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Abstract

The stability of submarine slopes is often characterized using campaign-based geophysical and geotechnical measurements in combination with numerical modelling. However, such one-off measurements do not reflect transient changes in slope stability. In situ monitoring of physical parameters critical for slope stability over periods of months to years can provide crucial information on slope stability and can also be used in an early-warning system for submarine landslides and the possibly resulting tsunamis. We review existing techniques that are capable of monitoring seafloor deformation over long periods of time. Based on numerical models we can identify the magnitude of parameters related to landslide-induced seafloor deformation. Simulations of three different failure scenarios up to the point of failure show that the development of the stress state of a slope and hence stability over time can be captured by measurements of tilt, pressure and strain at the seafloor. We also find that different failure mechanisms induce different deformation signals at the seafloor, in particular tilt. Hence, with a site- and target-specific survey design (or a large pool of instruments), seafloor deformation measurements in combination with numerical modelling can be used to determine the temporal evolution of slope stability as well as to identify underlying failure mechanisms.

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