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ESR07: Environmental seismology: Acoustic and Seismic of natural cliffs, to better understand and monitor fracturation and erosion process


In the phase preceding catastrophic slope failure, rocks are progressively damaged and fractured. To quantify and image the damage and fracturing process in natural rock cliffs and slopes, two experiments will be performed. 1) a rock column will be equipped with seismic, geodetic and meteorological sensors 2) a rock slop (cliff) will be equipped with sonic sensors together with environmental (meteorological/solar radiation) sensors. The goal will be to determine how the change of natural resonance (rock column) or the change of sonic velocity change and decorrelation (rock cliff) are affected by ambient meteorological conditions, revealing onsite the intimate and slow damage processes due to environmental forcings. These experiments will be combined with numerical transient-thermo-elastic simulations. The project will explore instrumentation and methods to differentiate irreversible damage and fracturing and seasonal, reversible effects, and to track the evolution of damage. Using ambient seismic noise cross-correlation, structural changes in rock mass will be detected while stress changes and fracture development will be tracked with active coda waves (acoustic probing). Both approaches will be performed on various time scales, from daily (role of the local weather) to yearly (seasonal) timescales.

The project will give quantitative insight into damage, fracturing and erosion processes in rock cliffs. It will distinguish between the role of stress cycles induced by thermo-elastic cycles from other erosive solicitations. Finally, it will identify a chronology of possible geophysical, meteorological and geodetic precursor signals to failure, which may enhance early warning systems.

The PhD will work in ISTerre Grenoble, in the “fault mechanics” team. The research team
will also include the Geo3iLab LabCom (public/private joint laboratory with Geolithe
Company, Crolles).

Keywords: seismic noise, acoustics, rockfall, mountain hazard.

Host institute: ISTerre Grenoble, France.

Supervisors: Eric Larose (CNRS), Laurent Baillet (UGA)

Co-supervisor: Gladys Narbona Reina (U. Seville, Spain)

Collaborations: Geolithe engineering and consulting (geophysics, geology, geomechanics, risk management)

Link To apply: