Articles | Volume 17, issue 1
Research article
30 Jan 2017
Research article |  | 30 Jan 2017

Estimation of the return period of rockfall blocks according to their size

Valerio De Biagi, Maria Lia Napoli, Monica Barbero, and Daniele Peila

Abstract. With reference to the rockfall risk estimation and the planning of rockfall protection devices, one of the most critical and most discussed problems is the correct definition of the design block by taking into account its return period. In this paper, a methodology for the assessment of the design block linked with its return time is proposed and discussed, following a statistical approach. The procedure is based on the survey of the blocks that were already detached from the slope and had accumulated at the foot of the slope in addition to the available historical data.

Short summary
Rockfall is an highly destructive and unpredictable natural phenomenon. The design of protective structures needs a design falling block. Nowadays, the size of this block depends on the designer's personal judgement and expertise. We propose a statistical methodology to evaluate the return period of a given falling volume from observations and records in historical catalogues. This would allow us to implement modern reliability-based design approaches in protective engineering works.
Final-revised paper