Influence of slip-surface geometry on earth-flow deformation, Montaguto earth flow, southern Italy

Geomorphology
By: , and 

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Abstract

We investigated relations between slip-surface geometry and deformational structures and hydrologic features at the Montaguto earth flow in southern Italy between 1954 and 2010. We used 25 boreholes, 15 static cone-penetration tests, and 22 shallow-seismic profiles to define the geometry of basal- and lateral-slip surfaces; and 9 multitemporal maps to quantify the spatial and temporal distribution of normal faults, thrust faults, back-tilted surfaces, strike-slip faults, flank ridges, folds, ponds, and springs. We infer that the slip surface is a repeating series of steeply sloping surfaces (risers) and gently sloping surfaces (treads). Stretching of earth-flow material created normal faults at risers, and shortening of earth-flow material created thrust faults, back-tilted surfaces, and ponds at treads. Individual pairs of risers and treads formed quasi-discrete kinematic zones within the earth flow that operated in unison to transmit pulses of sediment along the length of the flow. The locations of strike-slip faults, flank ridges, and folds were not controlled by basal-slip surface topography but were instead dependent on earth-flow volume and lateral changes in the direction of the earth-flow travel path. The earth-flow travel path was strongly influenced by inactive earth-flow deposits and pre-earth-flow drainages whose positions were determined by tectonic structures. The implications of our results that may be applicable to other earth flows are that structures with strikes normal to the direction of earth-flow motion (e.g., normal faults and thrust faults) can be used as a guide to the geometry of basal-slip surfaces, but that depths to the slip surface (i.e., the thickness of an earth flow) will vary as sediment pulses are transmitted through a flow.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Influence of slip-surface geometry on earth-flow deformation, Montaguto earth flow, southern Italy
Series title Geomorphology
DOI 10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.04.039
Volume 219
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 21 p.
First page 285
Last page 305
Country Italy