Monitoring the Structural Health of Rock Arches

June 5, 6 p.m., Teton Co. Library Auditorium– Open to Public. Presentation: “Monitoring theStructural Health of Rock Arches”.Presented by Jeff Moore, University of Utah.

2,000 natural arches, dramatic desert red rock beauty, these are  the reasons for the formation of Arches National Park (in 1929). But these features are formed by natural & ongoing processes. How permanent are these rare and wonderful sandstone phenomena? This is what speaker Jeff Moore will discuss for us.

Rock arches are dynamicnatural structures that bend, sag, sway and shake in response to environmental and anthropogenic forces. Visitors to these features are confronted with their fragile nature, however few appreciate the dynamic life of what are often perceived as static geological landforms. We measure the ambient vibration of a number of prominent rock arches in Utah, seeking to identify resonant frequencies of each feature that can be monitored over time. Measured vibrational characteristics are, in turn, controlled by internal rock properties, forming the basis for a new, non-invasion method of structural health monitoring. The goal is to understand how arches respond to changes in their environment, and ultimately be able to discern subtle changes in material properties over time. The project combines concepts from the fields of structural dynamics, seismology, rock mechanics, and geomorphology, with the goal of establishing a new method to quantitatively evaluate changes in the dynamics and stability of rock arches. Our results can inform questions surrounding conservation and public safety at some of the world’s most revered and iconic geological landforms.