NZ Geomechanics News

International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering Report

Regional Report for Australasia – June 2018

The period since December 2017 has been a relatively quiet period, ahead of preparations for the next ISRM Board and Council meetings in Singapore on 28 – 30 October 2018 in association with ARMS10 – the ISRM 10th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium ( – 31 October – 03 November).

Muller award (2019)

Nominations for the Muller award, a recognition of distinguished contributions to the profession of rock mechanics and rock engineering closed on 30 April 2018. This is the prestigious ISRM technical award, and based on nominations received voting at the Council meeting on 30 October 2018 will decide the 2019 recipient. The lecture will be given during the ISRM 14th International Congress on Rock Mechanics in Foz do Iguaçu, Brasil in September 2019.

Rocha medal (2018, 2019 & 2020):

Nominations for the 2019 award closed on 31 December 2017. The award recognises the most meritorious PhD thesis in rock mechanics, and 21 theses were submitted. Evaluation is underway and the winner will be announced at the ISRM Council meeting in Singapore on 30 October 2018.
The 2018 winner Michael du Plessis (South Africa) with the thesis “Design and Performance of Crush Pillars” (University of Pretoria) will do his presentation at the ARMS 10 Symposium in Singapore (29 October – 03 November).
Nominations for the 2020 award are open and need to be with the ISRM Secretary General by 31 December 2018.

ISRM On-line lectures

Two on-line lectures have been given over the last months:

  • 20th by Professor Milton Kanji (Brazil) on 12 December 2017 with the title “Dam foundations affected by geological aspects”
  • 21st by Prof Laura Pyrak-Nolte (USA) on 15 March with the title “Geophysical Characterization of Fractures”.

The lectures are available on the ISRM website (ISRM online lectures e.g. for Prof Kanji).


ISRM individual membership worldwide remains at 7,800, collected from with 62 National Groups (countries). Europe and Asia have the greatest individual membership (>25%), with other regions including Africa and Australasia having ~5%. – currently 320 in Australia and 170 from New Zealand). There are 150 Corporate memberships, with four from Australia and none from New Zealand.

Young Professionals:

Fostering of younger members (under 35) is a recognised need, but current feeling in the Board is that promotion of young professionals group is better as a bottom driven activity. This is through National Groups (as is in Australia and New Zealand) and supported at conferences, in particular at ISRM Congresses and regional conferences (e.g. ARMS10 in 2018 in Singapore will have several activities – Rockbowl quizz, drilling competition, social. There will also be another Early Career Forum for young professionals sponsored by the ISRM Education Fund).


The ISRM website ( has information on the society’s intent, structure and activities, including conferences, commissions, awards, products and publications. For those AGS members affiliated to ISRM as individual members there is a members area with access to further products. There is also Linked in, Twitter or RSS access.
Regular means of communication (under ISRM information on the website) are:

  • ISRM Newsletter, which has been published quarterly since March 2008.
    Last issue No 40 in December 2017
  • ISRM News Journal, now under the editorship of Dr José Muralha (Portugal)
    Last issue No 20 (Dec 2017) issued in March 2018.

The ISRM Digital Library, which was launched in October 2010. (, is intended to make rock mechanics material available to the rock mechanics community, in particular papers published from ISRM Congresses and sponsored Symposia. It is part of OnePetro (, a large online library managed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers. ISRM individual members are allowed to download, at no cost, up to 100 papers per year from the ISRM conferences.


There are 17 ISRM Commissions in the 2015 – 2019 term (not listed here but included in a previous Geomechanics News). Commission purposes and anticipated products, along with membership, are included on the ISRM website (links on
Commissions run on a voluntary basis and several are very active, with associated publications (e.g. blue and orange books for testing methods). A reduced price for the orange book is available for ISRM members through the members page (see also
FedIGS (Federation of International Geo-Engineering Societies
FedIGS is a grouping under which the three international societies that NZ Geotechnical Society affiliates to operates. Three Technical Commissions operate under the FedIGS umbrella –

  • JCT1 (Natural slopes and landslides) co-ordinated under IAEG
  • JCT2 (representation of geo-engineering data) co-ordinated under ISRM
  • JTC3 (Education and training) co-ordinated under ISSMGE

The JCT2 committee is in a changeover period, with election of new members. Dr Ian Brown, as a New Zealand representative, has joined the committee. If you have a strong interest in storage and manipulation of data, and wish to know more, get in touch with Ian.

In memoriam

Two of the leading lights in the development of rock mechanics, in particular in the 1960s and 1970s, have passed away – Prof Don Deere and Prof Dick Bieniawski. Obituaries are published elsewhere in this issue.

NZ Geomechanics News
Stuart Read
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 95 - June 2018
International Report

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