Geological materials change their strength properties through time, which has significant implications for the stability of natural and artificial slopes, surface or subsurface excavations, and deep boreholes used for energy production. The Engineering Geology Group at ETH Zurich will organize a conference to address these critical topics in a subsidized event overlooking Lake Maggiore in the Southern Swiss Alps.

Three days of seminars/discussions and one day of integrated excursions will be arranged around five core themes: creep and stress corrosion, long term strength limits, progressive slope failure, environmental drivers, and, subsurface infrastructure. These will allow practitioners and researchers from diverse backgrounds to progress beyond current knowledge barriers, and lay out a framework for the future evaluation of time-dependent weakening and failure of brittle rocks. Participants are encouraged to present recent insights derived from:

  • field observations in both surface and sub-surface environments,
  • laboratory testing,
  • theory and conceptual modelling, and,
  • advanced numerical methods.

Depending on the level of interest, workshops arranged for the final day will demonstrate practical approaches to observing and modelling progressive damage evolution and brittle failure using industry-leading tools and software.

Excursions include first-hand insights into the 2012 Preonzo rockslide site, ongoing fracture development in the 30 year old Bedretto tunnel, and Quarternary fracture development along the Schöllenen Gorge and the Gotthard Pass.

Important Dates:

16 December End of pre-registration, and deadline for early career scientist travel award applications
19 – 23 December   Confirmation of acceptance and invitation for submission of extended abstracts
27 January Deadline for payment and submission of extended abstracts
17 March Deadline for revision of extended abstracts
5-8 June Progressive rock failure conference at CSF Monte Verità
9 June Numerical modelling workshops at CSF Monte Verità

Download the flyer here, or visit for further information