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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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doi:10.5194/esurf-2016-64
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
10 Jan 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).
Single-block rockfall dynamics inferred from seismic signal analysis
Clément Hibert1, Jean-Philippe Malet1, Franck Bourrier2, Floriane Provost1, Frédéric Berger2, Pierrick Bornemann1, Pascal Tardif2, and Eric Mermin2 1Institut de Physique du Globe de Strasbourg - CNRS UMR 7516, University of Strasbourg/EOST, France
2Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies pour l’environnement et l’agriculture (IRSTEA), 2 Rue de la Papeterie, 38402 Saint-Martin-d’Hères, France
Abstract. We conducted controlled releases of single blocks within a soft-rock (black marls) gully of the Rioux Bourdoux torrent (French Alps). 28 blocks, with masses ranging from 76 kg to 472 kg, were used for the experiment. An instrumentation combining video cameras and seismometers was deployed along the traveled path. The video cameras allow to reconstruct the trajectories of the blocks and to estimate their velocities at the time of the different impacts with the slope. These data are compared to the recorded seismic signals. As the distance between the falling block and the seismic sensors at the time of each impact is known, we were able to determine the associated seismic signal amplitude corrected from propagation and attenuation effects. We compared the velocity, the loss of potential energy, the kinetic energy and the momentum of the block at each impact to the true amplitude and the energy of the corresponding part of the seismic signal. Our results suggest that the amplitude of the seismic signal scales with the momentum of the block at the impact. We also found a scaling law between the potential energy lost, the kinetic energy and the energy of the seismic radiation generated by the impacts. By combining these scaling laws, we inferred the mass and the velocity before impact of each block directly from the seismic signal. Despite high uncertainties, the values found are close to the true values of the mass and the velocities of the blocks. These relationships also provide new insights to understand the source of high-frequency seismic signals generated by rockfalls.

Citation: Hibert, C., Malet, J.-P., Bourrier, F., Provost, F., Berger, F., Bornemann, P., Tardif, P., and Mermin, E.: Single-block rockfall dynamics inferred from seismic signal analysis, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., doi:10.5194/esurf-2016-64, in review, 2017.
Clément Hibert et al.
Clément Hibert et al.
Clément Hibert et al.

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