Sensors 2012, 12(4), 4870-4891; doi:10.3390/s120404870
Article

Transformation of Ground Vibration Signal for Debris-Flow Monitoring and Detection in Alarm Systems

1 Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences, Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Jordi Girona 1-3 (D2), 08034 Barcelona, Spain 2 Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Mountain Hydrology and Mass Movements, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 February 2012; in revised form: 4 April 2012 / Accepted: 6 April 2012 / Published: 13 April 2012
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
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Abstract: Debris flows are fast mass movements formed by a mix of water and solid materials, which occur in steep torrents, and are a source of high risks for human settlements. Geophones are widely used to detect the ground vibration induced by passing debris flows. However, the recording of geophone signals usually requires storing a huge amount of data, which leads to problems in storage capacity and power consumption. This paper presents a method to transform and simplify the signals measured by geophones. The key input parameter is the ground velocity threshold, which removes the seismic noise that is not related to debris flows. A signal conditioner was developed to implement the transformation and the ground velocity threshold was set by electrical resistors. The signal conditioner was installed at various European monitoring sites to test the method. Results show that data amount and power consumption can be greatly reduced without losing much information on the main features of the debris flows. However, the outcome stresses the importance of choosing a ground vibration threshold, which must be accurately calibrated. The transformation is also suitable to detect other rapid mass movements and to distinguish among different processes, which points to a possible implementation in alarm systems.
Keywords: debris flow; monitoring; alarm system; geophones; ground vibration signal; impulses

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MDPI and ACS Style

Abancó, C.; Hürlimann, M.; Fritschi, B.; Graf, C.; Moya, J. Transformation of Ground Vibration Signal for Debris-Flow Monitoring and Detection in Alarm Systems. Sensors 2012, 12, 4870-4891.

AMA Style

Abancó C, Hürlimann M, Fritschi B, Graf C, Moya J. Transformation of Ground Vibration Signal for Debris-Flow Monitoring and Detection in Alarm Systems. Sensors. 2012; 12(4):4870-4891.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Abancó, Clàudia; Hürlimann, Marcel; Fritschi, Bruno; Graf, Christoph; Moya, José. 2012. "Transformation of Ground Vibration Signal for Debris-Flow Monitoring and Detection in Alarm Systems." Sensors 12, no. 4: 4870-4891.

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