What happened to the mechanics in rock mechanics and the geology in engineering geology?

Philip Pells

A good thing is becoming a bad thing. Rock mass classification systems, that are so excellent for communications between engineers and geologists, and that can be valuable in categorising project experience, are emasculating engineering geology and rock mechanics. Some engineering geologists have been sucked in to thinking that Q and RMR values are all that is needed for engineering purposes, and seem to have put aside what can be learned from structural geology and geomorphology. Many rock mechanics engineers seem to have forgotten the scientific method. This presentation attempts to redress the situation by showing how mechanics can be used in rock engineering to design with a similar rigor to that used in the fields of structural engineering, hydraulics and soil mechanics. It also attempts to remind practitioners of what can be achieved by skilled engineering geology.

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