Rock mechanics research requirements for resource recovery, construction, and earthquake hazard reduction



In 1978, the United States National Committee for Rock Mechanics organized a study to review the current state of knowledge and practice of rock mechanics, to identify deficient areas in which research is required to advance understanding of the science of rock mechanics, and to provide a guide to federal and industrial funding of rock mechanics research. The ultimate objective was to disclose the optimal direction for research in the vital areas of energy and resource recovery, construction, and the mitigation of earthquake hazards. The study was focused on those needs affecting energy- and mineral-resource development, construction, and earthquake hazard reduction. The critical areas included: (1) the determination and prediction of porosity, permeability, and fluid flow in situ; (2) better methods of determining shallow and deep in situ stresses; (3) improvement of the ability to map fracture patterns, particularly major fractures and faults, at depth; (4) improvement of the understanding of rock fragmentation processes so as to increase the effectiveness of drilling and excavation systems; (5) increased understanding of the relation of laboratory-measured quantities to in situ conditions; (6) better determinative methods for thermal properties of rock, including fractured rock; and (7) development of numerical models to characterize rock behavior.