Evaluating a slope-stability model for shallow rain-induced landslides using gage and satellite data

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Improving prediction of landslide early warning systems requires accurate estimation of the conditions that trigger slope failures. This study tested a slope-stability model for shallow rainfall-induced landslides by utilizing rainfall information from gauge and satellite records. We used the TRIGRS model (Transient Rainfall Infiltration and Grid-based Regional Slope-stability analysis) for simulating the evolution of the factor of safety due to rainfall infiltration. Using a spatial subset of a well-characterized digital landscape from an earlier study, we considered shallow failure on a slope adjoining an urban transportation roadway near the Seattle area in Washington, USA.

We ran the TRIGRS model using high-quality rain gage and satellite-based rainfall data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). Preliminary results with parameterized soil depth values suggest that the steeper slope values in this spatial domain have factor of safety values that are extremely close to the failure limit within an extremely narrow range of values, providing multiple false alarms. When the soil depths were constrained using a back analysis procedure to ensure that slopes were stable under initial condtions, the model accurately predicted the timing and location of the landslide observation without false alarms over time for gage rain data. The TRMM satellite rainfall data did not show adequately retreived rainfall peak magnitudes and accumulation over the study period, and as a result failed to predict the landslide event. These preliminary results indicate that more accurate and higher-resolution rain data (e.g., the upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission) are required to provide accurate and reliable landslide predictions in ungaged basins.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Evaluating a slope-stability model for shallow rain-induced landslides using gage and satellite data
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-05050-8_67
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 6 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Landslide science for a safer geoenvironment
First page 431
Last page 436