Articles | Volume 5, issue 5
11 Aug 2005
11 Aug 2005

An attempt to refine rockfall hazard zoning based on the kinetic energy, frequency and fragmentation degree

M. Jaboyedoff, J. P. Dudt, and V. Labiouse

Abstract. Rockfall hazard zoning is usually achieved using a qualitative estimate of hazard, and not an absolute scale. In Switzerland, danger maps, which correspond to a hazard zoning depending on the intensity of the considered phenomenon (e.g. kinetic energy for rockfalls), are replacing hazard maps. Basically, the danger grows with the mean frequency and with the intensity of the rockfall. This principle based on intensity thresholds may also be applied to other intensity threshold values than those used in Switzerland for rockfall hazard zoning method, i.e. danger mapping.

In this paper, we explore the effect of slope geometry and rockfall frequency on the rockfall hazard zoning. First, the transition from 2D zoning to 3D zoning based on rockfall trajectory simulation is examined; then, its dependency on slope geometry is emphasized. The spatial extent of hazard zones is examined, showing that limits may vary widely depending on the rockfall frequency. This approach is especially dedicated to highly populated regions, because the hazard zoning has to be very fine in order to delineate the greatest possible territory containing acceptable risks.