, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 939–953 | Cite as

Results and experiences gathered at the Rebaixader debris-flow monitoring site, Central Pyrenees, Spain

  • M. HürlimannEmail author
  • C. Abancó
  • J. Moya
  • I. Vilajosana
Original Paper


The wired and wireless monitoring system installed in the Rebaixader catchment detected six debris flows and 11 debris floods between 2009 and 2012. Apart from results directly related to the processes, many experiences associated with monitoring were collected. Debris flows and debris floods showed clear differences in both the recorded data and field observations. The distinction was especially visible in the stage measurements and the ground vibration registered by the most downstream geophone. At this geophone, a positive relation between the maximum ground vibration and the volume was also observed. The triggering of most events was associated with short, high-intensity rainstorms in summer, but some were also generated in spring, when the melting of snow cover and frozen soil played an additional role. A positive correlation between the volume and both the amount and the intensity of the triggering rainfall was observed. Regarding technical aspects, a switch between a “no-event” mode with a low sample rate and an “event” mode with a fast sampling was particularly useful at the station that register the passing of a flow. In addition, the stations, which most recently were installed at Rebaixader, apply wireless devices because wireless techniques include multiple advantages against standard wired systems. Although recorded data or even video images provide detailed information on the debris-flow behavior, we strongly recommend periodic field surveys along the entire torrent to verify and improve the interpretation obtained from the monitoring system.


Debris flow Monitoring Ground vibration Rainfall threshold Magnitude–frequency Pyrenees 



This research was financially supported by the Spanish Ministry, contracts CGL2008-00299/BTE and CGL2011-23300 (projects DEBRISCATCH and DEBRISTART). We thank the Cartography Institute of Catalonia for the supply of the digital elevation model and the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park for logistic support. We also acknowledge the multiple inputs and suggestions received during the international workshop on “Monitoring bedload and debris flows in mountain basins”, held in October 2012 in Bolzano, Italy (


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Hürlimann
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. Abancó
    • 1
  • J. Moya
    • 1
  • I. Vilajosana
    • 2
  1. 1.Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences DepartmentTechnical University of Catalonia (UPC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.WorldSensing S.L.BarcelonaSpain

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