Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Jonny Rutqvist

Jonny Rutqvist

Jonny Rutqvist

Staff Scientist

Hydrogeology Department



Phone: 510-486-5432

Fax: 510-486-5686


Biographical Summary

I grew up in Kallax, a small village outside my hometown Luleå in northern Sweden, some 200 km below the Arctic Circle. I went to the Luleå University of Technology where I completed my Masters and Technical Licentiate degrees in Civil Engineering and Rock Mechanics under the supervision of Prof. Ove Stephansson. In 1991, I moved with Prof. Stephansson and a few other Ph.D. students to the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm to start the new Division of Engineering Geology. During my Ph.D. studies, worked with coupled processes modeling of fractured rock masses funded by the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, and had the opportunity to spend some of this time at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, California. After receiving my Ph.D. at the Royal Institute of Technology in 1995, I returned the LBNL’s Earth Sciences Division for a Post-doc to work with Chin-Fu Tsang and Jahan Noorishad on coupled processes modeling. I am still at the LBNL, became a Geological Scientist in 1998, and was promoted to Staff Scientist level in 2004.

My research is currently focused on modeling of coupled thermal-hydraulic-mechanical-chemical (THMC) processes in geological media. I enjoy to develop and apply coupled modeling to a wide range of geoscientific and geoengineering applications, including geological sequestration of CO2,  enhanced geothermal systems, gas hydrate bearing sediments, geological disposal of spent nuclear fuel, underground compressed air energy storage, and shale gas extraction. I really enjoy using coupled modeling for interpretation of field data to try to build a conceptual understanding and to explain the underlying coupled processes in complex geological systems.

Research Activities

Research on coupled thermal, hydraulic, mechanical and chemical (THMC) processes in geological media with special emphasis on the hydromechanical (HM) coupling. The coupled phenomena in fractured rock, soil or clay are studied through in situ field experiments and numerical modeling of those experiments. Two numerical simulators have been developed 1) ROCMAS—a finite element code for modeling of coupled THM processes in unsaturated and saturated medium, 2) TOUGH-FLAC—a simulator using sequential coupling techniques for analysis of coupled THM processes under multi-phase flow conditions. Currently expanding through collaborative efforts into coupled THMC processes with coupling of FLAC to the reactive transport simulator TOUGHREACT. Current special research topics:

  • Deep underground injection of CO2: rock mechanical aspects and coupled HM processes.
  • Coupled THM and THMC processes around nuclear waste repositories: Unsaturated/ saturated bentonite and fractured rock systems, two phase flow conditions, stress and chemically induced permeability changes in fractured rocks and swelling of bentonite. 
  • Coupled THM and THMC processes in geothermal reservoirs: Injection/production induced seismicity and surface deformations.
  • Coupled geomechanical modeling of hydrate-bearing sediments: Mechaincal stability of hydrate-bearing sediments during gas production.
  • Hydraulic injection in rock fractures: Coupled HM phenomena during well testing and hydraulic fracturing stress measurements.
  • Performed or are performing coupled thermohydromechanical analysis of the following major sites and field experiments:
  • Coupled reservoir-geomechanical modeling of the In Sala industrial CO2 storage site, Algeria (2007-present).
  • Coupled THM analysis of induced seismicity at The Geysers Geothermal field, California (2006-Present).
  • Hydromechanical modeling of major fault reactivation during the 1960 Matsushiro Earthquake Swarm at Matsushiro Japan (2006-2007).
  • Hydraulic injection tests and mechanical measurements at the Coaraz fractured rock site in France (2004-Present).
  • Drift Scale Test (DST), Yucca Mountain, Nevada (1997-Present). A high temperature (above water boiling) heater test conducted in highly fractured unsaturated rock
  • Full Scale Engineering Barriers Experiment (FEBEX), Grimsel Test Site, Switzerland (1997-2003). A large-scale heater test in a bentonite-buffer and rock system.
  • Kamaishi Mine heater test, Japan (1995-1998): A heater test in a bentonite-buffer and fractured rock system
  • Hydraulic injection test in a 1700-meter deep borehole at the Laxemar site, Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden (1995-1996): Injection tests for in situ determination of normal stiffness of natural fractures and for studies of coupled HM effects during hydraulic stiffness measurements.


