Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky, Brian Marker

Rock Mechanics

  • D. Jean HutchinsonEmail author
  • Mark Diederichs
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73568-9_245


Rock mechanics is a subdiscipline within applied geology, geological engineering, and mining engineering focused on the physical mechanics of rock with applications in both dynamic structural geology and in engineering.

An understanding of rock behavior requires proficiency in engineering mechanics, material properties and physics, and engineering geology, including structural geology. Rock mechanics may be considered with soil mechanics as end members of geomechanics.

Rock is a natural material with substantial ranges in material properties: strong or weak, stiff or highly deformable, ductile or brittle, and durable to easily disaggregated and weathered. In the lower end of the strength range, rock will approach soil-like behavior. Physical strength is highly variable across rock types, ranging from soil-like values (less than 1 MPa for uniaxial strength) for weak mudstones to uniaxial compression strength up to 500 MPa for fine-grained basalt, for example (Brady and Brown 2005...

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  1. Brady BHG, Brown ET (2005) Rock mechanics for underground mining. Springer Science eBook. ISBN:1-4020-2116-X. https://miningandblasting.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/rock-mechanics_for-underground-mining.pdf. Accessed 23 Jan 2018
  2. Clague JJ, Stead D (ed) (2012) Landslides: types, mechanisms and modeling. Cambridge University Press, New York. ISBN:978-1-107-00206-7Google Scholar
  3. Hoek E (2006) Practical rock engineering. RocScience website, Hoek’s Corner online book, 341 p. https://www.rocscience.com/documents/hoek/corner/Practical-Rock-Engineering-Full-Text.pdf. Accessed 23 Jan 2018

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological Sciences and Geological EngineeringQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada