Natural Hazards

, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 1535–1549 | Cite as

Integration of laser scanning and thermal imaging in monitoring optimization and assessment of rockfall hazard: a case history in the Carnic Alps (Northeastern Italy)

  • Giordano Teza
  • Gianluca Marcato
  • Alessandro Pasuto
  • Antonio Galgaro
Original Paper


Rock cliff monitoring to evaluate related rockfall hazard requires a deep knowledge of the geometry and kinematics of the rock mass and a real-time survey of some key features. If a sedimentary rock system has sloping discontinuity planes, an open joint could become a potential sliding surface and its conditions must be monitored. It is the case of the Passo della Morte landslide (Carnic Alps, Northeastern Italy), where sub-vertical joints exist. Remote sensing techniques such as terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) and infrared thermography (IRT) allow a fast and efficient contactless geometrical and geomechanical examination of a rock mass. Therefore, they can be used to recognize those joints that require monitoring with on-site instrumentation such as extensometers and/or inclinometers, or also acoustic emission sensors, aiding the arrangement of monitoring systems which are generally quite expensive to install. Repeated IRT surveys would provide useful information about the evolution of unstable slopes, thus suggesting how the on-site monitoring system could be improved. Moreover, data gathered by TLS and IRT can be directly used in landslide hazard assessment. In the test site, an open joint was recognized together with a fair joint that could change in the next future. The results were validated by means of extensometer data.


Rock slope instability Rockfall Thermal imaging Laser scanning Monitoring 



This work was supported by Fondazione Cariparo within the SMILAND (Innovative integrated Systems for Monitoring and assessment of high rIsk LANDslides) Research Project (Progetto di Eccellenza 2008–2009). The laser scanner data were kindly provided by Michele Potleca (Protezione Civile of Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia). Moreover, the authors would like to thank the Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia for the aerial laser scanner data and the authorization to reproduction of a map belonging to the Carta Tecnica Numerica Regionale.


