Multi-temporal mapping of a large, slow-moving earth flow for kinematic interpretation

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Periodic movement of large, thick landslides on discrete basal surfaces produces modifications of the topographic surface, creates faults and folds, and influences the locations of springs, ponds, and streams (Baum, et al., 1993; Coe et al., 2009). The geometry of the basal-slip surface, which can be controlled by geological structures (e.g., fold axes, faults, etc.; Revellino et al., 2010; Grelle et al., 2011), and spatial variation in the rate of displacement, are responsible for differential deformation and kinematic segmentation of the landslide body. Thus, large landslides are often composed of several distinct kinematic elements. Each element represents a discrete kinematic domain within the main landslide that is broadly characterized by stretching (extension) of the upper part of the landslide and shortening (compression) near the landslide toe (Baum and Fleming, 1991; Guerriero et al., in review). On the basis of this knowledge, we used photo interpretive and GPS field mapping methods to map structures on the surface of the Montaguto earth flow in the Apennine Mountains of southern Italy at a scale of 1:6,000. (Guerriero et al., 2013a; Fig.1). The earth flow has been periodically active since at least 1954. The most extensive and destructive period of activity began on April 26, 2006, when an estimated 6 million m3 of material mobilized, covering and closing Italian National Road SS90, and damaging residential structures (Guerriero et al., 2013b). Our maps show the distribution and evolution of normal faults, thrust faults, strike-slip faults, flank ridges, and hydrological features at nine different dates (October, 1954; June, 1976; June, 1991; June, 2003; June, 2005; May, 2006; October, 2007; July, 2009; and March , 2010) between 1954 and 2010. Within the earth flow we recognized several kinematic elements and associated structures (Fig.2a). Within each kinematic element (e.g. the earth flow neck; Fig.2b), the flow velocity was highest in the middle, and lowest in the upper and lower parts. As the velocity of movement initiated and increased, stretching of the earth flow body induced the formation of normal faults. Conversely, decreasing velocity and shortening of the earth flow induced the formation of thrust faults. A zone with relatively few structures, bounded by strike-slip faults, was located between stretching and shortening areas. These kinematic elements indicate that the overall earth flow was actually composed of numerous linked internal earth flows, with each internal flow having a distinct pattern of structures representative of stretching and shortening (Guerriero et al., in review). These observations indicated that the spatial variation in movement velocity associated with each internal earth flow, mimicked the pattern of movement for the overall earth flow. That is, the earth flow displayed a self-similar pattern at different scales. Furthermore, the presence of other structures such as back-tilted surfaces, flank-ridges, and hydrological elements provide specific information about the shape of the basal topographic surface. Our multi-temporal maps provided a basis for interpretation of the long-term kinematic evolution of the earth flow and the influence of the basal-slip surface on the earth flow movement. Our maps showed that main faults remained stationary through time, despite extensive mobilization and movement of material. This observation indicated that the slip-surface has remained relatively stationary since at least 1954.
Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Abstract or summary
Title Multi-temporal mapping of a large, slow-moving earth flow for kinematic interpretation
Year Published 2014
Language English
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 1 p.
Conference Title 17th Joint Geomorphological Meeting
Conference Location Liege, Belgium
Conference Date June 30-July 3, 2014
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