Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering was established as a new scientific and engineering discipline in Lisbon in 1966. Since then, this discipline expanded the initial topics of interest and it has become a major discipline of science and engineering. The recent activities of this discipline involved the nuclear waste disposal problem. However, the decrease of constructions in civil engineering and closure of mines due to environmental concerns worldwide resulted in the decrease of interest to Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering. Although this discipline is not restricted to purely engineering works and activities, it is experiencing a hard time. This article presents a brief overview of various aspects of this discipline and it discusses the present circumstances and bottlenecks that this discipline is now facing. And then, an outline of Geomechanics and Geoengineering as the new directions of rock mechanics and rock engineering is given and possible extensions to new and existing problems and scientific and engineering applications are pointed out.


Rock Mechanics was born as a new discipline in 1962 in Salzburg, Austria and officially endorsed in the first congress of International Society for Rock Mechanics in Lisbon in 1966 [1]. When one looks at the content of the proceedings of the first Congress, the spectrum of Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (RMRE) is very wide compared to that these days. In other words, the more emphasis is given to the applications in civil and mining engineering and the relation of rock mechanics with earth science or geosciences is almost non-existent in the last three decades. The recent decrease of civil engineering constructions and mining activities due to economical reasons and environmental concerns in many countries resulted in the decrease of the interest of academia and engineering community in RMRE. The over-emphasis on the nuclear waste disposal problems, which are only relevant to a limited number of countries worldwide, causes further decreases of the interest of academia and engineering community in RMRE.

Rock is the main constituent of the crust of the Earth and its behaviour is the most complex one among all materials in geo-sphere to be dealt by mankind. Furthermore, it contains various discontinuities, which make the thermo-hydromechanical mechanical behaviour of rocks more complex. These simply require higher level of knowledge and intelligence in the community of the RMRE. However, one can find numerous oversimplified procedures handling the various aspects of RMRE and they probably cause the obstruction of the advancement in RMRE. Furthermore, the commercialism of some softwares as an ultimate level of advancement undoubtedly resulted in a further loss of interest of academia and engineering community in RMRE. This article is written with a sole purpose of pointing out some shortcomings, bottlenecks and new directions in RMRE. In other words, the self-criticism in RMRE is now required if this discipline is desired to exist among other major disciplines in decades to come.

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