Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Deciphering the sensitivity of rock faces to climatic changes and freeze-thaw cycles in permafrost-free regions

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.06.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Geology   

Code Science Field
1.05  Natural Sciences  Earth and related Environmental sciences 
Rockfalls, climate change, freeze-thaw cycles, permafrost-free regions, monitoring, rainfall, cracks propagation
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on May 19, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  322  5,660  4,634  14.39 
Scopus  393  7,004  5,624  14.31 
Researchers (19)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  56750  Andrej Anžel    Technical associate  2022 - 2024 
2.  35409  PhD Nejc Bezak  Hydrology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  334 
3.  10562  PhD Boštjan Brank  Civil engineering  Researcher  2021 - 2024  465 
4.  28903  Simon Detellbach    Technical associate  2022 - 2023  191 
5.  26550  PhD Jaka Dujc  Civil engineering  Researcher  2021 - 2024  50 
6.  28456  PhD Mateja Jemec Auflič  Geology  Head  2021 - 2024  263 
7.  28457  PhD Jernej Jež  Geology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  390 
8.  27605  PhD Milan Kobal  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  350 
9.  04133  PhD Polona Kralj  Geology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  167 
10.  54966  Nina Kumer  Civil engineering  Technical associate  2021 
11.  53600  Tamara Kuzmanić  Hydrology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2024  16 
12.  39204  PhD Marko Lavrenčič  Civil engineering  Researcher  2021  34 
13.  54717  Miha Marinšek  Geology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2024  15 
14.  50349  Anže Markelj    Technical associate  2022 - 2024  115 
15.  08245  PhD Matjaž Mikoš  Hydrology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  1,554 
16.  35426  PhD Tina Peternel  Geology  Researcher  2022 - 2024  157 
17.  53903  PhD Ela Šegina  Geology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  84 
18.  33141  PhD Marjana Zajc  Geology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  90 
19.  38099  PhD Manja Žebre  Geology  Researcher  2021  104 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0215  Geological Survey of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5051410000  11,263 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,832 
3.  0792  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering  Ljubljana  1626981  25,747 
The proposed research project aims to decipher the sensitivity of rock faces to climatic changes and freeze-thaw cycles in permafrost-free regions. Climate change is an increasing problem nowadays, as air temperatures are rising and heavy rainfall events are increasing, which can lead to rockfalls not only in high mountain regions but also in permafrost-free areas. Rockfalls are caused by preparatory processes (weathering and crack propagation) that gradually degrade the rock, and triggering processes (freeze-thaw activity, precipitation events, earthquakes, snow avalanches, animals, or anthropogenic activities) that eventually release a rock block. Several physical mechanisms may be involved that can manifest as rockfalls triggered by a slide or fall. For example, when daytime temperatures are high, water in the joints undergoes periodic freeze-thaw cycles. The periodic freeze-thaw cycles cause continuous expansion of the joint cracks, leading to failure of the rock mass. Because rockfalls occur suddenly and usually without visible warning signs, they are extremely difficult to predict and pose a great potential hazard to people and infrastructure. This research project focuses on investigating freeze-thaw cycles and rainfall as long-term preparatory factors for rockfalls in permafrost-free regions. In permafrost-free regions, theoretical and experimental understanding of increased rockfall activity as a consequence of climate change is poorly studied. Therefore, to determine the sensitivity of rock faces to climatic changes and freeze-thaw cycles in permafrost-free area, the following key parameters are considered: engineering geological conditions at the source of rock faces, geotechnical monitoring, and climate change scenarios. These parameters will be analyzed and modeled in two selected pilot areas where rockfall events occur daily and cause large economic and material losses. To achieve this objective, we will use a multi-method approach consisting of experimental in-situ measurements, observations and monitoring that will allow us to determine the initial state of rock instability, the associated rockfall volume and frequency, and the near-surface rock temperature. This will be accompanied by numerical modelling and simulations using the finite element method to estimate the accumulation of damage and the evolution of stress and temperature fields due to changes of ambient temperature and freeze-thaw cycles in the rock face. Based on the study of two different rock types and their predisposing factors, which often determine the susceptibility to fracture formation, the project results will provide a fundamental basis for the development of a methodology for rockfall risk management and the definition of mitigation measures and early warning actions. The results of the proposed project will also fill the gap in scientific research on the identification of climate change impacts in permafrost-free regions, which are rarely the subject of scientific studies. At the same time, the proposed multi-method approach will be transferable to the other rockfall prone areas.
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