Rock Geomechanics

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rock Geomechanics


(the mechanics of rocks), the science of the mechanical properties of rock masses and of the mechanical processes taking place in them during mining work. Rock geomechanics combines geomechanics and mining science, and its main purpose is the better control of rock pressure.

The primary tasks of rock geomechanics are to study the stability and deformation characteristics of rock masses in which mining work is being done and to establish the principles of the occurrence and development of stress-deformation fields in mining areas. Rock geomechanics is related to the mechanics of the medium being deformed (continuous and discrete), to geology and engineering geology, and to geophysics and the other earth sciences. Of the technical disciplines, it is related to mining science, especially to the development of mineral deposits and to construction mechanics. Because rock geomechanics examines the effect on rock masses of both natural and production factors, it is a broader discipline than geomechanics. However, in terms of the scale of the objects studied rock geomechanics yields to the latter because it studies specific limited areas of the earth’s crust. In rock geomechanics analytic, laboratory, and full-scale methods are combined. Rock geomechanics studies the control of rock pressure, the interaction of the supporting sets of mine excavations with rock masses, the stability of underground and open-pit mining excavations, the displacement of rock strata and the earth’s crust under the influence of mining work, and questions dealing with the prevention of mine shocks and sudden outbursts of coal and gas.

Although it has been developing since ancient times, rock geomechanics became a scientific discipline only in the 19th century. Basic studies in rock geomechanics have been conducted by a number of Soviet scientists, including M. M. Protod’iakonov, Sr. (1907, 1930), P. M. Tsimbarevich (1934, 1951), V. D. Slesarev (1948), S. G. Avershin (1948, 1955), and K. V. Ruppeneit (1954, 1961). Abroad, important work has been done by G. Spackeler (Germany, 1928; GDR, 1954), R. Fenner (Chile, 1938), F. Mohr (FRG, 1946, 1963), and H. Labasse (Belgium, 1949, 1951). In the period of the rapid development of the mining industry from the 1940’s to the 1960’s rock geomechanics established the scientific principles that led to greater mine safety and increased labor productivity.


Man’kovskii, G. I. “Gornaia geomekhanika i teoriia sostoiania gor-nykh porod.” Vesln. AN SSSR, 1963, no. 5.
Krupennikov, G. A. “O napravleniakh i postanovke analiticheskikh issledovanii ν mekhanike gornykh porod.” Fiziko-tekhnicheskie problemy razrabotki poleznykh iskopaemykh, 1966, no. 2.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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