Since 2005, Turtle Mountain has been the site of ongoing monitoring and research focused on understanding the structure and kinematics of movements of the unstable eastern slopes. As this site provides a rich dataset and optimal conditions for the application of new and evolving warning and characterization technologies, the site has been termed the ‘Turtle Mountain Field Laboratory’. This report provides a summary of both the results and the lessons learned from the Turtle Mountain monitoring system (TMMS) and from studies undertaken by the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) and collaborators between January 1 and December 31, 2015.
The TMMS is a near-real-time early warning monitoring system that provides data from a network of eight geotechnical sensors on South Peak of Turtle Mountain (site of the 1903 Frank Slide) in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. As of April 1, 2005, the AGS took ownership of this system and the responsibility for long-term monitoring, interpretation of data, and notification of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency should significant movements occur.
As part of this responsibility, the AGS performs an annual detailed review of the data stream. To help in this interpretation, the AGS initiated specific studies to better understand the structure of the mountain and its relationship to the style and rate of movement seen in recent and historical deformations of South Peak. These studies also better define the unstable volumes of rock from the South, North and Third Peak areas.
This report comprises three main sections.
The first section contains information about the major changes to the TMMS’ network during the 2015 field season. This includes a review of the main repair and maintenance activities, synopsis of abandoned stations, and a summary of system performance and reliability.
The second section provides data analysis and interpretation for the primary and secondary instrumentation. These interpretations include slope conditions and displacement behaviour from instrumentation results.
The third section reviews the expert panel report and the future of the Turtle Mountain Monitoring Program. A final review of the expert panel report outlines the suggested changes by reviewing the mountain site characterization and hazard assessment, transition of the early warning monitoring system practices, and recommendation for the future of the project. This section includes information on the open house hosted by the AER in the Crowsnest Pass and AGS’ transition from a near-real-time early warning system to a near-real-time remote monitoring system.
Wood, D.E., Chao, D.K., and Shipman, T.C. (2017): Turtle Mountain Field Laboratory, Alberta (NTS 82G): 2015 data and activity summary; Alberta Energy Regulator, AER/AGS Open File Report 2017-03, 21 p.