The objective of this paper is to identify water-flow patterns in part of an active landslide, through the use of numerical simulations and data obtained during a field study. The approaches adopted include measuring rainfall events and pore-pressure responses in both saturated and unsaturated soils at the site. To account for soil variability, the Richards equation is solved within deterministic and stochastic frameworks. The deterministic simulations considered average water-retention data, adjusted retention data to account for stones or cobbles, retention functions for a heterogeneous pore structure, and continuous retention functions for preferential flow. The stochastic simulations applied the Monte Carlo approach which considers statistical distribution and autocorrelation of the saturated conductivity and its cross correlation with the retention function. Although none of the models is capable of accurately predicting field measurements, appreciable improvement in accuracy was attained using stochastic, preferential flow, and heterogeneous pore-structure models. For the current study, continuum-flow models provide reasonable accuracy for practical purposes, although they are expected to be less accurate than multi-domain preferential flow models.
Additional publication details
Identifying variably saturated water-flow patterns in a steep hillslope under intermittent heavy rainfall