Short courses

SHORT COURSE 1 – Applied geology for rock engineering projects


1 GEOSTOCK, France; Geologist Expert in Underground Engineering; Adviser to the Technical Director

2 TRACTEBEL – Coyne et Bellier, France; Expert Hydro Department

Date: 22 May 2018 (all day)

Venue: Multifunctional Complex “Gorny”

Target group: The course is suitable for any engineer/technical working in the field of rock mechanics and rock engineering, wishing to learn or strengthen his knowledge in the process of site investigation and selection of input data for rock engineering projects. It is also especially dedicated to calculators for the selection of input parameters of numerical modelling. Based on geology for explaining the structures of rock masses, the different existing methods are presented and commented, as well as the most common mistakes and the traps to be avoided.

Main goal: The main objective of the short course is to share the extensive knowledge on site investigation methods and design methods of the authors, both with more than 30 years of experience in the field of investigation, design and construction supervision of rock engineering projects. It is designed for helping rock engineers in defining and selecting the values of the most relevant parameters and the methods to be used in modelling and design. Understanding the behaviour of a rock mass needs a basic knowledge of the genesis of rock masses, through geology, and knowledge of its different characteristics, through geotechnical description, in-situ testing and laboratory testing. Coupling with groundwater and ground water circulations is also an important factor considered here. The whole process of design is described, including monitoring for checking the selected design parameters.

Every subject of the course is to be illustrated by various examples from the experience of the authors.

Short course description

The short course will deal first with a recall of basic data of structural geology, presenting the different processes and resulting characteristics of the main types of rocks. Thereby, how to define a suitable site investigation will be presented.

Then, the methods of analysis of site geotechnical conditions of rock masses will be described, including the existing methods of rock mass classification. Interest and limitations of these classifications will be highlighted and illustrated.

How, from site-collected data, a model can be constructed and input data validated will then be exposed with a particular emphasis on the influence of groundwater and groundwater circulation over properties of the rock masses, including how it can be managed.

The second part of the short course will focus on construction follow-up, demonstrating the prime importance of continuous data acquisition during this phase, such as geological mapping of excavation faces. For this purpose, examples will be analysed from real industrial projects. How original design assumptions and design values can be validated and/or updated will also be presented on the basis of case studies.

The end session will describe the monitoring instruments, and how to select the most suitable devices for the validation or updating of design parameters.

A fruitful exchange with the attendees of the short course is expected at the end of the day.

Workshop fees: 45 Euro

(Fees includes attendance of the workshop, water, coffee and tea during the workshop, lunch)

Expected amount of participants: 40

Short Course Language: English


Dr. Philippe VASKOU

GEOSTOCK, France; Geologist Expert in Underground Engineering; Adviser to the Technical Director

After 15 years in the field of dams and power houses as an engineering geologist with Electricité de France (EDF), Philippe VASKOU has been working for 20 years with GEOSTOCK, a company dedicated to underground storage of hydrocarbons. Geologist Expert in Underground Engineering at the Technical Direction of GEOSTOCK, he is in charge of site selections for Clients and definition of preliminary studies for mined caverns. His knowledge of site investigation covers a wide range of geological and geotechnical environments, from sedimentary to metamorphic, plutonic and volcanic rocks, with a huge number of references in Europe and Asia. Linking the geological structure with the geomechanical properties and behaviour of rocks is one of hisfavourite subjects, such as the practical aspects of site investigations to allow quality data for models, on which he has given several lectures for the ISRM and affiliated societies.


Dr. Christophe VIBERT

TRACTEBEL – Coyne et Bellier, France; Expert Hydro Department

Christophe VIBERT is Master of Science, and took his in Ph.D. in Engineering Geology in 1987. He has been working two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Disaster Prevention Research Institute of Kyoto University (Japan), before joining COYNE et BELLIER, Consulting Engineers, France, (renamed TRACTEBEL in 2008). He has been working on a large number of projects of tunnels (water tunnels, rail- road tunnels, mining). He is now Expert in TRACTEBEL, especially dedicated to rock mechanics design of hydropower plants or water transfer schemes (large dams foundation, pressure tunnels and large caverns for underground power plants).He is currently Vice-President of the French Rock Mechanics Committee and an active member of the Design Methodology Commission of the ISRM.




