Rockfall monitoring of alpine north flanks


Long-term seismic monitoring of rockfall activity of alpine north-flanks using the free hardware design data logger Ruwai and the free software psysmon.

SeisRockHT aims at the establishment of two seismic networks to quantitatively observe seismicity and rockfall events at high alpine north faces. Two study sites in the Austrian Alps were selected for monitoring: the Kitzsteinhorn and the Hoher Sonnblick exhibiting two different scales of the monitoring networks. The smaller scaled Kitzsteinhorn investigation site is closely related to bedrock permafrost processes, whereas the larger-scaled Sonnblick investigation site aims at a classic alpine north face.

The stations of both networks will be equipped with the Ruwai data recorder and for data processing the software psysmon will be used. One goal is to proof the operation of a reliable seismic monitoring network producing data meeting the needs of scientific data analysis by using free design hardware and free software.

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The project started October, 2014 and is still running

I have the following responsibilities within the project:

  • Leader of one workpackage.
  • Development of the Ruwai data logger for deployment in alpine environment.
  • Software development for the processing of the seismic monitoring data.

The aims to be achieved by Mertl Research are:

  1. Installation of two long-term seismic monitoring sites by means of open hardware and free software in the Austrian Alps.
  2. Evaluation of temporal and spatial ambient seismic noise characteristics.
  3. Compilation of a catalogue of characteristic seismic events registered at the two sites.
  4. Determination of seismic characteristics of rockfall events.

For this project I have the following cooperation partners:

Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik
ZAMG leads the project.

Georesearch Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
Georesearch provides regular terrestial laser scans of the studied north faces and is the connection point to the MOREXPERT II project of AlpS which runs a long-term monitoring of the surface-, subsurface- and athmosperic conditions at Kitzsteinhorn.

This project is supported by:

Related blog posts

Ruwai se - the second edition › Ruwai se
We have learnt a lot from the deployment of the Ruwai recorders within the SeisRockHt project. The new prototype, the Ruwai se, is an improved version including major software fixes and a better usability in the field. Read More ›

First permanent installation › Ruwai set free
Last week we installed two Ruwai data recorders at two field sites. One in a gallery at the foot of mount Hoher Sonnblick and another one at the top of mount Kitzsteinhorn. I’m curious if the data recorders behave as reliable as they did in the lab. Read More ›

computed with free software › Solar irradiance
Relying on solar power supply at the foot of a north face requires proper location planning. Read More ›

Sonnblick Observatory borehole seismometer › Seismometer installation
We started the installation of the seismic monitoring network at the Sonnblick Observatory. Read More ›

Exciting milestone. › First self-built Ruwai
It was the first time, that I connected to a completely self-built Ruwai data recorder. Read More ›