For the engineering design of underground structures in rock masses, knowledge of the natural in situ stress state is generally required–as basic information and as input to numerical programs supporting the design. This review paper covers the relevant key points, including the nature of in situ stress, the relation between structural geology and rock mechanics and engineering, rock stress measurement/estimation, the ISRM Suggested Methods for rock stress estimation, rock stress compilations, the influence of free surfaces on rock stress (including the Excavation Disturbed Zone and rock spalling), and other perturbations of the rock stress field, including a mention of the effect of natural voids in karst regions.

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