures
– 6 practicals
• Assessment: 3 hour exam + 2 practicals
Course structure
• Lectures 1-4
– Stress and strain
• Lectures 5-8
– Rock fracture
• Lectures 9-12
– Faults, friction and earthquakes
• Lectures 13-24
– Engineering applications of Rock Mechanics
– What can happen? How can we mitigate against it?
Recommended texts
• 1
6 weeks: Rock Mechanics
– Mechanics of Earthquakes and Faulting by Chris Scholz (2
• Stress and Strain by Win Means
• Fundamentals of Rock Mechanics by J aeger and Cook
• Structural Geology textbooks for stress/strain
• 2
6 weeks: Rock Mechanics and Engineering Geology
– Foundations of Engineering Geology by Tony Waltham
– Practical Rock Engineering by Evert Hoek. Available free on the
Rock Mechanics
• Mechanics: study of motion and force
• Emphasis on brittle rock mechanics (top 15
to 20 km of the Earth’s crust)
– Fracture
– Friction
Why is Rock Mechanics important?
• For understanding how the Earth works
– Fault mechanics (earthquakes, etc)
– Lithosphere strength
– Propagation of seismic waves
• For design and analysis of man-made
– Dams
– Tunnels
– Waste repositories
Scale of observations
In order to understand the processes that
contribute to the failure process, we need to
investigate what occurs on a small scale.
Predictions of the macroscopic behaviour is
based upon what happens physically at the
microscopic scale.
Mechanistic rather than phenomenological
What can we do with rock
• Engineering structures
• Understand earth processes
Emosson Dam, Switzerland
Mersey tunnels: 1934 (Queensway) and
1971 (Kingsway)
Tunnels meet, 1928
Recent improvements to Kingsway
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, 1937
Akashi Kaikyo Suspension Bridge, Kobe,
J apan, 1998. 1991 m span
What happens when we don’t
City Hall, San Francisco, 1906
Statue of Louis Agassiz,
Stanford University campus,
Izmit earthquake,Turkey
M7.4, 17
August 1999
“We fundamentally don’t
understand how earthquakes
work. After all these years, we
don’t have a clue.”
Mark Zoback, Science, 1992
What happens when we get it
• Roads over landslips, MamTor
• Vaiont dam disaster, Italy
The Vaiont dam disaster,
Italian Dolomites, 1963
The Mam Tor head scar – looking west
The Mam Tor