  • Docent, Engineering Geology, 2000, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. The Swedish Academic title Docent corresponds to the level of English Senior Lecturer (UK) or Associate Professor (US).
  • Ph.D. Engineering Geology, 1995, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
  • Technical Licentiate, Rock Mechanics, 1990, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • M.Sc. Geotechnology, 1988, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Professional Experience

  • 1998-present: Geological Scientist (Staff Scientist level since 2004), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California.
  • 1996-1998       Post-doctoral research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,  Berkeley, California
  • 1991-1995       Research and teaching at Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1988-1990       Research and teaching at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • 1986-1987       Seasonal employment as Rock Mechanics Consultant at LKAB’s mining company, Malmberget, Sweden.

International Research Collaborations

  • 2003-Present:  Collaboration with a number of international researchers on the development of linked TOUGH and FLAC simulations for coupled reservoir-geomechanical analysis under multi-phase flow conditions.
  • 2009-Present:  Collaboration with Taisei Corporation, Japan for modeling of coupled geomechanical processes and ground surface deformations associated with underground CO2 injection using the TOUGH-FLAC.
  • 2009-Present:  Collaboration with Taisei Corporations, Japan for modeling of coupled THM processes in engineered barrier systems using TOUGH-FLAC and the Barcelona Basic Model for unsaturated clay behavior in the Japanese nuclear waste program. 
  • 2006-2007:  Joint research project on 1960s Matsushiro Earthquake Swarm as a natural analogue for CO2 storage and leakage with Mizuho Info and Research Institute, funded Ministry of Trade and Industry Ministry (METI) of  Japan. 
  • 2004-Present:  Collaboration with the Geoscience Azur Laboratory, and University of Nice, France for modeling of coupled processes at the Coaraz fractured rock site in Southern France. 
  • 1991-Present:  Active in a Research Team as well as Task Leader for the international collaboration project DECOVALEX I, II, III, THMC and 2011 (Development of COupled models and their VAlidation against EXperiments in nuclear waste isolation). The project currently involves over 40 Research and Funding agencies in 9 countries. Have been a Research Team on the behalf of Funding Organizations in Sweden, USA and U.K.  
  • 2000-2002:  Active as a Research Team in an international code comparison project for numerical models related to geological sequestration of greenhouse gases. The project involves 10 Research Organizations in 7 countries.  Also task coordinator for Test Case on hydromechanical aspects.
  • Technical Secretary and task coordinator of the international collaboration projects DECOVALEX I and II (Development of COupled models and their VAlidation against EXperiments in nuclear waste isolation). The work included arrangements of international workshops, technical coordination and reporting of work conducted by 10 Research Teams in 8 contras.

Awards and Other Professional Activities

  • 2009:  American Rock Mechanics Association Applied Rock Mechanics Research Award for work reported in your paper entitled “Fractured rock hydromechanics: from borehole testing to solute transport and CO2 storage” - by the Geological Society, London.
  • 2007:  Faculty opponent for Ph.D. defense on “Thermomechanics of Swelling Unsaturated Porous Media-Compacted bentonite clay in spent fuel disposal”, at Helsinki University of Technology, Finland.
  • 2007-2008:  Member of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) review team as an expert on thermo-hydro-mechanical evolution associated with the Finish nuclear waste program.
  • 2006-Present:  Member of the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate (SKI) review team as an expert on thermo-hydro-mechanical evolution and rock mechanics associated with the Swedish nuclear waste program.
  • 2003-2007:  Research Area Leader on Geomechanical Modeling. Department of Geophysics, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
  • 2006:  American Rock Mechanics Associations Rock Mechanics Award for paper on “Coupled thermal-hydrological-mechanical analysis of the Yucca Mountain Drift Scale Test”.
  • 2005:  Opponent (French “Repporteur”) for Ph.D. defense on “Coupled Hydromechanical Processes in Heterogeneous Fractures Networks”, at University of Nice, France.
  • 2004:  Recognition of commitment of performance excellence in contributing to the Regulatory Integration Team effort of the Yucca Mountain Project.  
  • 2003:  Member of Organizing Committee, International Conference on Coupled T-H-M-C Processes and Modeling of Geosystems, October 13-15, 2003, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 2001:  Outstanding Performance Award—for work on coupled THM processes—Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
  • 2000:  Awarded the Swedish academic title/position Docent at the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. The Swedish Docent corresponds to the level of English Senior Lecturer (UK) or Associate Professor (US).
  • 1999:  Faculty opponent for Ph.D. defense on “Hydro-mechanical Behavior of a Pressurized Single Fracture: An In situ Experiment”, at Chalmers University, Sweden.
  • 1996-1997Wennergren Post-doctoral award (Sweden) for research commitment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California..