Director, Geological Engineering
Despite improvements in the recognition, prediction and mitigation of complex rock engineering problems, unexpected rock mass responses and/or failures still exact a heavy social, economic and environmental toll. Ever increasingly, experts are called upon to analyse and predict - assessing risk, rock mass response, potential modes of failure and possible preventive/remedial measures. The ability to do so, however, is limited by the phenomenological nature of most analyses, which tend to be descriptive and qualitative thereby providing limited insight into the underlying processes and mechanisms.
My research focuses on these deficiencies with the primary objective being the advancement and integration of state-of-the-art numerical modelling techniques with innovative geotechnical field measurements. The scope of this work is relevant to many problems relating to both surface and underground rock engineering problems, with emphasis being directed towards massive rock slope failures, both in the context of natural hazards (e.g. massive rockslides) and engineered rock slopes (e.g. open pit mine slopes), as well as tunnelling, underground mining, petroleum geomechanics (hydrofracing) and nuclear waste disposal.
The long-term vision of this work is to improve our ability to effectively assess, monitor and predict rock mass behaviour and the potential for catastrophic failure - both spatially (in three-dimensions) and temporally (i.e. 4-D). To do so, the short-term goals focus on the utilization of advanced numerical modelling techniques to examine and better understand complex rock mass failure processes and their dynamic evolution over time (e.g. progressive failure). Additional research directions include the hydro-mechanical behaviour of brittle fracture systems in crystalline rock masses, the integration of geological, geotechnical and geophysical field investigations, in situ testing and monitoring, and laboratory testing (acoustic emission).
UBC - Professor (2011-present)
UBC - Associate Professor (2006-2011)
UBC - Assistant Professor (2004-2006)
ETH Zurich - Senior Research Associate and Lecturer (1998-2003)
University of Saskatchewan - PhD Geological Engineering (1995-1998)