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Guest Lecture in Applied Rock Mechanics

Guest Lecture in Applied Rock Mechanics

Friday, March 24th


Room 303, Forestry and Geology Building

UNB Fredericton Campus

When Things Go Bump in the Dark: Tunnelling in Bursting Rock Conditions

Dr. Mark Diederichs, PhD, PEng, FEIC

Professor, Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Queen’s University


In the world of practical rock engineering and engineering geology. brittle failure processes pose some of the most difficult challenges for deep tunnelling, rendering standard laboratory testing inadequate for characterization, defying conventional analysis tools for prediction and confounding proponents of empirical design. This mode of rockmass damage and yield behaviour is particularly infuriating to Geological Engineers working on tunnel projects in the European Alps, the Andes of South America, the Canadian Cordillera and other deep projects (with examples to be presented in this talk) as it can transform into high energy dynamic failure known universally as rockbursting. Rockbursts pose a serious safety hazard for workers and a seemingly intractable challenge for tunnel construction. The hazard potential is often missed at the site characterization stage resulting in a conflict between ground conditions presented in tunnel contracts and the actual encountered conditions and the required construction response.


Mark Diederichs is a Professor of Rock Engineering at Queen’s University in Canada. He specializes in Tunnelling, Deep Mining, and Repository Design for Nuclear Waste. He has researched and published on topics including rockbursting and brittle failure, tunnel design in squeezing ground, mechanics of tunnel support systems, structural characterization and analysis for deep and open pit mining, and long term evolution of excavation damage zones around deep tunnels, shafts and caverns. He has supervised over 60 graduate students and published over 300 articles in these fields and is an international consultant working in mining, tunnelling and nuclear waste repository engineering.

Jennifer J. Day, Ph.D., EIT(NB), GIT(NB)
Assistant Professor, Department of Earth Sciences
University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, NB, Canada    E3B 5A3

Earlier Event: March 23
Earth Science Lecture Series
Later Event: March 24
Earth Science Lecture Series