The International Conference on Coupled Processes in Fractured Geological Media: Observation, Modeling, and Application (CouFrac) was held in Wuhan, China, November 12-14, 2018.

The International Conference on Coupled Processes in Fractured Geological Media: Observation, Modeling, and Application (CouFrac) was held in Wuhan, China, November 12-14, 2018. Berkeley Lab Senior Scientist Jonny Rutqvist initiated the new conference with the objective of focusing on exciting advances in all areas of coupled processes associated with fractured geological media.

The conference was the result of 13 months of effort and preparation by Berkeley Lab chair Rutqvist and his Berkeley Lab co-chair Mengsu Hu, who were joined in their efforts by Ki-Bok Min (Seoul National University, co-chair), Pengzhi Pan (Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, CAS, co-chair), and 37 organizing committee members. The conference was a great success,  with over 170 participants from 17 countries.

The new ‘Chin-Fu Tsang Coupled Processes Award,’ a new early career award named after Berkeley Lab Senior Scientist Emeritus Chin-Fu Tsang, was given to Adriana Paluszny of Imperial College London, who was chosen from 11 international outstanding nominees. The Chin-Fu Tsang Award, which will be given at all subsequent CouFrac conferences, was created to recognize outstanding contributions from early career geoscientists investigating THMC coupling in fractured rock.

The conference included a panel discussion by Chin-Fu Tsang (Berkeley Lab and Uppsala, Sweden), Ove Stephansson, Nick Barton, Maurice Dusseault, Lanru Jing, and a Distinguished Invited Talk by Nick Barton. It also included seven Keynote Presentations and a Chin-Fu Tsang Award Lecture by Adriana Paluszny of Imperial College. The conference included 24 technical sessions with 96 talks (including 11 invited talks) and a poster session with 42 posters.

Berkeley Lab Senior Scientist Carl Steefel gave a keynote presentation titled Towards Multiscale Coupled Multiphysics Process Modeling of Fractured Rock. In another keynote presentation, Staff Scientist Yves Guglielmi discussed Probing at the Source of Induced Seismicity: A Glimpse into the Future of Couplings between Permeability Creation, Stimulated Fault Area and Aseismic/Seismic slip.

Above: Senior Scientist Carl Steefel addresses the CouFrac conference. Below: Staff Scientist Yves Guglielmi addresses the conference.

The Chin-Fu Tsang Award, which will be given at all subsequent CouFrac conferences, was created to recognize outstanding contributions from early career geoscientists investigating THMC coupling in fractured rock.

A new International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) Commission was established to support subsequent CouFrac conferences.  The Commission and it members were announced at the conference banquet by Commission President Jonny Rutqvist of Berkeley Lab.

CouFrac 2018 is the first conference focusing on coupled processes in fractured media. It successfully provided a platform for international scholars to discuss, communicate and network on the topic. The next CouFrac conference will be held in 2020 in Korea.