Acoustic module of the Acquabona (Italy) debris flow monitoring system
Abstract. Monitoring of debris flows aimed to the assessment of their physical parameters is very important both for theoretical and practical purposes. Peak discharge and total volume of debris flows are crucial for designing effective countermeasures in many populated mountain areas where losses of lives and property damage could be avoided.
This study quantifies the relationship between flow depth, acoustic amplitude of debris flow induced ground vibrations and front velocity in the experimental catchment of Acquabona, Eastern Dolomites, Italy. The analysis of data brought about the results described in the following. Debris flow depth and amplitude of the flow-induced ground vibrations show a good positive correlation. Estimation of both mean front velocity and peak discharge can be simply obtained monitoring the ground vibrations, through geophones installed close to the flow channel; the total volume of debris flow can be so directly estimated from the integral of the ground vibrations using a regression line. The application of acoustic technique to debris flow monitoring seems to be of the outmost relevance in risk reduction policies and in the correct management of the territory. Moreover this estimation is possible in other catchments producing debris flows of similar characteristics by means of their acoustic characterisation through quick and simple field tests (Standard Penetration Tests and seismic refraction surveys).