Rapid Slope Monitoring

by William F. Kane, (A.M.ASCE), Consultant; Neil O. Anderson & Associates, Lodi, CA,
Timothy J. Beck, Engineering Geologist; Caltrans, Sacramento, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 6, Pg. 56-58

Document Type: Feature article


Use of inexpensive coaxial cable rather than inclinometers has cut the cost of monitoring slope movement at seven potential landslide sites in California. The method involved is called time domain reflectometry, or TDR. The principle involved is fairly simple: when a coaxial cable is deformed, its impedance characteristics change, giving a distinctive signature that locates deformations caused by earth movement. The method has been tested at several potential landslide locations, usually by piggybacking the cable onto the casing of inclinometer installation. Advantages include rapid reading of data, safety to personnel who can do the reading from up to 2,000 ft away, and the economy of remote telemetry, which can read numerous TDR installations in real time from a convenient office. Eventually, satellite uplinks, tied in with GPS/GIS systems, may transmit the data.

Subject Headings: Cables | Slopes | Landslides | Deformation (mechanics) | Safety | Satellites | California | United States

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