Rock mechanics is a theoretical and applied science of the mechanical behaviour of rock and rock masses; compared to geology, it is that branch of mechanics concerned with the response of rock and rock masses to the force fields of their physical environment.
Rock mechanics forms part of the broader subject of geomechanics, which is concerned with the mechanical responses of all geological materials, including soils. Rock mechanics, as applied in engineering geology, mining, petroleum, and civil engineering practice, is concerned with the application of the principles of engineering mechanics to the design of the rock structures generated by mining, drilling, reservoir production, or civil construction activity such as tunnels, mining shafts, underground excavations, open pit mines, oil and gas wells, road cuts, waste repositories, and other structures built in or of rock. It also includes the design of reinforcement systems, such as rock bolting patterns.
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