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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 12, issue 3 | Copyright

Special issue: Landslide hazard and risk assessment at different scales

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 615-629, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-12-615-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 14 Mar 2012

Research article | 14 Mar 2012

Rockfall hazard and risk assessments along roads at a regional scale: example in Swiss Alps

C. Michoud1, M.-H. Derron1, P. Horton1, M. Jaboyedoff1, F.-J. Baillifard2, A. Loye1, P. Nicolet1, A. Pedrazzini1, and A. Queyrel3 C. Michoud et al.
  • 1Institute of Geomatics and Risk Analysis, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2Security service, Bagnes municipality, Switzerland
  • 3Ecole des Mines d'Alès, Alès, France

Abstract. Unlike fragmental rockfall runout assessments, there are only few robust methods to quantify rock-mass-failure susceptibilities at regional scale. A detailed slope angle analysis of recent Digital Elevation Models (DEM) can be used to detect potential rockfall source areas, thanks to the Slope Angle Distribution procedure. However, this method does not provide any information on block-release frequencies inside identified areas. The present paper adds to the Slope Angle Distribution of cliffs unit its normalized cumulative distribution function. This improvement is assimilated to a quantitative weighting of slope angles, introducing rock-mass-failure susceptibilities inside rockfall source areas previously detected. Then rockfall runout assessment is performed using the GIS- and process-based software Flow-R, providing relative frequencies for runout. Thus, taking into consideration both susceptibility results, this approach can be used to establish, after calibration, hazard and risk maps at regional scale. As an example, a risk analysis of vehicle traffic exposed to rockfalls is performed along the main roads of the Swiss alpine valley of Bagnes.

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