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Abstract

There is ample testimony that the demands for underground excavation will increase significantly in the future. The National Academy of Sciences Report on Rapid Excavation (1968) projects an expenditure for underground excavation of $69 billion during the next two decades. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports on tunneling (1970) estimate that the world-wide demands for tunneling will double during the next 10 years. Because of these increasing demands, there is a special incentive for improving all phases of underground excavation techniques. The phase of this problem to which I will address myself is, What will be the role of engineering geology and the engineering geologist in improving the underground excavation process? In discussing this role I will presume that the engineering geologist is familiar with, and can utilize, those rock mechanics and geophysical techniques that have been developed for assessing rock quality.

In the last few years there have been a number of conferences and symposia on tunneling and rapid excavation. If the proceedings of these meetings are reviewed it would appear that the greatest concern and indicated need for research have been in developing improved methods for fragmenting rock and in transporting of muck and ground support materials-that is, in the development of improved equipment. In fact, mining systems are envisioned in which not only the mining machine will operate continuously, but fragmented rock will be transported from the face and the materials for ground support will be transported to the face in a continuous operation.

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