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Spatio-temporal analysis of rockfall pre-failure deformation using Terrestrial LiDAR

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2013
Author Royán Manuel Jesús, Abellán Antonio, Jaboyedoff Michel, Vilaplana Joan Manuel, Calvet Jaume,
Project Characterizing and analyzing 3D temporal slope evolution
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Landslides
Page(s) 1 - 13
Title of proceedings Landslides
DOI 10.1007/s10346-013-0442-0


We present a long-term spatio-temporal analysis of rock slope evolution using a Terrestrial LiDAR aiming to improve our understanding of the link between pre-failure deformation and the spatial prediction of rockfalls. We monitored the pilot study area located at the Puigcercós cliff (Catalonia, Spain) over a period of 1,705 days and detected the deformation of nine different cliff regions together with a high rockfall activity. An exact match was observed between the progressively deformed areas and the regions recently affected by three of the highest magnitude rockfall events, demonstrating a causal relationship between pre-failure deformation and rockfall occurrence. These findings allowed us to make a forward spatial prediction of future failures, hypothesizing a high probability of failure in the six remaining regions. We observed an exponential acceleration of the deformation close to failure, in accordance with tertiary creep theory. However, the temporal analysis of the deformed areas showed a complex and variable behavior, so no exact prediction of the date of failure can yet be made. Our findings have broadened our understanding of the pre-failure behavior of rockfalls and have clear implications for the future implementation of early warning systems. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.