Articles | Volume 13, issue 7
Research article
12 Jul 2013
Research article |  | 12 Jul 2013

Implications of spatial distribution of rockfall reconstructed by dendrogeomorphological methods

K. Šilhán, T. Pánek, and J. Hradecký

Abstract. Rockfall is a dangerous geomorphological process. The prediction of potentially threatened areas requires thorough reconstruction of spatial rockfall activity. Dendrogeomorphic methods allow precise determination of both temporal and spatial occurrences of rockfall without the necessity of long-term monitoring. At the case-study site of Taraktash, located among southern slopes of the Crimean Mountains, 114 Crimean pine trees (Pinus nigra ssp. pallasiana) were sampled on a talus slope located under a 150 m high rockwall. Based on their age, the trees were divided into two distinct groups (young and old trees). Considerable disturbance in the age structure of the trees on the talus was probably caused by a series of strong earthquakes. Major differences were identified in the ability of young and old trees to record a rockfall event. We found that in the first decades of their growth, the ability of the studied P. nigra to record rockfall events gradually increased. The trees showed the highest sensitivity at the age of 80 to 90 yr; after that age their sensitivity gradually decreases. Two indicators were selected for the spatial reconstruction of rockfall events (the number of rockfall events per tree and recurrence interval). The highest activity was identified on the talus using selected indicators.