Journal of Mining Science

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 51–63 | Cite as

Review of rock mass rating classification: Historical developments, applications, and restrictions

  • C. O. AksoyEmail author


Historical development of the rock mass rating (RMR) system, first developed and later reviewed by Bieniawski, and contributed by other researchers, is presented. The advanced version of RMR classification and the scope of its application are specified.


Rock mass Bieniawski’s classification score estimation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Z. T. Bieniawski, “Engineering classification of jointed rock masses,” Trans. South African Institute Civil Engineering, 15 (1973).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    N. R. Barton, R. Lien, and I. Lunde, “Engineering classification of rock masses for the design of tunnel supports,” Rock Mechanics, 6, No. 4 (1974).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. Hoek, “Strength of the rock and rock masses,” ISRM News Journal, 2, No. 2 (1995).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    A. Palmström, “RMi-a rock mass characterization system for rock engineering purposes,” PhD Thesis, Oslo University, Norway (1995).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    A. Palmström, “On classification systems,” in: Proceedings of Workshop on Reliablity of Classification Systems a Part of the International Conference “GeoEng-2000”, Melbourne (2000).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    R. Ulusay and H. Sonmez, Engineering Properties of Rock Masses, [in Turkish], The Chamber of Geology Engineering of Turkey, Ankara, Turkey (2002).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    H. Lauffer, “Gebirgsklassifizierung für den stullenbau,” Geologie und Bauwesen, 24 (1958).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. A. Franklin and R. Chandra, “The slake durability test,” Int. J. Rock Mech. & Min. Sci., No. 9 (1972).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    H. J. Oliver, “Swelling properties and other related mechanical parameters of Karro strata as encountered in the orange-fish tunnel,” in: Proceedings of the 15th Annual Congress of Geological Society of South Africa (1973).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Z. T. Bieniawski, “Geomechanics classification of rock masses and its application in tunneling,” in: Proceedings of the 3rd Conference of International Society of Rock Mechanics, Denver (1974).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Z. T. Bieniawski, “Rock mass classification in rock engineering,” in: Proceedings of the Symposium on Exploration for Rock Engineering, Cape Town, Balkema (1976).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Z. T. Bieniawski, “The geomechanics classifications in rock engineering applications,” in: Proceedings of the 4th Congress on Rock Mechanics, ISRM, Montreux (1979).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Z. T. Bieniawski, “Rock mass classification as a design aid in tunneling,” Tunnels and Tunelling, July (1988).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Z. T. Bieniawski, Engineering Rock Mass Classifications, John Wiley and Sons (1989).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    ISRM. The Complete ISRM Suggested Methods for Rock Characterization, Testing and Monitoring: 1974–2006. Suggested Methods Prepared by the Commission on Testing Methods, International Society for Rock Mechanics, R. Ulusay and J. A. Hudson (Eds.), Compilation Arranged by the ISRM Turkish National Group, Ankara, Turkey (2007).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    J. S. Schrier, “The block punch index test,” Bul. Int. Assoc. Eng. Geology, 38 (1988).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    R. Ulusay and C. Gokceoglu, “The modified block punch index test,” Can. Geotechn. J., 34, No. 6 (1997).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    R. Ulusay and C. Gokceoglu, “An experimental study on the size effect in block punch index test and its general usefulness,” Int. J. of Rock Mech. and Min. Sci., 35, Nos. 4 and 5 (in NARMS’98-ISRM International Symposium, Cancun-Mexico) (1998).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    R. Ulusay and C. Gokceoglu, “A new test procedure for the determination of the block punch index and its possible uses in rock engineering,” ISRM News J., 6, No. 1 (1999).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    R. Ulusay, C. Gokceoglu, and S. Sulukcu, “Draft ISRM suggested method for determining block punch strength index (BPI),” Int. J. Rock Mech. and Min. Sci., 38 (2001).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    S. Sulukcu and R. Ulusay, “Evaluation of the block punch index test with particular reference to the size effect, failure mechanism and its effectiveness in predicting rock strength,” Int. J. Rock Mech. and Min. Sci., 38 (2001).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    D. H. Laubscher, “Geomechanics classification of jointed rock masses-mining applications,” Trans. Inst. Min. Met. (1977).