Shallow 2D and 3D Seismic tomography on an unstable mountain slope

B. Heincke, H. R. Maurer, A. G. Green, H. Horstmeyer, H. Willenberg, T. Spillmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingspeer-review

Abstract

As transport routes and population centres in mountainous areas expand, risks associated with rockfalls grow at an alarming rate. As a consequence, there is an urgent need to delineate mountain slopes susceptible to catastrophic collapse in a safe and noninvasive manner. For this purpose, we have developed a 3-D tomographic seismic refraction technique and applied it to an unstable alpine mountain slope, a significant segment of which is moving at 0.010.02 m/year. First-arrivals recorded across the exposed gneissic rock mass have extraordinarily low apparent velocities. Inversion of their travel-times produces a 3-D tomogram that reveals the presence of a huge volume of very low quality rock with ultralow to very low Pwave velocities of 5002700 m/s. Such low values likely result from the ubiquitous presence of dry cracks, fracture zones and faults at a wide variety of scales. They extend to more than 35 m depth over a 200 x 150 m area that encompasses the mobile segment of the slope and a large part of the adjacent stationary rock mass. Although hazards related to the mobile segment have been recognized since the last major rockslides in 1991, those related to the adjacent low quality stationary rock mass have not.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNear Surface 2006 - 12th European Meeting of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Event12th European Meeting of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics of the Near Surface Geoscience Division of EAGE, Near Surface 2006 - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 4 Sep 20066 Sep 2006

Publication series

NameNear Surface 2006 - 12th European Meeting of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics

Conference

Conference12th European Meeting of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics of the Near Surface Geoscience Division of EAGE, Near Surface 2006
Country/TerritoryFinland
CityHelsinki
Period4/09/066/09/06

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate

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