Monitoring Rock Wall Temperatures and Microseismic Activity for Slope Stability Investigation at J.A. Carrel Hut, Matterhorn
Recent climate changes are increasing the frequency of rock-slope instabilities in the Alpine region. The formation of cracks leading to rockfalls causes a release of energy propagating in form of elastic waves. These latter can be detected by a suitable transducer array together with the vibrations generated by the impact of rockfalls. Geophones are among the most effective monitoring devices to investigate both these phenomena. A monitoring system composed by geophones and thermometers was installed at the J.A. Carrel hut (3829 m a.s.l., Matterhorn, NW Alps) in the framework of the Interreg Alcotra projects PERMAdataROC and MASSA by CNR IRPI and ARPA with the financial and logistic support of the Valle d’Aosta Region. The correlation between temperature trends and microseismic events is presented: cold periods characterized by a rapid temperature decrease present higher concentration of microseismic activity. However, not every drop in temperature is associated to microseismic activity, and the identification of the processes generating microseismic events in occasion of rapid temperature decrease is still uncertain. The objective of the ongoing research activity is to analyze in deep the statistical correlation between the number of microseismic records and the temperatures of air and rock in order to investigate the existence of recurrent patterns in the detected signals.
KeywordsAlpine permafrost Microseismic monitoring Rock-slope deformation Temperature monitoring
The authors wish to thank the Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta (Dipartimento Difesa del Suolo e Risorse Idriche—Servizio Geologico), for the logistic and financial support; Massimo Signori and Delfino Bani (Solgeo S.r.l.) who assembled and installed the monitoring network; Lucio Trucco (Società delle Guide del Cervino) for the assistance during all the field work phases; Gianni Mortara, senior researcher at CNR IRPI, for his comments and suggestions.
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