Natural Hazards

, Volume 82, Issue 2, pp 1075–1098 | Cite as

Rockfall at the heritage site of the Tatlarin Underground City (Cappadocia, Turkey)

  • İsmail Dinçer
  • Ahmet Orhan
  • Paolo Frattini
  • Giovanni B. Crosta
Original Paper


Cappadocia is one of the most important natural, historical and cultural heritages of Turkey. The region is seriously threatened by different instability problems, and several locations were accordingly closed to visit, mainly because of rockfalls. The aim of current study is to investigate the rockfall hazard potential near the Tatlarin Underground City. For this purpose, an extensive engineering geological investigation was performed and complemented with a set of rockfall simulations performed by means of the 3D numerical model HY-STONE. The investigation included: (1) mapping of the lithological units (tuffs and overlying basalts, talus deposits) and of unstable blocks along the cliff; (2) rock mass geomechanics and kinematic analysis of block stability; and (3) laboratory testing of tuff and basalt. These allowed to show that the instabilities are mainly controlled by different durability of tuffs and basalts. The weakness of tuffs facilitates a progressive undercutting of the basalt layer, the opening of subvertical joints and the consequent movement of large basaltic blocks. Two future potential rockfall scenarios have been produced by 3D rockfall modelling for hazard zonation and for suggesting risk management strategies. Model parameters were calibrated by back-analysis of both historical events and field tests. Different sets of parameters have been calibrated for different release volumes to consider different degrees of interaction with slope material of different size. The effect of roughness of the topography was investigated in terms of trajectories and lateral dispersion of blocks and its consequences on hazard zonation and risk management actions.


Rockfall 3D modelling Tuff Cultural heritage Cappadocia 



This study was financially supported by the Scientific Research Projects Office of Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University (Project Number NEÜBAP13F12). We also thank Tatlarin Municipality and its employees for their assistance during the field work of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • İsmail Dinçer
    • 1
  • Ahmet Orhan
    • 1
  • Paolo Frattini
    • 2
  • Giovanni B. Crosta
    • 2
  1. 1.Geological Engineering Department, Engineering-Architecture FacultyNevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli UniversityNevşehirTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly

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