Natural Hazards

, Volume 78, Issue 3, pp 2055–2080 | Cite as

Detecting torrential processes from a distance with a seismic monitoring network

  • V. CovielloEmail author
  • M. Arattano
  • L. Turconi
Original Paper


The detection of debris flows through seismic devices occurs at a certain distance from the channel bed. Ground vibration detectors are installed outside of the flow path, usually along the banks of the torrent or on the surrounding valley slopes, in order to avoid damage or even complete destruction. Seismic networks, however, are also prone to detect other earth surface processes that can be confused with the passage of a debris flow. Recognizing these other processes is important, particularly when the seismic network is used for warning purposes and not only for monitoring. To this aim, two seismic networks were installed in two instrumented basins located in the Italian Alps. Both networks were designed for debris flow monitoring purposes and for testing warning algorithms. In this paper, the seismic recordings of torrential processes that occurred at different distance from the monitoring networks, within and outside the monitored channels, are presented and discussed. It was found that knowledge of the waveform that these different processes produce is critical to the successful design and implementation of seismic networks for debris flow warning.


Debris flow Torrential processes Monitoring Geophones Early warning system 



This work was funded by the POR FESR 2007/2013—Regione PiemonteRepubblica Italiana and by the European Territorial Cooperation Alpine Space Programme 2007–2013—SedAlp project. We are grateful to Gabriele Savio for his generous collaboration during the fieldwork activities conducted in the Marderello basin and to Domenico Tropeano for the suggestions given during the preparation of this work. Pierpaolo Macconi, Stefan Hellweger and Rudolf Pollinger (Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Autonomous Province of Bozen-Bolzano) are warmly thanked for supporting the monitoring activities conducted in the Gadria basin. We are grateful to the whole Gadria team and in particular to the colleagues Gabriele Bertoldi, Marco Cavalli, Francesco Comiti, Stefano Crema, Lorenzo Marchi and Joshua Theule for their full support of this research. The company SIAP+MICROS participated in the design and provided the recording unit ALMOND-F now installed in both sites, and in particular, we want to thank Marco Del Missier, Stafano Perin and Massimiliano Sanna for their collaboration. Finally, we wish to thank Jeffrey Coe and another anonymous reviewer for their careful revisions that significantly improved the quality of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica (IRPI)Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)TurinItaly

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