ENGE412-17X (C) General non-calendar-based 2017

Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 3 April 2017
End Date: Sunday, 7 May 2017
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 7 April 2017
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 28 April 2017


This course focuses on description and representation of a rock mass, stress and strain in a rock mass and deformation and failure of a rock mass. These are applied to rock slope stability analysis and design of underground excavations.

Learning Outcomes

A student completing this course will be able to:
1. Apply the principles of stress, strain, elasticity, and plasticity to intact rocks in the laboratory as a demonstration of understanding of these fundamental principles.
2. Collect sufficient discontinuity and rock mass data in the field to transfer the data into a description of the physical and mechanical characteristics of the discontinuities for interpretation of their relationship with stress, strain, elasticity, and plasticity.
3. Translate the output from laboratory testing and field data collection into inputs for selecting and using the appropriate analytical tools for different slope stability scenarios, and make recommendations for stabilisation based on the results of the stability analyses.
4. Comprehend the inter-relationships between given input parameters for different underground excavation scenarios by optimisation of mitigation and stabilisation techniques with project costs and functionality.
5. Evaluate the likely behaviours, select the appropriate tools for analysis, and suggest the appropriate mitigation techniques for a given range of stress, rock mass and scale conditions.
6. Develop a working knowledge of laboratory, field and analytical methodologies for rock mechanics through exposure during assessment in order to comprehend the methodologies and their limitations to be able to validly interpret their outputs given their limitations, and engage in problem solving of rock mechanics problems by developing a working relationship between engineering geologists and civil engineers.


(1) ENCN353 or (2) MATH101 or MATH102 or MATH103 and (3) approval from the Head of Department of Geological Sciences


ENGE 485

Timetable Note

Course Format

This course is delivered in two 2-day and one 1-day blocks, as well as self-directed learning through online course material (see schedule below). There are two 1-hour laboratories in groups (see schedule below) and a local field trip. In-class Masteries are assessed. The breakdown of course content is as follows:

Class Schedule

Block  # Date  -  Topics  -  Lecture  -  Mastery

10 April  -  Fundamentals of rock mechanics self directed learning and course preparation  -  Self-directed principals of stress and strain study and Mastery
11 April  -  Intact Rock  -  Stress and Strength Mastery
Discontinuities  -  Discontinuities Mastery and stereographic analysis
12 April  -  Rock mass classification  -  Rock mass classification Mastery
Halswell quarry rock mass classification field trip
13 April  -  Rock mechanics group labs and work on quarry stability project

Block 2
19 April  -  Group work on quarry stability project
20 April  -  Rock mass strength and deformation - Rock mass strength and deformation Mastery  -  Rock slope stability analysis  -  Rock slope stability analysis (computer lab)
21 April  -  In-situ and induced stress  -  Stress and strain in three-dimensional space Mastery  -  In-situ and induced stress lab

Block 3
24 - 27 April  -  Podcasts and group work on quarry stability project
28 April  -  Induced stress and behaviour Mastery  -  Excavation and support Mastery  -  Synthesis and review
29 April – 5 May  -  Individual work on take home exam

Course Coordinator

Marlene Villeneuve


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Quizzes and Mastery Exercises 15% Quizzes and Mastery Exercises
Quarry Stability Project 50% Quarry Stability Project
Take Home Exam 35% Rock mass behaviour synthesis and evaluation take-home exam

Quizzes and Mastery Exercises  -  15% (throughout course)
Quarry stability project  -  50 % (due 27 April 5 pm)
Rock mass behaviour synthesis and evaluation take-home exam  -  35% (due 5 May 9 am)

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Brady, B. H. G. , Brown, E. T; Rock mechanics : for underground mining ; 3rd ed. ; Springer, 2006.

Hencher, S; Practical Rock Mechanics ; CRC Press, 2015.

Hoek, Evert,1933- , Brown, E. T; Underground excavations in rock ; The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, 1980.

Hoek, Evert,1933- , Kaiser, Peter Konrad, Bawden, W. F; Support of underground excavations in hard rock ; Balkema, 1995.

Hudson, J. A.1940- , Harrison, John P; Engineering rock mechanics : an introduction to the principles ; 1st ed; Pergamon, 1997.

Jaeger, J. C.1907- , Cook, Neville G. W., Zimmerman, Robert; Fundamentals of rock mechanics ; 4th ed; Blackwell, 2007.

Muir Wood, David,1949-; Geotechnical modelling ; Spon Press, 2004.

Wyllie, D C; May, C W; Rock Slope Engineering ; 1st Edition; Spon Press, 2004.

Required Text:
The following book is required for this course:
Hoek, E. (2007) Practical Rock Engineering. Available online at: https://www.rocscience.com/education/hoeks_corner or as a printed document from the course coordinator for a nominal fee to offset printing costs.

