Contemporary tectonic stress: Advances in research and industry



The need for knowledge about the in situ tectonic stress field in research and economic applications was the topic of a series of two World Stress Map (WSM) Euroconferences. WSM is a global database containing information on contemporary tectonic stress in the Earth's crust, which is derived from six types of stress indicators: earthquake focal mechanisms, well bore breakouts, hydraulic fracturing, overcoring measurements, and young (Quaternary) geological indicators such as faultslip data and volcanic alignments.The database as well as stress maps from different regions of the world are available via the Internet (

The first WSM Euroconference addressed the commercial application of in situ stress measurements. Improved knowledge of tectonic stress and effective rock strength is important in the design and construction of underground openings. For oil companies in charge of exploration and production, in situ stresses are basic input data for the calculation of actual production rates, petrophysical properties, borehole stability, compaction, subsidence, seismicity, solid control, sand production, geomechanical parameters, hydrocarbon migration, and hydraulic fracturing.The loss of drilling mud or hydrocarbons due to incomplete sealing of the drill holes or unexpected fracturing caused by tectonic stress leads to severe environmental problems and economic losses. In civil engineering and mining, the stability aspect is of equal economic importance, but in addition, the stability of road tunnels and mines is essential to save human life.