Slow moving landslides are widespread geomorphological features in the Northern Apennines of Italy where they represent one of the main landscape forming processes. The lithology of the Northern Apennines fold and thrust belt is characterized by alternations of sandstone, siltstone and clayshales, also known as flysch, and clay shales with a chaotic block in matrix fabric, which are often interpreted as tectonic or sedimentary mélanges. While flysch rocks with a high pelitic fraction host earthslides that occasionally evolve into flow like movements, earthflows are the dominant landslide type in chaotic clay shales. In the present work, we document the kinematic response to rainfall of landslides in these different lithologies using radar interferometry. The study area includes three river catchments in the Northern Apennines. Here, the Mediterranean climate is characterized by two wet seasons during autumn and spring respectively, separated by dry summers and winters with moderate precipitation. We use SAR imagery from the X-band satellite COSMO SkyMed and from the C-band satellite Sentinel 1 to retrieve spatial displacement measurements between 2009 and 2016 for 25 landslides in our area of interest. We also document detailed temporal and spatial deformation signals for eight representative landslides, although the InSAR derived deformation signal is only well constrained by our dataset during the years 2013 and 2015. In spring 2013, long enduring rainfalls struck the study area and numerous landslide reactivations were documented by the regional authorities. During 2013, we measured higher displacement rates on the landslides in pelitic flysch formations compared to the earthflows in the clay shales. Slower mean velocities were measured on most landslides during 2015. We analyse the temporal deformation signal of our eight representative landslides and compare the temporal response to precipitation. We show that earthslides in pelitic flysch formations accelerate faster than earthflows in chaotic clay shales and reach higher velocities, while the kinematic behaviour of the earthflows can be described as rather steady with only minor accelerations. Although we have no detailed pore pressure measurements for the period of interest, the observed behaviour can be explained in our view by the morphological and hydrological characteristics of the different landslide types. On the one hand landslide material and bedrock in the pelitic flysch rocks are more resistant, which is why slope angles are higher in this lithology. On the other hand, landslides in the pelitic flysch formations have often deeper slip surfaces and landslide material is more permeable. This is why long persistent rainfall is necessary to saturate the landslide material and induce pore pressures that are high enough to trigger displacement.

Deformation responses of slow moving landslides to seasonal rainfall in the Northern Apennines, measured by InSAR / Bayer, Benedikt; Simoni, Alessandro; Mulas, Marco; Corsini, Alessandro; Schmidt, David. - In: GEOMORPHOLOGY. - ISSN 0169-555X. - 308:(2018), pp. 293-306. [10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.02.020]

Deformation responses of slow moving landslides to seasonal rainfall in the Northern Apennines, measured by InSAR

Mulas, Marco;Corsini, Alessandro;
2018

Abstract

Slow moving landslides are widespread geomorphological features in the Northern Apennines of Italy where they represent one of the main landscape forming processes. The lithology of the Northern Apennines fold and thrust belt is characterized by alternations of sandstone, siltstone and clayshales, also known as flysch, and clay shales with a chaotic block in matrix fabric, which are often interpreted as tectonic or sedimentary mélanges. While flysch rocks with a high pelitic fraction host earthslides that occasionally evolve into flow like movements, earthflows are the dominant landslide type in chaotic clay shales. In the present work, we document the kinematic response to rainfall of landslides in these different lithologies using radar interferometry. The study area includes three river catchments in the Northern Apennines. Here, the Mediterranean climate is characterized by two wet seasons during autumn and spring respectively, separated by dry summers and winters with moderate precipitation. We use SAR imagery from the X-band satellite COSMO SkyMed and from the C-band satellite Sentinel 1 to retrieve spatial displacement measurements between 2009 and 2016 for 25 landslides in our area of interest. We also document detailed temporal and spatial deformation signals for eight representative landslides, although the InSAR derived deformation signal is only well constrained by our dataset during the years 2013 and 2015. In spring 2013, long enduring rainfalls struck the study area and numerous landslide reactivations were documented by the regional authorities. During 2013, we measured higher displacement rates on the landslides in pelitic flysch formations compared to the earthflows in the clay shales. Slower mean velocities were measured on most landslides during 2015. We analyse the temporal deformation signal of our eight representative landslides and compare the temporal response to precipitation. We show that earthslides in pelitic flysch formations accelerate faster than earthflows in chaotic clay shales and reach higher velocities, while the kinematic behaviour of the earthflows can be described as rather steady with only minor accelerations. Although we have no detailed pore pressure measurements for the period of interest, the observed behaviour can be explained in our view by the morphological and hydrological characteristics of the different landslide types. On the one hand landslide material and bedrock in the pelitic flysch rocks are more resistant, which is why slope angles are higher in this lithology. On the other hand, landslides in the pelitic flysch formations have often deeper slip surfaces and landslide material is more permeable. This is why long persistent rainfall is necessary to saturate the landslide material and induce pore pressures that are high enough to trigger displacement.
308
293
306
Deformation responses of slow moving landslides to seasonal rainfall in the Northern Apennines, measured by InSAR / Bayer, Benedikt; Simoni, Alessandro; Mulas, Marco; Corsini, Alessandro; Schmidt, David. - In: GEOMORPHOLOGY. - ISSN 0169-555X. - 308:(2018), pp. 293-306. [10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.02.020]
Bayer, Benedikt; Simoni, Alessandro; Mulas, Marco; Corsini, Alessandro; Schmidt, David
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11380/1157505
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