Reclassification of Microseismic Events through Hypocenter Location: Case Study on an Unstable Rock Face in Northern Italy

Zhiyong Zhang, Diego Arosio, Azadeh Hojat, Luigi Zanzi
2021 Geosciences  
Passive seismic methods are increasingly used in monitoring unstable rock slopes that are likely to cause rockfalls. Event classification is a basic step in microseismic monitoring. However, the classification of events generated by the propagation of fractures and rockfalls is still uncertain due to their similar features in the time and frequency domains. Hypocenter localization might be a powerful tool to distinguish events generated by fracture propagation from those caused by rockfalls. In
more » ... ed by rockfalls. In this study, a classification procedure based on hypocenter location was validated using a selected subset of high-quality data recorded by a five-geophone network installed on a steep rock slope in Northern Italy. Considering the complexity and heterogeneity of the rock mass, a 3D velocity model that was derived from a tomographic experiment was used. We performed the localization using the equal differential time method. The location results fairly fit our expectations on suspected rockfall events because most signals were located near the rock face. However, only 4 out of 20 suspected fracture events were unquestionably confirmed as fractures being located inside the rock mass and far enough from the rock face. Further improvements in location accuracy are still necessary to distinguish suspected fracture events located close to the rock face from rockfalls. This study demonstrates that hypocenter location is a promising method to improve the final classification of microseismic events.
doi:10.3390/geosciences11010037 fatcat:f52uedvy3nd33inwoaalcx3m3e