Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data were used to visually map landslides, headscarps, and denuded slopes in Seattle, Washington. Four times more landslides were mapped than by previous efforts that used aerial photographs. The mapped landforms (landslides, headscarps, and denuded slopes) were created by many individual landslides. The spatial distribution of mapped landforms and 1308 historical landslides show that historical landslide activity has been concentrated on the mapped landforms, and that most of the landslide activity that created the landforms was prehistoric. Thus, the spatial densities of historical landslides on the landforms provide approximations of the landforms' relative susceptibilities to future landsliding. Historical landslide characteristics appear to be closely related to landform type so relative susceptibilities were determined for landslides with various characteristics. No strong relations were identified between stratigraphy and landslide occurrence; however, landslide characteristics and slope morphology appear to be related to stratigraphic conditions. Human activity is responsible for causing about 80% of historical Seattle landslides. The distribution of mapped landforms and human-caused landslides suggests the probable characteristics of future human-caused landslides on each of the landforms. The distribution of mapped landforms and historical landslides suggests that erosion of slope-toes by surface water has been a necessary condition for causing Seattle landslides. Human activity has largely arrested this erosion, which implies that landslide activity will decrease with time as hillsides naturally stabilize. However, evaluation of glacial-age analogs of areas of recent slope-toe erosion suggests that landslide activity in Seattle will continue for the foreseeable future. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Landslide susceptibility revealed by LIDAR imagery and historical records, Seattle, Washington