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Towards automated monitoring of alpine mass movements for early warning purposes

 

Early warning systems of mass movements often use different instrumentation to detect events. Since the events occur within short time windows, however, observations with static instruments are difficult. This project aims at setting up an interactive network of autonomously communicating instruments to capture processes happening during and directly after alpine mass movements, and debris flows in particular. The investigations will target the Illgraben catchment, Valais. The project's key innovation is to trigger an autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) through seismic detections. The UAV will fly along the torrent, and collect imagery of both the flow front and the sediment source areas. Close-range photogrammetry techniques will be used to extract terrain movement. The collected data will allow for insights into debris flow dynamics, provide input for numerical models, and inform risk assessment and mitigation measures.