Landslides triggered by Hurricane Maria: Assessment of an extreme event in Puerto Rico
During September 2017, Hurricane Maria triggered >70,000 slope failures throughout the mountainous regions of Puerto Rico (USA). Since then, the USGS has had a multi-faceted team working to understand landslide hazards in Puerto Rico. Using aerial imagery immediately after the hurricane, an island-wide inventory of the hurricane-induced landslides created in the following years, and detailed field studies of 123 landslides, we aim to gain insight into location-specific controls on landslide characteristics, sediment generation, and the consequent hazards. This talk will review past and on-going USGS work in Puerto Rico, and preview some new work from Utuado, where the landslide density was highest. In Utuado, we have begun pairing material properties, hydrologic measurements, land-use, and erosion rates with field mapping to understand the potential frequency, or conditions, of landslide recurrence. The goal is to understand the role of storm-driven landslides as immediate hazards as well as their role in longer-term tropical landscape evolution and weathering.
Cerovski-Darriau (2022) Landslides triggered by Hurricane Maria: Assessment of an extreme event in Puerto Rico. USGS Landslide Hazards Seminar, 18 May 2022.