Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Map data from landslides triggered by Hurricane Maria in four study areas of Puerto Rico

December 11, 2019

In September 2017, Hurricane Maria caused widespread landsliding throughout mountainous regions of Puerto Rico. Nearly all landslides mobilized as debris flows (Bessette-Kirton et al., 2019), but herein, we simply use the term "landslides" when describing all types of slope failures that occurred during Hurricane Maria. To examine the extent and physical characteristics of landslides in severely impacted areas (defined as having high landslide density (>25 landslides/km2) by Bessette-Kirton et al., 2017, 2019), we mapped individual landslides at scales between 1:600 and 1:1,000 in four 2.5 km2 study areas in the Mayaguez/Anasco/Las Marias (LAM1), Las Marias/Lares (LAM2), Naranjito (NAR), and Utuado (UTU) municipalities. We used aerial imagery collected between 9-15 October 2017 (Quantum Spatial, Inc., 2017) to map landslide source and runout areas. In addition to imagery, we used 1 m-resolution pre-event LiDAR (U.S. Geological Survey, 2018) as a digital base map for our mapping. The map data consist of landslide polygons, headscarp points, and travel distance lines. Each landslide polygon includes the total affected area (LSArea) and the number of mapped headscarp points (HeadscarpPoints). Each headscarp point contains attributes for the elevation measured at the distal end of the associated travel distance line (MinElev), the elevation at the headscarp point (MaxElev), slope at the headscarp point (Slope), aspect at the headscarp point (Aspect), the length of the associated maximum travel distance line (MaxTravelDist), and the ratio of total fall height (H: MaxElev-MinElev) to maximum travel distance (L: MaxTravelDist). Each travel distance line includes the length of the line (MaxTravelDist). Areas containing a combination of landslide and flood deposits were mapped as landslide/flood deposits (LSFlood). The data also include study area boundaries (AOIs). The data are provided as ArcGIS point, line, and polygon feature class files, all of which are contained within a file geodatabase (PRMariaLandslides.gdb). References: Bessette-Kirton, E.K., Cerovski-Darriau, C., Schulz, W.H., Coe, J.A., Kean, J.W., Godt, J.W, Thomas, M.A., and Hughes, K. Stephen, 2019, Landslides Triggered by Hurricane Maria: Assessment of an Extreme Event in Puerto Rico: GSA Today, v. 29, doi:10.1130/GSATG383A.1 Bessette-Kirton, E.K., Coe, J.A., Godt, J.W., Kean, J.W., Rengers, F.K., Schulz, W.H., Baum, R.L., Jones, E.S., and Staley, D.M., 2017, Map data showing concentration of landslides caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7JD4VRF. Quantum Spatial, Inc., 2017, FEMA PR Imagery: https://s3.amazonaws.com/fema-cap-imagery/Others/Maria (accessed October 2017). U.S. Geological Survey, 2018, USGS NED Original Product Resolution PR Puerto Rico 2015: http://nationalmap.gov/elevation.html (accessed October 2018).