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Title: Dynamics of the Bingham Canyon rock avalanches (Utah, USA) resolved from topographic, seismic, and infrasound data: Bingham Canyon Rock Avalanches

The 2013 Bingham Canyon Mine rock avalanches represent one of the largest cumulative landslide events in recorded U.S. history and provide a unique opportunity to test remote analysis techniques for landslide characterization. We combine aerial photogrammetry surveying, topographic reconstruction, numerical runout modeling, and analysis of broadband seismic and infrasound data to extract salient details of the dynamics and evolution of the multiphase landslide event. Our results reveal a cumulative intact rock source volume of 52 Mm 3, which mobilized in two main rock avalanche phases separated by 1.5 h. We estimate that the first rock avalanche had 1.5–2 times greater volume than the second. Each failure initiated by sliding along a gently dipping (21°), highly persistent basal fault before transitioning to a rock avalanche and spilling into the inner pit. The trajectory and duration of the two rock avalanches were reconstructed using runout modeling and independent force history inversion of intermediate-period (10–50 s) seismic data. Intermediate- and shorter-period (1–50 s) seismic data were sensitive to intervals of mass redirection and constrained finer details of the individual slide dynamics. Back projecting short-period (0.2–1 s) seismic energy, we located the two rock avalanches within 2 and 4 km of the mine. Furthermore » analysis of infrasound and seismic data revealed that the cumulative event included an additional 11 smaller landslides (volumes ~10 4–10 5 m 3) and that a trailing signal following the second rock avalanche may result from an air-coupled Rayleigh wave. These results demonstrate new and refined techniques for detailed remote characterization of the dynamics and evolution of large landslides.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Dept. of Geology and Geophysics
  2. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Atmospheric Earth and Energy Division
  3. Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC (Canada). Dept. of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
  4. Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK (United States). Geophysical Inst.
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9003
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Earth Surface
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9003
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: