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Combined use of geophysical methods and remote techniques for characterizing the fracture network of a potential unstable cliff site (the “Roche du Midi”, Vercors massif, France)

Abstract : Stability assessment of a cliff strongly depends on the fracture pattern and the face topography. Geological observations as well as classical geodetic measurements are difficult to perform on high nearly vertical cliffs like the ones surrounding the town of Grenoble (French Alps). In this study we combine remote and ground imaging techniques for characterizing the geometry and the fracture pattern of potential unstable cliff sites. A Dense Digital Surface Model (DDSM) of the rock face can now be obtained from laser scanning (Lidar) or photogrammetry. These techniques are safer and quicker than direct measurements. They offer the possibility to collect structural data and to sample the shape of the outcrop at a centimetric resolution. We applied these two techniques to a potential unstable site (the “Roche du Midi”, Vercors massif) for determining the main fracture families affecting the rock mass and we obtained results similar to direct measurements performed on the nearby outcrops and on the cliff face itself. The laser scanning data suffers a bias in the illumination of the site. Geophysical experiments were also conducted on the plateau and on the cliff face in order to delineate the fracture pattern inside the rock mass. ERT (Electrical Resistivity Tomography) and GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) profiles were performed on the plateau and allowed near-vertical open fractures to be located in the vicinity of the surface. Best geophysical results in terms of penetration and resolution were however obtained from GPR profiles conducted directly on the cliff face. Laser scanning data were combined with GPR data in order to take into account the shape of the sampled profiles. The combination of vertical and short horizontal profiles allowed the strike and dip of the discontinuities to be determined. The two main families were imaged, as well as a major continuous inward dipping reflector which was not shown during the initial reconnaissance. Further investigation inside the mass effectively showed the existence of this fracture. These results highlight the power of the GPR technique in characterizing the discontinuity pattern inside rock mass for improving the model in view of hazard assessment.
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Jacques Deparis, Bruno Fricout, Denis Jongmans, Thierry Villemin, Laurent Effendiantz, et al.. Combined use of geophysical methods and remote techniques for characterizing the fracture network of a potential unstable cliff site (the “Roche du Midi”, Vercors massif, France). Journal of Geophysics and Engineering, IOP Publishing, 2008, pp.1-17. ⟨10.1088/1742-2132/5/2/002⟩. ⟨insu-00277855⟩

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