8:30 AM Registration & Welcome P. Vaskou & C. Vibert
9:00 AM Introductory words – Objectives of the Short Course P. Vaskou & C. Vibert
Morning: Site Investigation
9:05 AM9:50 AM How to organise a Site Investigation – Interest and use of a structural approach P. Vaskou
9:50 AM10:35 AM Rock mass classifications for defining input parameters: interest & limitations C. Vibert
10:35 AM10:45 AM Q&A and coffee break
10:45 AM11:30 AM Data, from site investigation to models – Validation of data and conceptual structural model P. Vaskou
11:30 AM12:15 PM Taking into account water in rock engineering: impact on rock mass strength parameters, role of groundwater pressures C. Vibert
12:15 PM12:30 PM Q & A
Afternoon: Excavation / Construction phase
1:30 PM2:15 PM Mapping at face & walls – Rock Mass assessment in industrial projects P. Vaskou
2:15 PM3:30 PM Validation of design hypotheses and selection of design parameters C. Vibert
3:30 PM3:45 PM Q&A and coffee break
3:45 PM4:30 PM Geotechnical monitoring – Adaptations of design parameters during excavation: theory and practice C. Vibert
4:30 PM5:00 PM Conclusions & discussions P. Vaskou & C. Vibert




SHORT COURSE 2 – 2- Dimensional and 3-Dimensional Slope Stability Analysis 

Ph.D. P.Eng. Thamer Yacoub1

1 President. Rocscience, Canada

Date: 22 May 2018 (all day)

Venue: Multifunctional Complex “Gorny”

Target group: Geotechnical/Geological engineers

Main goal: The objective of this course is to provide a background on numerical modelling for slope stability analysis using various Rocscience software tools (Slide, Slide3, RS2, and RS3). Get the most out of the Rocscience slope stability suite through a balanced mixture of lectures and hands-on computer analysis using practical examples collected over the years.

Workshop fees: 45 Euro

(Fees includes attendance of the workshop, water, coffee and tea  during the workshop, lunch)

Expected amount of participants: 40

Short Course Language: English

Dr. Thamer Yacoub

(President. Rocscience, Canada)

Dr. Thamer Yacoub P.Eng. is the President of Rocscience. He has more than 25 years of experience in geomechanics numerical modeling. Thamer has a wide range of experience in several numerical modeling applications, covering topics including slope stability analysis, settlement and foundation analysis, surface and underground stress analysis. He also has extensive experience in probabilistic analysis of slopes.

Thamer received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Civil Engineering in 1986 and 1990 from the University of Baghdad in Iraq. He then obtained his Ph.D. degree in numerical geomechanics from the University of Toronto, Canada in 1999. Thereafter, Thamer joined Rocscience Inc. as a geomechanics specialist in 1999. Thamer was involved in developing the boundary element engine for Examine3D, and the finite element engine for Phase2. He was also the lead developer for the stress analysis in Settle3D. Thamer has extensive experience in fluid flow analysis and developed the groundwater engine for Slide and Phase2 (now known as RS2). More recently, Thamer managed projects related to liquefaction in Settle3D and the implementation of the rigid impact mechanics engine in RocFall.

Ongoing areas of interest include material model development, soil-structure interaction, liquefaction analysis in Settle3D, and three-dimensional finite element modeling in RS3.

Thamer has developed and taught several Rocscience workshops and seminars. He is the primary course instructor for both the Rocscience standard short courses as well as the customized course packages. He has presented courses in North and South America, the Middle East, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. Thamer has also taught several numerical modeling courses for graduate level students around the world.


