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Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

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 
Keywords
Rockfalls, climate change, freeze-thaw cycles, permafrost-free regions, monitoring, rainfall, cracks propagation
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Points
8,536.87
A''
1,443
A'
4,638.74
A1/2
5,458.41
CI10
3,956
CImax
162
h10
31
A1
28.33
A3
15.75
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on February 8, 2023; A3 for period 2016-2020
Data for ARRS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  291  4,469  3,544  12.18 
Scopus  348  5,496  4,294  12.34 
Researchers (15)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  35409  PhD Nejc Bezak  Hydrology  Researcher  2021 - 2023  264 
2.  10562  PhD Boštjan Brank  Civil engineering  Researcher  2021 - 2023  445 
3.  26550  PhD Jaka Dujc  Civil engineering  Researcher  2021 - 2023  47 
4.  28456  PhD Mateja Jemec Auflič  Geology  Principal Researcher  2021 - 2023  242 
5.  28457  PhD Jernej Jež  Geology  Researcher  2021 - 2023  351 
6.  27605  PhD Milan Kobal  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2021 - 2023  339 
7.  04133  PhD Polona Kralj  Geology  Researcher  2021 - 2023  161 
8.  54966  Nina Kumer  Civil engineering  Technician  2021 - 2023 
9.  53600  Tamara Kuzmanić  Hydrology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2023 
10.  39204  PhD Marko Lavrenčič  Civil engineering  Researcher  2021 - 2023  33 
11.  54717  Miha Marinšek  Geology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2023 
12.  08245  PhD Matjaž Mikoš  Hydrology  Researcher  2021 - 2023  1,516 
13.  53903  PhD Ela Šegina  Geology  Researcher  2021 - 2023  67 
14.  33141  PhD Marjana Zajc  Geology  Researcher  2021 - 2023  72 
15.  38099  PhD Manja Žebre  Geology  Researcher  2021 - 2023  92 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0215  Geological Survey of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5051410000  10,270 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  64,118 
3.  0792  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering  Ljubljana  1626981  25,810 
Abstract
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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