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Repetitive Rockfall Trajectory Testing

WSL Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW, Life Sciences und Facility Management, 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, 7004 Chur, Switzerland.
Geosciences 2018, 8(3), 88;
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
PDF [35859 KB, uploaded 7 March 2018]


Numerical simulations of rockfall trajectories are a standard procedure for evaluating rockfall hazards. For these simulations, corresponding software codes must be calibrated and evaluated based on field data. This study addresses methods of repeatable rockfall tests, and investigates whether it is possible to produce traceable and statistically analysable data. A testing series is described extensively covering how to conduct rockfall experiments and how certain elements of rockfall trajectories can be measured. The tests use acceleration and rotation sensors inside test blocks, a system to determine block positions over time, surveying measurements, and video recordings. All systems are evaluated regarding their usability in the field and for analyses. The highly detailed description of testing methods is the basis for sound understanding and reproducibility of the tests. This article serves as a reference for future publications and other rockfall field tests, both as a guide and as a basis for comparisons. First analyses deliver information on runout with a shadow angle ranging between 21 and 45 degrees for a slope consisting of homogeneous soft soil. A digital elevation model of the test site as well as point clouds of the used test blocks are part of this publication. View Full-Text
Keywords: rockfall; field tests; experimental setup; measurement evaluation; field data rockfall; field tests; experimental setup; measurement evaluation; field data

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Volkwein, A.; Brügger, L.; Gees, F.; Gerber, W.; Krummenacher, B.; Kummer, P.; Lardon, J.; Sutter, T. Repetitive Rockfall Trajectory Testing. Geosciences 2018, 8, 88.

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