A Ready to Use GRASS GIS Workbench for Rockfall Analysis

  • Andrea FilipelloEmail author
  • Giuseppe Mandrone


Open Source software is of great interest to many users and developers. One of the main advantages is that users can develop and adapt it to suit their purposes. This work shows modules developed into GRASS GIS for rockfall analysis. Modules examine both the potential failure detection (rockfall susceptibility) and the area of potential propagation. The study investigate three different mechanisms of failure: planar sliding, wedge sliding and toppling. The modules for rockfall susceptibility are called r.SMR, r.SSPC, r.fsplanar, r.wedgeSMR and r.wedgeSSPC according to the method of analysis adopted, while r.droka is the name of the module developed for the propagation of the landslide. Input data are both numbers and raster maps. GIS modules have been tested with good results in Ossola Valley and, in general, they should be applied in geological settings where the failure mechanism is mainly governed by discontinuity sets.


Rockfall susceptibility GIS Open source Rock mass classification Laser scanner 



The authors are grateful to the Provincia del Verbano Cusio Ossola Geologic Service for providing data and laser scanner survey and to support the study.


  1. AA.VV (2006) Progetto Interreg IIIa 2000–2006 Itineracharta. Elaborati numerici e cartograficiGoogle Scholar
  2. Bieniawski ZT (1989) Engineering rock mass classifications. Wiley, New York, 251pGoogle Scholar
  3. Bigioggero B, Boriani A, Giobbi ME (1977) Microstructure and mineralogy of an orthogneiss (Antigorio Gneiss – Lepontine Alps). Rend Soc It Mineral Petrol 33:99–108Google Scholar
  4. Boriani A, Giobbi E (2004) Does the basement of western Alps display a tilted section through the continental crust? A review and discussion. Periodica Mineral 73(special issue 2):5–22Google Scholar
  5. Boriani A, Caironi V, Giobbi OE, Vannucci R (1992) The Permian intrusive rocks of Serie dei Laghi (Western Southern Alps). Acta Vulcanol 2:73–86Google Scholar
  6. Bornaz L (2005) LSR 2004 software. A solution to manage terrestrial laser scanner point clouds and solid images. In: International workshop on recording, modeling and visualization of cultural heritage. Centro S. Franscini Monte Verità Ascona (Suisse). 22–27 maggio 2005, pp 479–484, ISBN/ISSN: 041539208XGoogle Scholar
  7. Cannata M, Molinari M (2008) Natural hazards and risk assessment: the FOSS4G capabilities. In: Proceedings of the academic track of the 2008 Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) conference, incorporating the GISSA 2008 conference, Cape Town, 29 Sept–3 Oct 2008, pp 172–181, ISBN 978-0-620-42117-1Google Scholar
  8. Chacón J, Irigaray C, Fernández T, El HR (2006) Engineering geology maps: landslides and geographical information systems. Bull Eng Geol Environ 65:344–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Corominas J (1996) The angle of reach as a mobility index for small and large landslides. Can Geotech J 33:260–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crosta GB, Agliardi F, Frattini P, Imposimato S (2004) A three-dimensional hybrid numerical model for rockfall simulation. Geophys Res Abstr 6, n. 0450Google Scholar
  11. Cruden DM, Varnes DJ (1996) Landslide types and processes. In: Turner AK, Schuster RL (eds) Landslides: investigation and mitigation, vol 247, Transportation research board, special report. National Research Council, Washington, DC, pp 36–75Google Scholar
  12. Evans SG, Hungr O (1993) The assessment of rock fall hazard at the base of the talus slope. Can Geotech J 30:620–636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hack HRGK (1998) Slope stability probability classification. ITC publication no 43, Enschede, Netherlands, ISBN: 90 6164 125 X, 258 pGoogle Scholar
  14. Hack HRGK, Price D, Rengers N (2003) A new approach to rock slope stability – a probability classification (SSPC). Bull Eng Geol Environ. Springer, vol 62: article: DOI:  10.1007/s10064-002-0155-4, pp 167–184 & erratum: DOI:  10.1007/s10064-002-0171-4, pp 185–185
  15. Hack HRGK, Slob S, Feng Q, Röshoff K, Turner AK (2007) Fracture mapping using 3D laser scanning techniques. In: e Sousa LR, Rossmann CON (eds) 11th congress of ISRM, Lisbon, Portugal, 9–13 July, 2007. Taylor & Francis/Balkema, Leiden. Specialised session 9; S09 – 3D laser scanning applied to geotechnical problems, vol 1, 9–13 July 2007, pp 299–302Google Scholar
  16. Harlen J, Viberg L (1988) General report: evaluation of landslide hazard. In: Bonnard C (ed) Proceedings of the 5th international symposium on landslides, vol 2. Lausanne, pp 1037–1058Google Scholar
  17. Hoek E, Bray JW (1981) Rock slope engineering, 3rd edn. Taylor & Francis, London, 358pGoogle Scholar
  18. ISRM (1978) Suggested methods for the quantitative description of discontinuities in rock masses. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 15(6):319–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jaboyedoff M., Labiouse V (2003) CONEFALL: a program for the quick preliminary estimation of the rock-fall potential of propagation zones. ( (3 Dec 2012)
  20. Priest SD (1993) Discontinuity analysis for rock engineering. Chapman & Hall, London, 473pCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Romana M (1985) New adjustment ratings for application of Bieniawski classification to slopes. In: International symposium on the role of rock mechanics, Zacatecas, pp 49–53Google Scholar
  22. Tomás JR, Delgado MJ, Serón GJB (2007) Modification of slope mass rating (SMR) by continuous functions. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 44(7):1062–1069CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversità degli Studi di TorinoTorinoItaly

Personalised recommendations