Module I: Overview of limit-equilibrium methods for slope stability analysis

  • Failure modes of soil and rock slopes
  • Limit-equilibrium methods

Module II: Slope stability analysis (2D & 3D)

  • Model building (Tips and Pitfalls)
  • Material behavior models (anisotropic vs. isotropic material models)
  • Interpretation of results

Module III: Slope stability analysis using the shear strength reduction method (2D & 3D)

  • Application of FEM to slope stability analysis
  • Shear Strength Reduction approach
  • Jointed rock slope failure
  • Deep seated slope failure
  • Blocky rock mass slopes

Module IV: Slope stability analysis for jointed rock mass materials

  • Implicit vs explicit joint modeling
  • Modeling of Discrete Fracture Networks (DFN)


SHORT COURSE 3 – Rock mechanics from a broad view 

Dr.  Ian Gray1

1 Managing Director. Sigra Pty Ltd,  Australia

Date: 22 May 2018 (all day)

Venue: Multifunctional Complex “Gorny”

Target group: Those interested in the geomechanics of rock from a civil, mining or petroleum viewpoint.

Main goal: To present some of the basics of rock mechanics from a cross disciplinary viewpoint and to discuss these in the context of case studies.

Workshop fees: 45 Euro

(Fees includes attendance of the workshop, water, coffee and tea  during the workshop, lunch)

Expected amount of participants: 40

Short Course Language: English

Dr.  Ian Gray

(Managing Director, Sigra Pty Ltd,  Australia)

Dr Ian Gray is the Managing Director of Sigra Pty Ltd a company he set up in 1994. Sigra consult, provide measurement services and manufacture for the civil, mining and petroleum industries with a focus on geomechanics applications. He has a BE (civil) degree from Auckland University (1976), a MAppSc in engineering geology – hydrogeology from UNSW and a PhD on the topic of coal mine outbursts through UNSW, (1983). The PhD was gained while working for Australian Coal Industry Research Laboratories in mines. He  joined the Hong Kong Government as a geotechnical engineer in 1983. In his 6 years in HK he worked on slope stabilisation, piled foundations, tunnels and as the Colony’s hydrogeologist. In 1989 he returned to Australia to put a gas drainage operation into a mine followed by a period with Douglas and Partners, geotechnical consultants. This was followed by four years as Principal Engineer, Mine Safety Research with the Queensland Government. Ian has written some 70 papers on such diverse topics as drilling, pile behaviour and rock mechanics. He also holds several patents.


8:30 AM

Registration & Welcome
9:00 AM Introductory words – Objectives of the Short Course

Morning: Fundamentals and Exploration/Site Investigation.

9:05 AM

9:50 AM

Site geology – lithology and structure – without an understanding of which there can be no progress.

The exploration/site investigation process. Mapping, drilling and geophysics.

Directional drilling and borehole geophysics.

9:50 AM

10:35 AM

Stresses in the ground. Stress measurement by overcoring, hydrofracture and borehole breakout. What can seismic information tell us about stress?

The interpretation of the changing stress regime through time to the present.

10:35 AM

10:45 AM

Q&A and coffee break
10:45 AM

11:30 AM

Ground fluid measurement – pressure, capillary effects, permeability, storage behaviour.

Considering all phases – gas, water and oil.

When do ground fluid measurements matter?

The inadequacy of the packer test. The importance of skin (well bore damage).

Piezometers, single well tests, interference tests and pulsed tests. What to use and when?

11:30 AM

12:15 PM

Rock behaviour – igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary.

Anisotropy, inhomogeneity, non-linearity.

Effective stress in rock masses. The effect of fluids in pore space and in joints.

Failure modes – tensile, shear, buckling, rockbursting, outbursting.

12:15 PM

12:30 PM

Q & A
Afternoon: Design and Case Studies
1:30 PM

2:15 PM

Design – what is being built? How long is it required to stand up for?

What are the models to use in the design process?

2:15 PM

3:30 PM

Examples of exploration and design in sedimentary rock. Tunnels and deep coal mines.
3:30 PM

3:45 PM

Q&A and coffee break
3:45 PM

4:30 PM

Example of a complex moving cut slope in mixed igneous and sedimentary rock.

Drainage investigation and design. Geotechnical monitoring.

4:30 PM

5:00 PM

Conclusions & discussion.