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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 191-201, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
02 Feb 2010
Rockslide deformation monitoring with fiber optic strain sensors
J. R. Moore, V. Gischig, E. Button, and S. Loew
Geological Institute, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. With micro-strain resolution and the capability to sample at rates of 100 Hz and higher, fiber optic (FO) strain sensors offer exciting new possibilities for in-situ landslide monitoring. Here we describe a new FO monitoring system based on long-gauge fiber Bragg grating sensors installed at the Randa Rockslide Laboratory in southern Switzerland. The new FO monitoring system can detect sub-micrometer scale deformations in both triggered-dynamic and continuous measurements. Two types of sensors have been installed: (1) fully embedded borehole sensors and (2) surface extensometers. Dynamic measurements are triggered by sensor deformation and recorded at 100 Hz, while continuous data are logged every 5 min. Deformation time series for all sensors show displacements consistent with previous monitoring. Accelerated shortening following installation of the borehole sensors is likely related to long-term shrinkage of the grout. A number of transient signals have been observed, which in some cases were large enough to trigger rapid sampling. The combination of short- and long-term observation offers new insight into the deformation process. Accelerated surface crack opening in spring is shown to have a diurnal trend, which we attribute to the effect of snowmelt seeping into the crack void space and freezing at night to generate pressure on the crack walls. Controlled-source tests investigated the sensor response to dynamic inputs, which compared an independent measure of ground motion against the strain measured across a surface crack. Low frequency signals were comparable but the FO record suffered from aliasing, where undersampling of higher frequency signals generated spectral peaks not related to ground motion.

Citation: Moore, J. R., Gischig, V., Button, E., and Loew, S.: Rockslide deformation monitoring with fiber optic strain sensors, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 191-201, doi:10.5194/nhess-10-191-2010, 2010.
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