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Spatially explicit shallow landslide susceptibility mapping over large areas

June 17, 2011

Recent advances in downscaling climate model precipitation predictions now yield spatially explicit patterns of rainfall that could be used to estimate shallow landslide susceptibility over large areas. In California, the United States Geological Survey is exploring community emergency response to the possible effects of a very large simulated storm event and to do so it has generated downscaled precipitation maps for the storm. To predict the corresponding pattern of shallow landslide susceptibility across the state, we have used the model Shalstab (a coupled steady state runoff and infinite slope stability model) which susceptibility spatially explicit estimates of relative potential instability. Such slope stability models that include the effects of subsurface runoff on potentially destabilizing pore pressure evolution require water routing and hence the definition of upslope drainage area to each potential cell. To calculate drainage area efficiently over a large area we developed a parallel framework to scale-up Shalstab and specifically introduce a new efficient parallel drainage area algorithm which produces seamless results. The single seamless shallow landslide susceptibility map for all of California was accomplished in a short run time, and indicates that much larger areas can be efficiently modelled. As landslide maps generally over predict the extent of instability for any given storm. Local empirical data on the fraction of predicted unstable cells that failed for observed rainfall intensity can be used to specify the likely extent of hazard for a given storm. This suggests that campaigns to collect local precipitation data and detailed shallow landslide location maps after major storms could be used to calibrate models and improve their use in hazard assessment for individual storms.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Spatially explicit shallow landslide susceptibility mapping over large areas
Authors Dino Bellugi, William E. Dietrich, Jonathan D. Stock, Jim McKean, Brian Kazian, Paul Hargrove
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70157567
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center