We analyse the statistical pattern of seismicity before a 1-2 103 m3 chalk cliff collapse on the Normandie ocean shore, Western France. We show that a power law acceleration of seismicity rate and energy in both 40 Hz-1.5 kHz and 2 Hz-10kHz frequency range, is defined on 3 orders of magnitude, within 2 hours from the collapse time. Simultaneously, the average size of the seismic events increases toward the time to failure. These in situ results are derived from the only station located within one rupture length distance from the rock fall rupture plane. They mimic the "critical point" like behavior recovered from physical and numerical experiments before brittle failures and tertiary creep failures. Our analysis of this first seismic monitoring data of a cliff collapse suggests that the thermodynamic phase transition models for failure may apply for cliff collapse. Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union.
Additional publication details
Seismic precursory patterns before a cliff collapse and critical point phenomena