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Rockfalls: risk quantification and prevention

Total activity: 7
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
161.313,13 €
Start date
End date
Rockfalls are frequent instability processes in road cuts, open pit mines and quarries, steep slopes and cliffs. Even though the stability of rock slopes can
be determined using analytical approaches, the assessment of large rock cliffs require simplifying assumptions due to the difficulty of working with a
large amount of joints, the scattering of both the orientations and strength parameters. The attitude and persistency of joints within the rock mass define
the size of kinematically unstable rock volumes and determine the way how the fragmentation of the detached mass occurs due its impact with the
ground surface. Knowledge of the size and trajectory of the blocks resulting from fragmentation is critical in determining the vulnerability of buildings and
protection structures. The first goal of the project is to obtain the distribution of potentially unstable volumes and its probability of failure, by means of the
characterization of the fracture pattern of the rocky cliffs. Also the analysis of the fragmentation process of rock falls, which is critical for simulating
trajectories and evaluating the intensity of impacts. The ultimate goal of the project is to quantify risk due to rockfalls and develop tools for the
improvement of prevention and for protection from its occurrence.
The project is divided into three work packages that continue and generalize several of the developments made by the research team: (a) The spatially
explicit determination of rock mass volumes kinematically unstable using high resolution remote techniques (Terrestrial Laser Scanner and digital
photogrammetry obtained with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ) whose use is justified by the inaccessibility of the rocky cliff and the risk involved; (b) Analysis
of the fragmentation laws using data collected from recent rockfall events that will be checked against in the distributions of primary rock volumes in the
rock wall. Incorporation of the fragmentation mechanism in rockfall propagation models and in the calculation of impact energies; (c) Quantitative risk
assessment of rockfalls and its prevention. Development of methods for quantitative assessment of the vulnerability of different types of structures and
buildings (masonry, reinforced concrete) against rockfalls. Preparation of fragility curves for different types of structures. Suggestions for the
improvements in structural reinforcement and for the design of protection elements.
Desprendimiento rocoso, evaluación cuantitativa del riesgo, fragmentación, fragmentation, quantitative risk assessment, rockfall, vulnerabilidad, vulnerability
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Resoluton year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de Fomento de la Investigación Científica y Técnica de Excelencia
Funding subprogram
Subprograma Estatal de Generación de Conocimiento
Funding call
Excelencia: Proyectos I+D
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


Scientific and technological production

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