Alarm and monitoring systems for debris and mud flows

Development of alarm and monitoring systems for debris flows and mud flows. (ALMOND)

The coross-section of the Marderello torrent where the stage sensor is installed, visible above the bridge.

Background

Monitoring of debris flows in instrumented areas is carried out since many years in different Countries worldwide. It is still missing, however, an adequate standardization of methodologies, instrumentations and procedures. The instrumented areas are also employed for testing warning systems. Even though these latter have been more and more employed, a systematic experimentation of these systems has not yet been carried out.

Purpose

Realization of effective monitoring and warning systems for the different typologies of processes occurring in a mountain torrent (debris-flows, mud-flows, hyper-concentrated flows) to reach a standardization of methodologies, instruments and procedures. Utilize the two existent instrumented areas to develop and test warning algorithms and systems for debris-flows and mud-flows, carrying out a systematic experimentation of both.

Methods

Through a collaboration with the company Siap+Micros, leader in Italy for environmental monitoring, a multi-sensor recording unit has been setup for the multi parametric monitoring of debris flows and mudflows. The unit allows the testing of warning algorithms. It is currently installed in the two instrumented areas available for the projects.

Results

The multi-sensor recording unit realized in collaboration with the company Siap+Micros is installed since 2012 in both the instrumented areas available for researches and has recorded three events until now. The acquired data have allowed the setup of a warning algorithm that in 2013 has efficiently detected the arrival of a debris flow. The algorithm is based on the processing of micro seismic data.

Products

The researches carried out so far have allowed to setup, in collaboration with the Company Siap+Micros, a prototype of warning system, named ALMOND-F, that allows to detect the propagation of a debris flow through the processing of micro seismic data. The system is being currently developed to make it capable of also identifying the magnitude of a debris flow.

Conclusions

Standardization of methodologies, instrumentations and procedures currently used for the monitoring of debris flow and mud flow is an unavoidable need  to make adequate progresses in the study of these phenomena. The development and systematic test of algorithms and warning systems is important for protection purposes as much. The project is intended to deliver a significant contribution to these issues.