Spectral Characteristics of Landslide Induced Seismicity: Experimental Validation Based on the Use of an Up-Scaled Sheer Box

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Georgios Yfantis, University of Strathclyde, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Glasgow, G4, United Kingdom, Hernan Eduardo Martinez Carvajal, UNB University of Brasilia, Civil Engineering, Asa Norte, Brazil, Stella Pytharouli, University of Strathclyde, Cumbernauld, United Kingdom and Rebecca Jane Lunn, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G4, United Kingdom
Microseismic monitoring has been used for the last 20 years as a tool to understand the landslide mechanisms and to help develop a methodology able to provide real time information regarding landslide behavior. These studies involve deployment of seismic sensors at active slopes, with data usually analyzed and interpreted along with data obtained using other monitoring methods, e.g. geodetic/geotechnical monitoring. The interpretation of the records is based on a number of assumptions regarding the nature of the recorded signals resulting in big uncertainties.

In order to overcome this problem, we use an up-scaled sheer box to reproduce seismic signals as those emitted by the movement of a landslide. The experimental set up consists of a 65cm diameter and 50cm high concrete cylinder filled with unsaturated soil. The cylinder is pulled along a surficial corridor with the same type of soil under varying vertical loading conditions and the friction at the interface between the soil in cylinder and soil on corridor emits seismic signals. The signals are recorded by a network of 7 short period 3D seismic sensors at distances ranging from 4 to 15m from the cylinder.

We analyse the recorded signals in the frequency and time-frequency domain. The obtained significant frequencies range up to 120Hz. Their amplitude changes depending on the source-to-sensor distance (attenuation effect) and the applied vertical load (simulating different depths of the failure plane). The spectral characteristics of the emitted signals when compared to those of signals emitted from a vertical face failure in very similar geological and loading conditions at a nearby site are consistent. Therefore, this experimental set-up is a good analogue for the study of landslide induced seismicity.

The suggested methodology can be a powerful tool in studying the effects of the type of soil, the loading conditions on the failure plane, the degree of saturation and compaction of the soil on signals recorded during the microseismic monitoring of landslides. It allows for the study and understanding of landslide induced seismicity prior to any failure events allowing simulation of different failure scenarios and the creation of a database of signal characteristics that can be used for an accurate interpretation of the available microseismic records.