The Fairhurst Files

Charles Fairhurst, Professor Emeritus of the University of Minnesota and a co-founder of Itasca, has more than 60 years of experience in mining rock mechanics and has consulted on rock stability problems for tunnels, dams, mines and excavations throughout the world. He remains active in consulting, and has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineers and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. In 2013, he was inducted into the Légion 'd Honneur of France, with the rank of Officer.

This page will host assorted papers, articles and thoughts from Professor Fairhurst that are relevant to today's geomechanics industry.


Mechanics and Rock, 2016.

Thinking Deeper, ARMA e-Newsletter, Fall 2014.

Emerging Issues in Earth Resources Engineering, The Bridge, Spring 2014.

Scale Effects in Rock. Originally presented at the Lassonde Institute, University of Toronto, September 21, 2009. This presentation requires a Windows Media Player enabled browser.

Cundall, P. (2008) "An approach to rock mass modelling”. Originally presented at the SHIRMS Workshop: FROM ROCK MASS TO ROCK MODEL WORKSHOP, 15 September 2008, 59 pages.

Cundall, P., M.E. Pierce, and D. Mas Ivars (2008) "Quantifying the Size Effect of Rock Mass Strength”. Originally presented at the First Southern Hemisphere International Rock Mechanics Symposium – SHIRMS 2008, September 16, 36 pages.

Technical Report: Geo-Science and Geo-Engineering Research at DUSEL”, D. Elsworth and C. Fairhurst. Based on materials supplied by Coordinators, Working Groups 7, 8, 9: L. Costin, F. Heuze, B.J. McPherson, J.-C. Roegiers, E. Sonnenthal, R.P. Young, 9 October 2006 (59 pages).

Fundamental Considerations Relating To The Strength of Rock. Originally presented at the Colloquium on Rock Fracture, Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany, April 1971. Revised and published in Report of the Workshop on Extreme Ground Motions at Yucca Mountain, August 23-25, 2004, U.S. Geological Survey, USGS Open-File Report 2006-1277. T. C. Hanks et al., Eds. Reston, Virginia: USGS, 2006.

Rock Mechanics and Radioactive Waste Isolation. “One small step for geology, one giant leap for rock mechanics”. Originally presented at the Tenth Congress of the International Society for Rock Mechanics, Sandton, South Africa, September 8-12, 2003.

Closing the Circle: Some comments on design procedures for tunnel supports in rock. Originally published in Proceedings, University of Minnesota 50th Annual Geotechnical Conference (February 2002), pp. 21-84. J. F. Labuz and J. G. Bentler, Eds. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Hard Rock Blasting Developments and Possibilities. Originally published in Proc. Atlas Copco Bench Drilling Days, Symp. Stockholm, Sweden, July 1975.