Integrated monitoring of lateral spreading phenomena along the north-west coast of the Island of Malta.

Devoto S., Forte E., Mantovani M., Mocnik A., Pasuto A., Piacentini D. , Soldati M., 2013, Integrated monitoring of lateral spreading phenomena along the north-west coast of the Island of Malta., Early warning, Instrumentation and Monitoring, 2013,

Landslides, and especially lateral spreading, are responsible for the main landforms observable along the northwestern coast of the Island of Malta. A series of rock spreading phenomena, and associated mass movements, have been recognised in this area and the most significant cases have been investigated by means of a multi-technical approach which envisaged geomorphological survey and mapping, geophysical analyses and monitoring of displacements. The aim of the study was to define whether rock spreading phenomena are active along the investigated coastal stretch and, possibly, to determine the rate of movement of the most relevant cases. In this framework, a multidisciplinary approach was used and different techniques were tested and applied on a specific site, which was selected for the presence of an extensive rock spread phenomenon which may induce hazard conditions. The site is located at Il-Prajjet (Anchor Bay), a narrow inlet where a tourist attraction is located. Research activities have been carried out at Il-Prajjet since 2006 when a GPS network of eight benchmarks was installed. This technique was chosen because it proved to be a powerful tool in the study of similar ground deformation in coastal and mountain areas, showing high accuracy and reliability. Once GPS monitoring had showed that rock spreading was active, further techniques were applied in order to achieve an in-depth knowledge of the instability processes occurring at Il-Prajjet. The paper illustrates the results so far achieved thanks to GPS monitoring, tape extensometer measurements, SAR interferometric analyses and GPR investigations.

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