La Jument lighthouse: a real-scale laboratory for the study of giant waves and their loading on marine structures


This paper presents results from an experiment designed to improve the understanding of the relationship between extreme breaking waves and their mechanical loading on heritage offshore lighthouses. The experiment, conducted at La Jument, an iconic French offshore lighthouse, featured several records of wave, current and structure accelerations acquired during severe storm conditions, with individual waves as high as 24 m. Data analysis focuses on a storm event marked by a strong peak in the horizontal accelerations measured inside La Jument. Thanks to stereo-video wave measurements synchronized to the acceleration record we were able to identify and describe the breaking wave responsible for this intense loading. Our observations suggest that this giant wave (19 m high) had a crest elevation high enough to directly hit the lighthouse tower, above the substructure. This paper reveals the potential for conducting ambitious field experiments from offshore lighthouses in order to collect valuable storm waves and wave loading observations. This offers a possible second service life for these heritage structures as in situ laboratories dedicated to the study of the coastal hydrodynamics and its interaction with marine structures.
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