Additional Course Outline Information

Graduate Profiles

Graduate Profile:  Professional Masters in Engineering Geology (PMEG)

A graduate of a PMEG is expected to be able to:

Personal Attributes
 Comprehend, and apply knowledge of, accepted principles underpinning widely applied good practice for professional engineering geology.  
 Be acquainted with research philosophy and methodology
 Have an attitude of critical enquiry when acting in a professional capacity.
 Be knowledgeable and forthright about the dependence of engineering on geology and geomorphology.
 Be introduced to legal requirements, regulatory issues, and special engineering geological requirements that may exist for a particular jurisdiction.
 Be able to construct an appropriate engineering geological model, taking into account available data and the engineering requirements.
 Understand the concepts of engineering geological uncertainty and geotechnical risk.
 Be experienced in applying this knowledge to analysis of actual engineering situations
 Be able to draw on a wide range of concepts, knowledge and ideas in providing engineering geological input to engineering projects
 Understand the requirements for appropriate, accurate and comprehensive communication, and for ethical responsibility, on the part of engineering geology professionals.
 Recognise the reasonably foreseeable social, cultural and environmental effects of professional engineering geological activities generally.
Interactive Attributes
 Work collaboratively on tasks
 Communicate effectively both in written and spoken English
 Carry out fieldwork and reporting in engineering geology

Graduate Profile:  Master of Science (MSc)

A graduate of a MSc is expected to have the personal and interactive attributes of students with PMEG with the following additional:

Personal Attributes
 Engage in rigorous intellectual analysis, criticism and problem solving
 Understand, evaluate, access and critically review new information, including findings and discussions in the literature
 Research, analyse, evaluate, and argue from evidence
 Demonstrate mastery of sophisticated theoretical subject matter

Current Course Options
Professional Masters in Engineering Geology
The PMEG programme comprises the eight papers plus dissertation taken over one full-time calendar year, or as part–time basis courses and dissertation as approved by the Head of Department. PMEG students may transfer to the MSc if they achieve a B+ average in their eight PMEG papers.

MSc in Engineering Geology
Subject to a B+ average grade being achieved in the eight PMEG papers, a BSc(Hons) or a BE(Hons), students may proceed to a thesis in Engineering Geology, and this is normally of 12 months duration for the award of Honours (ENGE 690). The thesis proposal for MSc must be approved by Graduate Studies prior to enrolment.  The MSc thesis may be taken part-time with the approval of the Head of Geological Sciences. Intending MSc students should be aware that there is presently a limitation of six (6) enrolments, and that places will normally be allocated on the basis of prior academic merit.

Entry Requirements
Students wishing to enter the PMEG programme should normally have achieved a B+ average grade in their undergraduate studies for preferred entry; students with B average grade will be on a waiting list until 3 weeks prior to commencement of ENGE 410. There are required field courses (GEOL 240, 241, 351, 352 or equivalent), and at least 60 additional points in GEOL 300 courses. There is also a requirement for 15 points of MATH 100-level and 15 points of STAT 100-level courses, and students should consult the University Calendar for full details. Intending MSc students should consult with the HOD in the first instance.

Marks and Grades
The Department of Geological Sciences uses the following scale to convert marks into grades:
90–100 A+ 70 – 74 B 50 – 54 C-
85 – 89 A 65 – 69 B- 40 – 49 D
80 – 84 A- 60 – 64 C+ < 40 E
75 – 79 B+ 55 – 59 C
The Department of Geological Sciences reserves the right to adjust this mark/grade conversion, when deemed necessary.

Late Work
It is the policy for this course that late work is not accepted. Or, late work should be accompanied with a detailed explanation of why the work is late. The work will be marked and marks will be subtracted for each day the work is late. Days late include weekend and holidays.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities should speak with someone at Disability Resource Service; email: disabilities@canterbury.ac.nz

Policy on Dishonest Practice
Plagiarism, collusion, copying and ghost writing are unacceptable and dishonest practices.
• Plagiarism is the presentation of any material (text, data, figures or drawings, on any medium including computer files) from any other source without clear and adequate acknowledgement of the source.
• Collusion is the presentation of work performed in conjunction with another person or persons, but submitted as if it has been completed only by the names author(s).
• Copying is the use of material (in any medium, including computer files) produced by another person(s) with or without their knowledge and approval.
• Ghost writing is the use of another person(s) (with or without payment) to prepare all or part of an item submitted for assessment.

In cases where dishonest practice is involved in tests or other work submitted for credit, the student will be referred to the University Proctor. The instructor may choose to not mark the work.

Reconsideration of Grades
Students should, in the first instance, speak to the course co-ordinator about their marks. If they cannot reach an agreeable solution, students should then speak to the Head of the Geological Sciences Department. Students can appeal any decision made on their final grade. You can apply at the Registry to appeal the final grade within 4 weeks of the end of the semester. Be aware that there are time limits for each step of the appeals process.

Special Consideration
If you feel that illness, injury, bereavement or other critical circumstances beyond your control has prevented you from completing an item of assessment or affected your performance, you may apply for special consideration.  Applications for special consideration should be submitted via the Examinations Office website http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/exams/ within five days of the assessment. Where an extension may be granted for an assessment, this will be decided by direct application to the course co-ordinator and an application to the Examinations Office may not be required. Special consideration is not available for items worth less than 10% of the course and/or the following items of assessment:
Students prevented by extenuating circumstances from completing the course after the final date for withdrawing, may apply for special consideration for late discontinuation of the course. Applications must be submitted to the Examinations Office within five days of the end of the main examination period for the semester.

Missing of Tests
In rare cases a student will not be able to sit a test. In such cases, the student should consult with the course co-ordinator or the Head of the Department of Geological Sciences to arrange alternative procedures. This must be done well in advance of the set date for the test.

Academic Liaison
Dr Ben Kennedy (email: ben.kennedy@canterbury.ac.nz) is Chairperson of the Postgraduate Liaison Committee. A student representative is appointed to the Liaison Committee at the start of the semester. Please feel free to talk to Ben Kennedy or the student representative about any problems or concerns that you might have, although as a matter of courtesy you would normally also talk to the course lecturer.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $993.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All ENGE412 Occurrences

  • ENGE412-17X (C) General non-calendar-based 2017