Articles | Volume 17, issue 1
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 103–113, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-17-103-2017
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 103–113, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-17-103-2017

Research article 30 Jan 2017

Research article | 30 Jan 2017

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

Valerio De Biagi1, Maria Lia Napoli1, Monica Barbero1, and Daniele Peila2 Valerio De Biagi et al.
  • 1Department of Structural, Geotechnical and Building Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Turin, Italy
  • 2Department of Environmental and Infrastructural Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Turin, Italy

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.
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