Principles of Rock Mechanics



Imagine for a moment that you are a field structural geologist, and you have just realized that your star graduate student does not know how to estimate the failure strength of intact rock at 10 km depth in a normal faulting environment. Or perhaps you are a geophysicist with graduate students modeling mantle convection who, as you come to find out, do not know what a dislocation is. You might decide that your students need to take a course in basic rock mechanics, but, and this may be easiest to imagine, you are the only staff member in your department available to teach such a course.

If you are developing an introductory course in rock mechanics or you have been teaching such a course without a suitable text, this new book by Ruud Wiejermars was written specifically for you and your students. Principles of Rock Mechanics is a textbook to a one-semester course for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. There are 13 chapters, a math review section, and the obligatory introduction and final overview chapters. Each chapter is designed to be covered in two 50-minute lectures and one laboratory session. Following a formal introduction to the topic, the subsequent seven chapters serve as an introduction to the physical concepts and processes; physical quantities in rock mechanics, force and pressure, stress, elasticity, brittle failure, and ductile creep, taking the students to midterm. An unusual and welcome feature appears at the midsemester point—a math review of notation and associated concepts: differentiation of vectors and scalars, differential equations, tensors, matrices and determinants, and complex variables. This review provides an indication of the rigor to follow.