Masters Theses

Keywords and Phrases

Light Detection and Ranging Data (LiDAR); Point cloud; ScanStation2


"There are many natural hazards which threaten the stability of highway infrastructure and the safety of motoring public. Rockfall and unstable slopes are one of the major concerns. This thesis describes a method which safely and accurately evaluates rockfall on rock outcrops through the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data. LiDAR is an imaging technology which can be used to measure and evaluate possible rock outcrop hazards such as: rockfall, rock-avalanches, debris flows, and landslides. LiDAR produces a three dimensional point cloud of millions of points which gives spatial data on the scanned object, accurate to millimeters, in minutes. The point cloud can be exported to different formats which then can be analyzed using specialized software.

The software used for LiDAR data processing was developed here at Missouri University of Science and Technology using C++ with two open source libraries: OpenCV and OpenG [Trademark]. The program aligns two point clouds and calculates the volume found in between. The volume is the rockfall over time between the two scan dates used. The rockfall volume data is then correlated with rockfall triggering events, such as freeze and thaw cycles, precipitation levels, and seismic (blasting) data.

Very few rockfall volume correlations could be made with the rockfall triggering events at the outcrops tested, but further research should be done on the process with other types of rock outcrops. Some possible improvement areas are discussed in the last couple sections of this thesis. Also included are step-by-step instructions for reproducibility of the research"--Abstract, page iii.


Maerz, Norbert H.

Committee Member(s)

Cawlfield, Jeffrey D.
Rogers, J. David


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Geological Sciences


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Fall 2012


x, 68 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 79-80).


© 2012 Travis James Kassebaum, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Rocks -- Stability -- Monitoring
Slopes (Soil mechanics) -- Stability

Thesis Number

T 10117

Print OCLC #


Electronic OCLC #


Included in

Geology Commons