Abstract

We acquired a unique ambient vibration dataset from Castleton Tower, a 120 m high bedrock monolith located near Moab, Utah, to resolve dynamic and material properties of the landform. We identified the first two resonant modes at 0.8 and 1.0 Hz, which consist of mutually perpendicular, linearly polarized horizontal ground motion at the top of the tower. Damping ratios for these modes were low at 1%. We successfully reproduced field data in 3D numerical eigenfrequency simulation implementing a Young’s modulus of 7 GPa, a value 30% lower than measured on core samples. Our analysis confirms that modal deformation at the first resonant frequencies closely resembles that of a cantilever beam. The outcome is that with basic estimates of geometry and material properties, the resonant frequencies of other freestanding rock monoliths can be estimated a priori. Such estimates are crucial to evaluate the response of rock towers to external vibration inputs.

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