Geomechanics Working Group
NeSS 2002: International Workshop on Neutrino and Subsurface Science
September 19-21, 2002
Washington, D.C.

Group Leader/Coordinator:
Herb Wang
Department of Geology and Geophysics
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin USA

Goals of Geomechanics Science Working Group:

The Geomechanics Science Working Group is working together to identify potential geomechanics studies (and associated societal benefits) that may be performed in an underground laboratory or observatory. The term "laboratory" implies a place that scientific experiments and studies may be performed, while "observatory" implies that processes that change through time will be observed. The Geomechanics Working group is working from the premise that a formal Geomechanics Observatory and Laboratory will provide tangible scientific opportunities not available by other means, and that significant societal benefits may result. Geomechanics is the study of forces and deformations in the earth as they exist in the present and as they can be reconstructed through geologic history. The formation of fractures, folds, and faults are coupled with fluid flow and geochemical reactions. These processes can lead to ore concentrations, influence regional hydrogeology, and affect construction conditions within the rock mass. An important goal of geomechanics research is to understand the stress and deformation history of the rock mass and how that history affects fracture patterns that govern the flow of groundwater and transport of chemical species. Obtaining the physical and engineering properties of rock masses from geophysical remote sensing is necessary for resource exploration and construction applications. The central outstanding issue that cross cuts between geomechanics and hydrogeology is the scale dependence of fractures. Therefore, the priorities of the geomechanics science plan are to elucidate the state of stress and stress history of the Homestake mine, obtain a three-dimensional fracture map of the mine, and perform active thermal stress tests within the mine. Integral to scientific goals are proposed programs to foster education and training for future generations of scientists and teachers from K-12 to visiting researchers, focusing on those groups that have remained underrepresented throughout the 20th century.

The purpose of the NeSS 2002 Workshop is to link and integrate the research activities of the geohydrology scientific community with the physics community at the national underground laboratory. We will be holding several working sessions (agenda linked here) during the NeSS 2002 Workshop. If you would like to participate in these sessions, please notify Dr. Herb Wang ( via email. The current agenda begins on Thursday afternoon with a 90-minute parallel session, including brief10 minute presentations, followed by an extended discussion period. This will be followed on Friday with working sessions designed to integrate science plans or proposals from the other earth science working groups, including geomicrobiology, geochemistry, geohydrology engineering, geomechanics science and engineering, and geophysics. On Saturday, an executive summary and draft proposal for the Earth Science portion of the National Underground Laboratory will be presented.

More information regarding the evolving geohydrology science plan may be found here.