EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Applying InfraRed Thermography (IRT) for the protection and conservation of rupestrian CH sites affected by slope instabilities

William Frodella, Daniele Spizzichino, Giovanni Gigli, Mikheil Elashvili, Claudio Margottini, and Nicola Casagli
William Frodella et al.
  • Department of Earth Sciences, University of Florence, Florence, Italy (

Rupestrian Cultural Heritage (CH) sites were among the first man-made works in the history of humanity, therefore playing a key role in building the memory and roots of human society. These sites were often carved in slopes formed by soft rocks, which due to their peculiar lithological, geotechnical and morpho-structural features are often prone to weathering, deterioration and slope instability issues. The use of advanced remote sensing (RS) techniques combined with traditional methods (e.g. field surveys, laboratory analysis), can provide fundamental data to implement a specific site-specific and inter-disciplinary approach for the sustainable protection and conservation of rupestrian CH sites. In this context Infrared Thermography (IRT), thanks to the technological development of portable high-resolution and cost-effective thermal imaging cameras, can be profitably used for the detection of CH conservation issues (namely fractures, water seepage, moisture and surface weathering). In this paper several applications of IRT in integrated methodologies for rupestrian sites conservation in mountainous regions of Georgia will be presented. The aim of this work is to evaluate the potential of IRT in the field of CH protection and conservation strategies, in order to provide a useful versatile and low-cost tool, to be profitably used in management plans of rupestrian CH characterized by similar contexts. Advantages and constraints of the adopted method will be discussed, as well as general operative recommendations and future perspectives.

How to cite: Frodella, W., Spizzichino, D., Gigli, G., Elashvili, M., Margottini, C., and Casagli, N.: Applying InfraRed Thermography (IRT) for the protection and conservation of rupestrian CH sites affected by slope instabilities, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19435,, 2020

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Display material version 1 – uploaded on 30 Apr 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-19435, Kazimierz Becek, 06 May 2020

    It sounds interesting to include the temperature field as one of the factors to study your site. However, I think the most important factor here is the gravitational force. To fuse these components, i.e., slope, temperature, water and rocks anisotropy requires a quite sophisticated model. 

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, William Frodella, 07 May 2020

      Dear Kazik, of course dealing with slope instability gravity is the main acting factor, and yes, sophisticated models including all the variables you listed would be quite nice to implement. But the scope of this work was to show a practical and rapid cost-effective and not time consuming methodology to contribute to the existing master plan for conservation activities in Vardzia. As part of the plan a Ground based SAR interferometer is monitoring the gravity-induced slope deformation for landslide early warning since 2015; our work was more focused on studying landslides predisposing factors and conservation issues (tuff weathering and detensioning of the rock mass due to moisture).