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    D. H. Laubscher, “Design aspects and effectiveness of support system in different mining conditions,” Trans. Inst. Min. Met. (1984).Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    E. Unal, R. Ulusay, and I. Ozkan, Rock Engineering Evaluations and Rock Mass Classification at Beypazari Trone Site, METU Project No: 97-03-05-02-02 (1997a).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    E. Unal, R. Ulusay, and I. Ozkan, Rock Engineering Evaluations and Rock Mass Classification at Beypazari Trone Field: Borehole TS-3_Site, Project No: 97-03-05-01-06, METU Ankara (1997b).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    B. Singh and R. K. Goel, Rock Mass Classification: A Practical Approach in Civil Engineering, Elsevier (1999).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    H. Lauffer, “Zur gebirgsklassifizierung bei frasvortrieben,” Felsbau, 6, No. 3 (1988).Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    R. K. Goel and J. L. Jethwa, “Prediction on support pressure using RMR classification,” in: Proceedings of the Indian Geotechnical Conference, Surat, India (1991).Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Z. T. Bieniawski, “Determining rock mass deformability: Experience from case histories,” Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci., 15 (1978).Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    J. L. Sefarim and J. P. Pereira, “Consideration of the geomechanics classification of Bieniawski,” in: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Engineering Geology and Underground Constructions, Lisbon, Portugal, 1 (1983).Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    G. A. Nicholson and Z. T. Bieniawski, “A non-linear deformation modulus based on rock mass classification,” Int. J. of Min. and Geol. Eng., No. 8 (1990).Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    R. Ulusay, “Geotechnical evaluations and deterministic design consideration from pit-wall slopes at Eskihisar (Yatagan-Mugla) strip coal mine,” Ph. D. Thesis, METU, Geological Engineering Dept. Ankara, Turkey (1991).Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    R. Ulusay and C. Aksoy, “Assessment of failure mechanism of highwall slope under spoil pile loadings at a coal mine,” Eng. Geology, 38 (1994).Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    C. O. Aksoy, T. Onargan, T. Gungor, K. Kucuk, and M. Kun, The Evaluation of Excavation and Support System between Goztepe and F. Altay Stations of Second Stage of Izmir Metro Project, DEUEF, DEU-MAG, Izmir (2006).Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    T. Onargan and C. O. Aksoy, Report on the Evaluation of the Excavation of Type Second Station Tunnel and Application in Project on the Second Stage of Izmir Metro Project, DEUEF, Izmir (2006).Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    M. K. Verman, “Rock mass-tunnel support interaction analysis,” Ph. D. Thesis, University of Roorkee, Roorkee, India (1993).Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    E. Hoek and E. T. Brown, Underground Excavations in Rock, Inst. of Mining and Metallurgy, Stephen Austin and Sons Ltd., London, 106 (1980).Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    E. Unal and I. Ozkan, “Determination of classification parameters for clay-bearing and stratified rock mass,” in: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Ground Control in Mining, West Virginia University, Morgantown (1990).Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    E. Unal, Modified Rock Mass Classification: M-RMR system, Milestone in Rock Engineering, The Bieniawski Jubilee Collection, Balkema, Rotterdam (1996).Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    R. N. Singh and D. R. Gahrooee, “Application of rock mass weakening coefficient for stability assessment of slopes in heavily jointed rock mass,” Int. J. of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Environment, No. 3 (1989).Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    R. Ulusay, I. Ozkan, and E. Unal, “Characterization of weak, stratified and clay-bearing rock masses for engineering applications,” in: Proceedings of the Fractured and Jointed Rock Masses Conference, L.R. Mayer, N.G.W. Cook, R.E. Goodman and C.F. Trans (Eds.), Lake Tahoe, California (1995).Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    H. Sonmez and R. Ulusay, “Modification to the geological strength index (GSI) and their applicability to stability of slopes,” Int. J. of Rock Mechanics and Mining Science, 36, No. 6 (1999).Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    E. Unal, I. Ozkan, and R. Ulusay, “Characterization of weak rock, stratified and clay-bearing rock masses,” in: ISRM Symposium:EUROCK’92 Rock Characterization, Chester, UK, J.A. Hudson (Ed.), British Geotechnical Society, London (1992).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mining EngineeringDokuz Eylul UniversityIzmirTurkey

Personalised recommendations