This paper presents the development of a three-dimensional numerical model for assessing the rockfall hazards using high resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and the probabilistic analysis based on the lumped mass method. Because the reliable prediction of rockfalls is highly related to the three-dimensional nature of actual slope geometry, the proposed model can be integrated with highly accurate DEM from ground light detection and ranging (LiDAR) measurements. This study also employs probability and statistical analysis of rockfall simulations to deal with uncertainties such as the coefficients of restitution, slope friction, and the location and velocity of where the rocks originate. This study also compares several validation examples with analytical solutions, and develops a three-dimensional numerical model of a rockfall that incorporates high-resolution DEM from ground LiDAR measurements. Results demonstrate that the proposed approach can effectively account for rockfall dynamics and may provide a useful tool for quantitative assessment of rockfall hazards. The proposed threedimensional rockfall numerical model can greatly increase the reliability of predicting rockfall trajectories using the high resolution DEM and exhibit great potential for practical applications in the future.


Due to the effects of global climate change in recent years, Taiwan has seen increasing extreme rainfall events, which dramatically increase the occurrence of rockfall hazards. The rockfall problem poses a continuous hazard in mountain areas worldwide. Rockfall dynamics, which is a function of the location of the detachment point, geometry, and mechanical properties of both the rock block and the slope, plays a crucial role in modeling the rockfall problem. However, reliable rockfall prediction is usually a difficult task because it is difficult to determine the initial conditions, the actual natural or engineered slope geometry, and the relationships describing the energy loss at impact in space and time, even after a rockfall has occurred.

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