Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
PELLS, P.J.N.. What happened to the mechanics in rock mechanics and the geology in engineering geology?. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2008, vol.108, n.6, pp.309-323. ISSN 2411-9717.
A good thing is becoming a bad thing. Rock mass classification systems, that are so excellent for communications between engineers and geologists, and that can be valuable in categorizing project experience, are emasculating engineering geology and rock mechanics. Some engineering geologists have been sucked into thinking that Q and RMR values are all that is needed for engineering purposes, and seem to have put aside what can be learned from structural geology and geomorphology. Many rock mechanics engineers seem to have forgotten the scientific method. This paper attempts to redress the situation by showing how mechanics can be used in rock engineering to design with a similar rigour to that used in the fields of structural engineering, hydraulics and soil mechanics. It also attempts to remind practitioners of what can be achieved by skilled engineering geology.