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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 3 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 819-828, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 15 Mar 2011

Research article | 15 Mar 2011

Technical Note: Preliminary estimation of rockfall runout zones

M. Jaboyedoff1,2 and V. Labiouse1 M. Jaboyedoff and V. Labiouse
  • 1LMR – ENAC – Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – EPFL, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Geomatics and Analysis of Risk, Amphipôle – 338, Faculté des géosciences et de l'environnement, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract. Rockfall propagation areas can be determined using a simple geometric rule known as shadow angle or energy line method based on a simple Coulomb frictional model implemented in the CONEFALL computer program. Runout zones are estimated from a digital terrain model (DTM) and a grid file containing the cells representing rockfall potential source areas. The cells of the DTM that are lowest in altitude and located within a cone centered on a rockfall source cell belong to the potential propagation area associated with that grid cell. In addition, the CONEFALL method allows estimation of mean and maximum velocities and energies of blocks in the rockfall propagation areas. Previous studies indicate that the slope angle cone ranges from 27° to 37° depending on the assumptions made, i.e. slope morphology, probability of reaching a point, maximum run-out, field observations. Different solutions based on previous work and an example of an actual rockfall event are presented here.

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