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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(3), 198; doi:10.3390/rs9030198

Freeze/Thaw-Induced Deformation Monitoring and Assessment of the Slope in Permafrost Based on Terrestrial Laser Scanner and GNSS

1
Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soils Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu, China
3
61243 Regiment, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Zhong Lu, Chaoying Zhao and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 26 December 2016 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Landslides)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [10262 KB, uploaded 24 February 2017]   |  

Abstract

Most previous studies of the Qinghai-Tibet engineering corridor (QTEC) have focused on the impacts of climate change on thaw-induced slope failures, whereas few have considered freeze-induced slope failures. Terrestrial laser scanning was used in combination with global navigation satellite systems to monitor three-dimensional surface changes between 2014 and 2015 on the slope of permafrost in the QTEC, which experienced two thawing periods and a freezing period. Soil temperature and moisture sensors were also deployed at 11 depths to reveal the hydrological–thermal dynamics of the active layer. We analyzed scanned surface changes in the slope based on comparisons of multi-temporal point cloud data to determine how the hydrological–thermal process affected active layer deformation during freeze–thaw cycles, thereby comprehensively quantifying the surface deformation. During the two thawing periods, the major structure of the slope exhibited subsidence trends, whereas the major structure of the slope had an uplift trend in the freezing period. The seasonal subsidence trend was caused by thaw settlement and the seasonal uplift trend was probably due to frost heaving. This occurred mainly because the active layer and the upper permafrost underwent a phase transition due to heat transfer. The ground movements occurred approximately in the soil temperature conduction direction between the top of the soil and the permafrost table. The elevation deformation range was mainly −0.20 m to 0.20 m. Surface volume increases with heaving after freezing could have compensated for the loss of thawing twice and still led to the upward swelling of the slope. Thus, this type of slope in permafrost is dominated by frost heave. Deformation characteristics of the slope will support enhanced decision making regarding the implementation of remote sensing and hydrological–thermal measurement technologies to monitor changes in the slopes in permafrost adjacent to engineering corridors, thereby improving the understanding and assessment of hazards. View Full-Text
Keywords: freeze–thaw cycle; global navigation satellite system; Qinghai-Tibet engineering corridor; slope in permafrost; terrestrial laser scanning freeze–thaw cycle; global navigation satellite system; Qinghai-Tibet engineering corridor; slope in permafrost; terrestrial laser scanning
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MDPI and ACS Style

Luo, L.; Ma, W.; Zhang, Z.; Zhuang, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Yang, J.; Cao, X.; Liang, S.; Mu, Y. Freeze/Thaw-Induced Deformation Monitoring and Assessment of the Slope in Permafrost Based on Terrestrial Laser Scanner and GNSS. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 198.

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