UMass Geomechanics


UMass Geomechanics research explores how geologic structures develop in the upper crust of the earth.

Fractures within rocks may act as conduits for fluid flow and control the transport of hydrocarbons and groundwater contaminants. Understanding the development of fracture networks in rock is a first order problem for predicting subsurface fluid flow. Additionally, fracture mechanics can be used to understand interaction of seismogenic faults in order to assess seismic hazards.

Professor Cooke and her students investigate three-dimensional rock fractures and faults by comparing natural patterns to numerical simulated fractures and faults. Geologic data collected in the field and laboratories guide computer and analytical modeling of deformation processes. Boundary Element Method modeling and three-dimensional data visualization tools play strategic roles in this research.

3Dinvestigations of active faulting within Southern California

How does the complex fault configurationsof southern California control strain partitioning? Follow this link for recent papers on this topic.


Mechanical Efficiency / Work Budget Analysis / Faults GROW by work optimization
Fault System Evolution

Do fault systems evolve to minimize the total work? Click this link for recent papers on this topic.

stress map of wedge

Scaled physical experiments of fault system evolution

Analog experiments permit us to directly observe evolution of fault systems. Click this link for recent papers on this topic


Fracture growth and termination

How do fractures develop during earthquake rupture propagation and how do fractures terminate at interfaces?

fault damagetermination


3D fold growth and associated fractures

How do fractures develop on growing folds?

sheep mountain from the air ryan at work