Rock arches can be monitored by their vibrations • Earth.com

Rock arches can be monitored by their vibrations

03-20-2019


Rock arches can be monitored by their vibrations Today’s Video of the Day from the National Science Foundation (NSF) describes a new method that is being used to assess the stability of natural rock arches and bridges.

A team at the University of Utah led by geologist Jeff Moore has been monitoring and modeling structures in the Arches National Park.

Each rock arch has its own distinct resonant frequency that is in constant motion. By studying these natural vibrations, the researchers can measure the condition of the structures, including the potential for collapse. Rock arches can be monitored by their vibrations as shown above in video showingDr. Moore’s research uses resonance readings to record vibrations in the rock, seeing how the rock responds. Certain frequencies can reveal the weakness in an arch’s structure. Using resonance readings, we can learn how fragile each arch is, and what that might mean for the future of the arch.  In addition to seismometers, researchers sometimes use tiltmeters and thermometers to track the arches.

At high noon, for example, scorching desert heat causes thermal expansion in the rock, imperceptible swelling and tilting; as it cools at night, those joints relax again, sagging in on themselves just like the timbers in an old house.

The research is supported by the National Science Foundation.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: NSF

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