Simulation of fragmental rockfalls detected using terrestrial laser scans from rock slopes in south-central British Columbia, Canada

Sala, Zac; Hutchinson, D. Jean; Harrap, Rob

Rockfall presents an ongoing challenge to the safe operation of transportation infrastructure, creating hazardous conditions which can result in damage to roads and railways, as well as loss of life. Rockfall risk assessment frameworks often involve the determination of rockfall runout in an attempt to understand the likelihood that rockfall debris will reach an element at risk. Rockfall modelling programs which simulate the trajectory of rockfall material are one method commonly used to assess potential runout. This study aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of a rockfall simulation prototype which uses the Unity 3D game engine. The technique is capable of simulating rockfall events comprised of many mobile fragments, a limitation of many industry standard rockfall modelling programs. Five fragmental rockfalls were simulated using the technique, with slope and rockfall geometries constructed from high-resolution terrestrial laser scans. Simulated change detection was produced for each of the events and compared to the actual change detection results for each rockfall as a basis for testing model performance. In each case the simulated change detection results aligned well with the actual observed change in terms of location and magnitude. An example of how the technique could be used to support the design of rockfall catchment ditches is shown. Suggestions are made for future development of the simulation technique with a focus on better informing simulated rockfall fragment size and the timing of fragmentation.

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Sala, Zac / Hutchinson, D. Jean / Harrap, Rob: Simulation of fragmental rockfalls detected using terrestrial laser scans from rock slopes in south-central British Columbia, Canada. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Zac Sala et al.

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