Three-dimensional resistivity tomography in extreme coastal terrain amidst dense cultural signals: application to cliff stability assessment at the historic D-Day site Academic Article uri icon


  • Pointe du Hoc overlooking the English Channel in Normandy, France was host to one of the most important military engagements of World War II but is vulnerable to cliff collapses that threaten important German fortifications including the forward observation post (OP) and Rudder's command post. The objective of this study is to apply advanced 3-D resistivity tomography towards a detailed site stability assessment with special attention to the two at-risk buildings. 3-D resistivity tomography data sets at Pointe du Hoc in the presence of extreme topography and dense cultural clutter have been successfully acquired, inverted and interpreted. A cliff stability hazard assessment scheme has been designed in which regions of high resistivity are interpreted as zones of open, dry fractures with a moderate mass movement potential. Regions of low resistivity are zones of wet, clay-filled fractures with a high mass movement potential. The OP tomography results indicate that the highest mass movement hazard appears to be associated with the marine caverns at the base of the cliff that are positioned at the point of strongest wave attack. These caverns likely occupy the future site of development of a sea arch that will threaten the OP building. The mass movement potential at the Rudder's command post area is low to moderate. The greatest risk there is associated with soil wedge failures at the top of the cliffs. 2011 The Authors Geophysical Journal International 2011 RAS.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Udphuay, S., Guenther, T., Everett, M. E., Warden, R. R., & Briaud, J.

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

  • Udphuay, Suwimon||Guenther, Thomas||Everett, Mark E||Warden, Robert R||Briaud, Jean-Louis

publication date

  • April 2011