Articles | Volume 11, issue 9
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2617–2651, 2011

Special issue: Rockfall protection – from hazard identification to mitigation...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2617–2651, 2011
Review article
27 Sep 2011
Review article | 27 Sep 2011

Rockfall characterisation and structural protection – a review

A. Volkwein1, K. Schellenberg2, V. Labiouse3, F. Agliardi4, F. Berger5, F. Bourrier6, L. K. A. Dorren7, W. Gerber1, and M. Jaboyedoff8 A. Volkwein et al.
  • 1WSL Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 2Gruner+Wepf Ingenieure AG, Thurgauerstr. 56, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne EPFL, Rock Mechanics Laboratory LMR, GC C1-413 Station 18, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 4Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Dip. Scienze Geologiche e Geotecnologie, Piazza della Scienza 4, 20126 Milano, Italy
  • 5Cemagref, Mountain Ecosystems and Landscapes Research, 38402 Saint Martin d'Hères Cedex, France
  • 6Cemagref, UR EMGR, 2, rue de la Papeterie, BP 76, 38402 Saint Martin d'Hères Cedex, France
  • 7Landslides, Avalanches and Protection Forest Section, Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, Bern, Switzerland
  • 8University of Lausanne, Institute of Geomatics and Analysis of Risk, Amphipole 338, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract. Rockfall is an extremely rapid process involving long travel distances. Due to these features, when an event occurs, the ability to take evasive action is practically zero and, thus, the risk of injury or loss of life is high. Damage to buildings and infrastructure is quite likely. In many cases, therefore, suitable protection measures are necessary. This contribution provides an overview of previous and current research on the main topics related to rockfall. It covers the onset of rockfall and runout modelling approaches, as well as hazard zoning and protection measures. It is the aim of this article to provide an in-depth knowledge base for researchers and practitioners involved in projects dealing with the rockfall protection of infrastructures, who may work in the fields of civil or environmental engineering, risk and safety, the earth and natural sciences.