The Time-Frequency Signatures of Advanced Seismic Signals Generated by Debris Flows

Friday, 19 December 2014
Chung-Ray Chu1, Ching-Jer Huang2, Ching-ren Lin3, Chau-chang Wang1, Ban-Yuan Kuo3 and Hsiao-Yuan Yin4, (1)Institute of Undersea Technology, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, (2)Department of Hydraulic and Ocean Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, (3)Institute of Earth Sciences Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, (4)Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, Council of Agriculture, Nantou, Taiwan
The seismic monitoring is expected to reveal the process of debris flow from the initial area to alluvial fan, because other field monitoring techniques, such as the video camera and the ultrasonic sensor, are limited by detection range. For this reason, seismic approaches have been used as the detection system of debris flows over the past few decades. The analysis of the signatures of the seismic signals in time and frequency domain can be used to identify the different phases of debris flow. This study dedicates to investigate the different stages of seismic signals due to debris flow, including the advanced signal, the main front, and the decaying tail. Moreover, the characteristics of the advanced signals forward to the approach of main front were discussed for the warning purpose. This study presents a permanent system, composed by two seismometers, deployed along the bank of Ai-Yu-Zi Creek in Nantou County, which is one of the active streams with debris flow in Taiwan. The three axes seismometer with frequency response of 7 sec – 200 Hz was developed by the Institute of Earth Sciences (IES), Academia Sinica for the purpose to detect debris flow. The original idea of replacing the geophone system with the seismometer technique was for catching the advanced signals propagating from the upper reach of the stream before debris flow arrival because of the high sensitivity. Besides, the low frequency seismic waves could be also early detected because of the low attenuation. However, for avoiding other unnecessary ambient vibrations, the sensitivity of seismometer should be lower than the general seismometer for detecting teleseism. Three debris flows with different mean velocities were detected in 2013 and 2014. The typical triangular shape was obviously demonstrated in time series data and the spectrograms of the seismic signals from three events. The frequency analysis showed that enormous debris flow bearing huge boulders would induce low frequency seismic waves. Owing to the less attenuation of low frequency waves, advanced signals mainly ranged between 2 and 10 Hz were detected in several minutes prior to the arrival of the main surge of a debris flow. As the results, the prior time of the advanced signals could be used not only to extend the warning time, but also to identify the initial location of a developing debris flow.