Paul Young

Professor Emeritus and Senior Fellow Massey College

W.M. Keck Chair of Seismology and Rock Mechanics Emeritus

Formerly Vice-President, Research and Innovation (2007-2014)
University of Toronto








Professor Paul Young (CivMin) has been named a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, recognizing his pioneering work in rock mechanics and geoengineering. (Courtesy: Paul Young)


Professor Young’s research group carries out fundamental and applied research at the interface between seismology and rock mechanics.  We are interested in rock fracture physics, earthquake processes, geophysics and geomechanics.  The group currently consists of post-doctoral researchers and PhD students.  The group has operated since the 1980s with  numerous alumni now NASA astronauts, academics, seismologists, rock mechanics and geotechnical engineers.  They work for government, natural radwaste agencies, mining and petroleum companies and are involved in fundamental science and engineering consulting.

Professor Young was interviewed by the International Innovation publication about Seismic Sounds. In this discussion, Prof Young describes how the sounds that different rocks make under stress enable him and his group to see the processes that lead to earthquakes as they unfold in the laboratory. Read the full interview with Prof. Young.


Research is conducted through laboratory experiments using state of the art rock testing and monitoring equipment, and through developing and using sophisticated geomechanical modelling computer software packages.  We also have extensive in situ microseismic datasets recorded at the Underground Research Laboratory in Canada where experiments were conducted to study induced fracturing and rock-fluid interactions.  Additionally, the group applies acoustic emission and ultrasonic monitoring techniques to concrete structures to further understand the load-induced failure process.


Education, Awards and Honours

  • 2018 - FREng (Fellow, Royal Academy of Engineering, UK)
  • 2016 - FIMMM (Fellow, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, UK)
  • 2012 - QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal, Canada
  • 2011 - FAAAS (Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, USA)
  • 2009 - Willet G. Miller Gold Medal, Royal Society of Canada
  • 2007 - FRSC (Fellow, Royal Society of Canada)
  • 2005 - John A. Franklin Award for Rock Mechanics by the Canadian Geotechnical Society
  • 1986 - C.Eng. (Chartered Professional  Engineer)
  • 1983 - FGS (Fellow, Geological Society of London)
  • 1983 - C. Geol. (Chartered Professional Geologist)
  • 1981 - Ph.D. (Council National Academic Awards, U.K.)
  • 1976 - Postrgraduate Cert. Ed. (University of London, U.K.)
  • 1974 - M.Sc. (University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, U.K.)
  • 1973 - B.Sc. Hons (University of London, U.K.)


Acoustic Emission Source Parameters

At the largest scale, fractures give rise to volcanoes and earthquakes and at engineering scales they form pathways for fluids to flow through and reduce the strength of rock. For these reasons, the study of rock fractures has been a major focus of research in the mining, petroleum and civil engineering industries for decades. To […]

Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical Properties of Cobourg Limestone

  The demand for underground radioactive waste repositories makes  the study of thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) processes in rocks an increasingly important topic. In collaboration with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) we  conducted triaxial deformation experiments on Cobourg limestone, an argillaceous sedimentary rock found in Southern Ontario, Canada. Experiments were conducted at a constant confining pressure of 12.5 MPa where […]

True-Triaxial Testing

The heart of the Rock Fracture Dynamics Facility is a technologically advanced true-triaxial computer controlled rock deformation system with integral permeability measurement and geophysical imaging capability. For the first time, it is possible to carry out multi-axis thermo-mechanical, geophysical, and hydrological measurements essentially simultaneously on rock specimens ranging from hard rock such as granite to weak rocks undergoing […]

Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing is the initiation and propagation of a fracture by means of fluid pressurization. Hydraulic fracturing has grown in popularity over the past couple of decades in response to increasing public demand for energy alternatives, the discovery of large oil and gas reservoirs in North America and the growing demand for minerals. The objective […]

Rock Physics and Geomechanics Research Group

Mehdi Sehizadeh

PhD Student

Maria Tibbo

Post-Doctoral Researcher

William Shenghua Ye

PhD Student

Research Topics

  • Rock fracture dynamics: A combination of lab studies and numerical modelling to yield insights into brittle fracture processes
  • Induced seismicity: an investigation of relationships between rock damage, rock integrity and seismicity in-situthrough active and passive acoustic studies and advanced data analysis and interpretation techniques
  • Earthquake and fault mechanics: Simulation of unstable stick-slip behaviour in the lab and on computers - accompanied by detailed micostructural analyses of fault zones
  • Rock damage: understanding the evolution of rock damage under different mechanical, thermal and hydraulic stress conditions using continuous acoustic recording and numerical simulations.

Prospective Research Students

I am not taking on any new graduate students at this time.


To see the list of publications Please Click Here.


Paul Young
Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering
University of Toronto
35 St. George St.
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M5S 1A4


Office: MB129

Tel: 416-978-5252
Fax: 416-978-6813

Email: paul.young followed by