Development of a Rockfall Risk Mitigation Plan in the Montserrat Massif (Central Catalonia, Spain)

  • Pere Buxó
  • Marc JanerasEmail author
  • Guillem Domènech
  • Judit Pons
  • Elisabet Prat
  • Ferran López
Conference paper


Within the last years, several rockfall events have affected different roads and facilities of the Montserrat Massif, located about 50 km North-West of Barcelona (central Catalonia, Spain). It shows a high number of exposed buildings, such as the monastery area, funiculars and a rack railway. Furthermore, the increasing number of annual visitors has highlighted the risk derived from rockfalls. To face this challenge, a geological risk Mitigation Plan in Montserrat has been launched by the Catalan government. The Plan aims at reducing the rockfall risk, progressively, taking into account the particularities of the site, considered as a natural and cultural heritage. Thus, a risk management strategy is required according to sustainability principles; the monitoring of the rock walls is a key factor that contributes to a continuous enhanced understanding of the hazard and risk factors for the consequent application of countermeasures. A first test and implementation phase was established for the period 2014–2016 followed by a second phase, which is expected to start from 2017, for the complete development of the plan. Then, a permanent third phase is also foreseen in order to guarantee the continuity and operability of the reached safety. The plan responds to a cyclical conception of risk management, where mitigation is a preventive stage providing preparedness and resilience for the emergency response stage. Furthermore, for the mitigation goal, four stages are designed in cyclic sequence of tasks involved in the plan.


Rockfall Risk mitigation Planning Strategy Hazard monitoring 



The authors want to acknowledge the funding of the mitigation plan by the Catalan government (Generalitat de Catalunya) and to thank the Board of Montserrat Mountain (Patronat de la Muntanya de Montserrat) for the promotion of the project, as well the other stakeholders involved in the management of this unique as cultural and natural heritage.


  1. Bründl M, Romang H, Bischof N, Rheinberger C (2009) The risk concept and its application in natural hazard risk management in Switzerland. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci J 9:801–813. doi: 10.5194/nhess-9-801-2009 CrossRefGoogle 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 8:381–389. doi: 10.1007/s10346-010-0247-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cabranes F (2015) Estudio geomecánico de la estabilidad de la Cadireta d’Agulles (Montserrat). Degree thesis in civil engineering by Polytechnic University of CataloniaGoogle Scholar
  4. Carmona A (2015). Sectorización y zonificación de la peligrosidad por caída de rocas, aplicación en Montserrat. Master thesis in Geohazards by University of BarcelonaGoogle Scholar
  5. Cascini L (2008) Applicability of landslide susceptibility and hazard zoning at different scales. Eng Geol 102:164–177. doi: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2008.03.016 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Domènech G (2015) Assessment of the magnitude-frequency relationship of landslides and rockfalls: application to hazard mapping. Ph.D thesis. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTechGoogle Scholar
  7. Fell R, Corominas J, Bonnard C, Cascini L, Leroi E, Savage W (2008) Guidelines for landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk zoning for land-use planning. Eng Geol 102:99–111. doi: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2008.03.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fontquerni S, Vilaplana JM, Guinau M, Royán MJ, Janeras M, Barberà M (2012) Los elementos vulnerables expuestos a los desprendimientos de rocas en Montserrat vulnerable elements exposed to rockfalls in Montserrat. In: VIII Congreso Geológico de España. OviedoGoogle Scholar
  9. Gallach X (2012) Estudi de susceptibilitat de caiguda de roques a la paret del Monestir de Montserrat a partir de la inspecció d’indicadors d’inestabilitat i d’anàlisi SIG. Master thesis in Geohazards by University of BarcelonaGoogle Scholar
  10. Guzzetti F, Reichenbach P, Wieczorek GF (2003) Rockfall hazard and risk assessment in the Yosemite Valley, California, USA. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 3:491–503. doi: 10.5194/nhess-3-491-2003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hungr O, Evans SG, Hazard J (1999) Magnitude and frequency of rock falls and rock slides along the main transportation corridors of southwestern British Columbia. Can Geotech J 36:224–238. doi: 10.1139/cgj-36-2-224 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Janeras M, Buxó P, Paret D, Comellas J, Palau J (2009) Valoración del riesgo como herramienta de análisis de alternativas de protección frente desprendimientos de roca en el Cremallera de Núria. In: Alonso E, Corominas J, Hürlimann M (eds) VII Simposio Nacional Sobre Taludes Y Laderas Inestables. CIMNE, BarcelonaGoogle Scholar
  13. Janeras M, Palau J, Prat E, Ripoll J (2011) Montserrat: on a long way to rock fall risk mitigation. First experiences, some lessons and future perspectives. In: Interdisciplinary Rockfall Workshop RocExs-2011, Innsbruck-IglsGoogle Scholar
  14. Janeras M, Palau J, Prat E, Ponts J, Rodríguez H, Martínez P, Comellas J (2013) Valoración de 10 años de mitigación del riesgo de caída de rocas en el cremallera de Montserrat. In: VIII Simposio Nacional Sobre Taludes Y Laderas Inestables. Palma de Mallorca, p 13Google Scholar
  15. Janeras M, Jara JA, López F, Marturià J, Royán MJ, Vilaplana JM, Aguasca A, Fàbregas X, Cabranes F, Gili JA (2015) Using several monitoring techniques to measure the rock mass deformation in the Montserrat Massif. In: IS. on G. and G. (ISGG2015) (ed) Earth and environmental science, vol. 26. IOP Conf. Series, Warwick, p. 01203. doi:
  16. Janeras M, Domènech G, Pons J, Prat E, Buxó P (2016a) Rockfall hazard assessment by means of the magnitude-frequency curves in the Montserrat Massif (central Catalonia, Spain): first insights. In: EGU General Assembly (ed) Geophysical research abstracts, vol 18, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  17. Janeras M, Jara JA, López F, Marcè A, Carbonell J, Elvira A (2016b) Development of a wireless sensor network for rock mass deformation monitoring in the Montserrat Massif. In: 3rd RSS rock slope stability conference, Lyon, FranceGoogle Scholar
  18. Janeras M, Jara JA, Royán MJ, Vilaplana JM, Aguasca A, Fàbregas X, Gili JA, Buxó P (2017) Multi-technique approach to rockfall monitoring in the Montserrat massif (Catalonia, NE Spain). Eng Geol 219:4–20. doi: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2016.12.010
  19. Margalef A (2008) Anàlisi d’un mètode d’ajuda a la cartografia regional de perillositat en base a l’angle d’abast de despreniments. Master thesis in Geohazards by University of BarcelonaGoogle Scholar
  20. Palau J, Janeras M, Prat E, Pons J, Ripoll J (2011) Preliminary assessment of rockfall risk mitigation in access infrastructures to Montserrat. In: Second world landslide forum, RomeGoogle Scholar
  21. Royán MJ, Vilaplana JM (2012) Distribución espacio-temporal de los desprendimientos de rocas en la montaña de Montserrat. Cuaternario y Geomorfología 26(1–2):151–170Google Scholar
  22. Royan MJ, Vilaplana JM, Janeras M, Abellán A (2016) Detección e inventario de desprendimientos de rocas mediante el seguimiento con LiDAR Terrestre en la Montaña de Montserrat (Catalunya, España), In: Durán JJ, Montes M, Robador A, Salazar Á (eds) XIV Reunión Nacional de Geomorfología. Málaga, p 5Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pere Buxó
    • 1
  • Marc Janeras
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guillem Domènech
    • 1
  • Judit Pons
    • 1
  • Elisabet Prat
    • 1
  • Ferran López
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations