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Influence of daily surface temperature fluctuations on rock slope stability : case study of the Rochers de Valabres slope (France)

Abstract : The present paper describes a rockfall that has affected the Rochers de Valabres slope (France's Southern Alps region) and discusses one possible mechanism for the occurrence of this rockfall, along with the potential for future ones. In the absence of an obvious explanatory trigger factor, we set out to-examine whether natural daily surface temperature changes could have played a role in this event. In particular, it is suspected that these slight, yet repeated, perturbations may be a preparatory factor for rockfalls, with a day-to-day cumulative effect. A numerical model strengthens this hypothesis by showing that thermally induced deformations can be sufficient to cause the gradual downward creep of a rock block located in an awkward position. To investigate this notion more, thoroughly, a currently vulnerable part of the Rochers de Valabres slope has been instrumented with a high-precision geodetic monitoring system (total station). It is believed that this device is able to capture thermally induced movements if specific precautions are taken. The instrumented rock volume is used as a test site in the aim of better understanding the consequences of surface temperature changes on slope stability. Measured data (with a precision level never before achieved on rock slopes) are compared herein with numerical modelling results. The initial conclusions of the long-term study we are conducting indicate that surface temperature changes play an important, while not easily quantifiable, role in preparing rockfalls.
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https://hal-ineris.archives-ouvertes.fr/ineris-00962943
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Submitted on : Friday, March 21, 2014 - 2:06:23 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 4:00:04 PM

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Yann Gunzburger, Véronique Merrien-Soukatchoff, Y. Guglielmi. Influence of daily surface temperature fluctuations on rock slope stability : case study of the Rochers de Valabres slope (France). International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, Pergamon and Elsevier, 2005, 42 (3), pp.331-349. ⟨10.1016/j.ijrmms.2004.11.003⟩. ⟨ineris-00962943⟩

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