"Mechanics and Geology"

16 to 20 September 2013 in INNSBRUCK, Austria.


Viewed from the aspect of Continuum Mechanics, Geology is the most fascinating exhibition of large deformations of
solid materials and the accompanying pattern formation. The latter is dominated by the phenomenon of localisation of
deformation, think of shearbands and faults. The scale invariance of the relevant deformation mechanisms implies that the
same phenomena are observed in a large range of scales. What is observed and studied by Soil Mechanics in the small is
also observed by geologist in large scales. It proves (cf. the law of B YERLEE) that sand is an appropriate solid material to
model large deformations of geological strata. This fact is scientifically exploited by the so-called sandbox models, where
geological folding and faulting is modeled in the laboratory with sand. The trapdoor problem, a widespread benchmark
of soil mechanics, exhibits exactly the same patterns as the formation of grabens and ring structures in the lithosphere. An
important feature in Soil Mechanics is the fact that fragmentation of sand bodies is always manifested by the formation of
rigid blocks that slide relative to each other. The analogon in large scale is the motion of continents relative to each other
with the accompanied friction and earthquakes. Also vulcanism has a counterpart in the small scale of Soil Mechanics,
the so-called sand-volcanos.
The above stated effects are highly interesting and can cross-fertilize scientists from various disciplines.

It is desirable to have inspiring lectures to open new views about concepts, challenges, tasks and possibilities. Lengthy
equations or tables would be boring.

Overlapping presentations are not necessarily to be avoided. It is nice to get questions illuminated by different persons.

... Tentative programme

The available time is a full week, Monday to Friday. Taking 4 teaching units each day (09:00-10:30, 11:00-12:30, 14:00-15:30, 16:00-17:30) we have to cover 20 teaching units.
Provided the weather is good we organize a geologic excursion to the Alps, to be guided by Dr. Gunther Heißel. The excursion is scheduled for Thursday, but it would be nice to leave the option for Wednesday, in case the weather forecast
for Thursday is rain.

  Mo Tu We Th Fr
09:00 - 10:30 Kolymbas Lewis Corti Excursion Le Pourhiet
11:00 - 12:30 Marques Lewis Corti Excursion Pomella
14:00 - 15:30 Couples Kaus Engl Excursion Koyi
16:00 - 17:30 Couples Gerya Klinkmüller Excursion ---


  • Constitutive models of granular materials
  • Overall requirements
  • Evalutation
  • Necessity of higher order continua - general assessment
  • Macroscopic vs. microscopic approach
  • Impact on engineering practice
  • Incorporation of rate effects
  • The problem of calibration
  • Outline of modern developments
  • Teaching developments


Each participant is requested to pay in advance a fee of 200 Euro (approximately 261 US$) to cover the cost of accommodation and conference expenses of all participants. In addition 50% of the speakers’ travel expenses will be covered. We also plan to provide some partial support of travel expenses to citizens of the EU not older than 35. The final figures for reimbursment depend on the final list of participants.


In order to guarantee a relaxed meeting with plenty of time for discussion, there will be only three speakers in the morning and three speakers in the afternoon sessions. Thus for the three days there will only be a total of 18 presentations. Note that one day is envisaged for a boat excursion so that participants have additional time for discussion. Please contact Prof. Kolymbas to propose the title and length of your paper. The proceedings will be published by Springer (cf. the proceedings of the previous workshop in Horton „Modern Approaches to Plasticity“, Elsevier 1993)



The workshop will take place in the small village Horton (near Argalasti) situated on the Bay of Volos.

Travelling by airplane

You can arrive at the international airports of Athens or Saloniki. Then take a public bus to Volos. From Volos take a taxi (or a local bus) to Horton (Athens - Horton: 357 km, Saloniki - Horton: 190 km). As an alternative, you can get by plane to the nearby island of Skiathos. The transfer from Skiathos to Horton by boat is very easy. For an interested party arrangements can be made for a bus transfer Athens - Horton.

Travelling by car

You can take the ferryboat from Ancona/Italy and get either to Igoumenitsa or to Patras. The routes to Horton are very picturesque.

Train connections from Athens to Volos

Departures at: 10:50, 15:30

travel duration: 5 hours

telephone railway station of Volos: +30-421-24 0 56

Bus connections from Athens to Volos

Departures at: 07:00, 09:00, 10:30, 12:00, 13:30, 15:00, 16:30, 18:00, 20:00

travel duration: 4,5 hours

telephone bus station of Volos: +30-421-33 2 53

ticket price: 5.100 drachmas

Bus connections from Thessaloniki to Volos

Departures at: 08:00, 10:00, 12:00, 15:30, 16:30, 20:00

travel duration: 3 hours

ticket price: 3.450 drachmas

Taxi service Volos

telephone : +30-421-52 2 22

This information should serve to orientation. Departure times and prices can be changed.


Participants wishing to add some days of vacation after the conference will easily find rooms. The prices for a double room (without breakfast) are ca. 25 to 40 US$ per day.


Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

map near horton forest
map (430 kB) Near Horton (150 kB) Forest on Mount Pilion (139 kB)
pilion beach sunset
Horton (164 kB) Melani-Beach (near Horton) (82 kB) Sunset in Horton (103 kB)



caution 30. November 1998


Professor Dimitrios Kolymbas
Institute of Geotechnics and Tunnelling
Innsbruck University
Techniker Str. 13
A-6020 Innsbruck, AUSTRIA

fax: +43/512/507-2296