  1. Arosio D, Longoni L, Papini M, Scaioni M, Zanzi L, Alba M (2009) Towards rockfall forecasting through observing deformations and listening to microseismic emissions. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 9(4):1119–1131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Budetta P (2010) Application of the Swiss Federal Guidelines on rock fall hazard: a case study in the Cilento region (Southern Italy). Landslides 8(3):381–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cai M, Morioka H, Kaiser P, Tasaka Y, Kurose H, Minami M, Maejima T (2007) Back-analysis of rock mass strength parameters using AE monitoring data. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 44(4):538–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Codeglia D (2011) Analisi geomeccanica e predisposizione di un sistema di monitoraggio lungo la galleria del Passo della Morte. Master’s Degree Thesis, Trieste University (in Italian)Google Scholar
  5. Corominas J, Moya J, Lloreta A, Gili JA, Angeli MG, Pasuto A, Silvano S (2000) Measurement of landslide displacements using a wire extensometer. Eng Geol 55(3):149–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Corominas J, Copons R, Moya J, Vilaplana JM, Altimir J, Amigó J (2005) Quantitative assessment of the residual risk in a rockfall protected area. Landslides 2(4):343–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deparis J, Garambois S, Hantz D (2007) On the potential of Ground Penetrating Radar to help rock fall hazard assessment: a case study of a limestone slab, Gorges de la Bourne (French Alps). Eng Geol 94(1–2):89–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dixon N, Spriggs M (2007) Quantification of slope displacement rates using acoustic emission monitoring. Can Geotech J 44(6):966–976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dixon N, Spriggs M, Marcato G, Pasuto A (2012) Landslide hazard evaluation by means of several monitoring techniques, including an acoustic emission sensor. In: Eberhardt E, Froese C, Turner K, Leroueil S (eds) Landslides and engineered slopes. CRC Press, London, pp 1405–1411Google Scholar
  10. FLIR (2014a) FLIR ThermaCAM T620 technical datasheet. Accessed 24 Nov 2014
  11. FLIR (2014b) FLIR QuickReport freeware download page. Accessed 24 Nov 2014
  12. Franceschi M, Teza G, Preto N, Pesci A, Galgaro A, Girardi S (2009) Discrimination between marls and limestones using intensity data from terrestrial laser scanner. ISPRS J Photogramm Remote Sens 64(6):522–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hack R (2000) Geophysics for slope stability. Surv Geophys 21:423–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Innovmetric (2014) Innovmetric PolyWorks software description. Accessed 24 Nov 2014
  15. Maldague X (2001) Nondestructive evaluation of materials by infrared thermography. John Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  16. Marcato G (2007) Valutazione della pericolosità da frana in località Passo della Morte (UD) (Evaluation of landslide hazard in Passo della Morte, Udine). PhD Dissertation, Modena and Reggio Emilia University (in Italian)Google Scholar
  17. Monegato G, Vezzoli G (2011) Post-Messinian drainage changes triggered by tectonic and climatic events (Eastern Southern Alps, Italy). Sedim Geol 239:188–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. OGS (2014) The Friuli Venezia Giulia seismometric network home page. Accessed 24 Nov 2014
  19. Omar M, Hassan MI, Saito K, Alloo R (2005) IR self-referencing thermography for detection of in-depth defects. Infrared Phys Technol 46(4):283–289Google Scholar
  20. Oppikofer T, Jaboyedoff M, Blikra L, Derron M (2009) Characterization and monitoring of the Åknes rockslide using terrestrial laser scanning. Nat Haz Earth Syst Sci 9:1003–1019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Optech (2014) Optech ILRIS-3D technical data. Accessed 24 Nov 2014
  22. Pesci A, Teza G, Bonali E (2011) Terrestrial laser scanner resolution: numerical simulations and experiments on spatial sampling optimization. Remote Sens 3(1):167–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pisa G (1972) Tentativo di ricostruzione paleoambientale e paleostrutturale dei depositi di piattaforma carbonatica medio-triassica delle Alpi Carniche sud-occidentali. Mem Soc Geol It 13:35–83 in ItalianGoogle Scholar
  24. Schenato L, Palmieri L, Autizi E, Calzavara F, Vianello L, Teza G, Marcato G, Sassi R, Pasuto A, Galgaro A, Galtarossa A (2013) Rockfall precursor detection based on rock fracturing monitoring by means of optical fibre sensors. Int J Sust Mater Struct Sys 1(2):123–141Google Scholar
  25. Singhroy V, Molch K (2004) Characterizing and monitoring rockslides from SAR techniques. Adv Space Res 33(3):290–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Slob S, van Knapen B, Hack R, Turner K, Kemeny J (2005) A method for automated discontinuity analysis of rock slopes. Transport Res Rec 1913(1):187–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Spampinato L, Calvari S, Oppenheimer C, Boschi E (2011) Volcano surveillance using infrared cameras. Earth-Sci Rev 106:63–91Google Scholar
  28. Sturzenegger M, Stead D (2009) Close-range terrestrial digital photogrammetry and terrestrial laser scanning for discontinuity characterization on rock cuts. Eng Geol 106(3–4):163–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Teza G (2014) THIMRAN: a MATLAB toolbox for thermal image processing aimed at damage recognition in large bodies. J Comput Civil Eng 28(4, 04014017):1–8Google Scholar
  30. Teza G, Pesci A, Genevois R, Galgaro A (2008) Characterization of landslide ground surface kinematics from terrestrial laser scanning and strain field computation. Geomorphology 97(3–4):424–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Teza G, Marcato G, Castelli E, Galgaro A (2012) IRTROCK: a MATLAB toolbox for contactless recognition of surface and shallow weakness of a rock cliff by infrared thermography. Comput Geosci 45:109–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Viero A, Teza G, Massironi M, Jaboyedoff M, Galgaro A (2010) Laser scanning based recognition of rotational movements on a deep seated gravitational instability: the Cinque Torri case (North-Eastern Italian Alps). Geomorphology 122:191–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Walter M, Schwaderer U, Joswig M (2012) Seismic monitoring of precursory fracture signals from a destructive rockfall in the Vorarlberg Alps, Austria. Nat Hazards Earth Sys Sci 12(11):3545–3555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wu JH, Lin HM, Lee DH, Fang SC (2005) Integrity assessment of rock mass behind the shotcreted slope using thermography. Eng Geol 80(1–2):164–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giordano Teza
    • 1
  • Gianluca Marcato
    • 2
  • Alessandro Pasuto
    • 2
  • Antonio Galgaro
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di GeoscienzeUniversità di PadovaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheIRPIPaduaItaly

Personalised recommendations