Articles | Volume 11, issue 10
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2765–2780, 2011

Special issue: Geo-hydrological risk and town and country planning

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2765–2780, 2011

Research article 17 Oct 2011

Research article | 17 Oct 2011

Flood susceptibility assessment in a highly urbanized alluvial fan: the case study of Sala Consilina (southern Italy)

N. Santangelo1, A. Santo2, G. Di Crescenzo2, G. Foscari3, V. Liuzza1, S. Sciarrotta3, and V. Scorpio1 N. Santangelo et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Largo San Marcellino 10, Napoli, Italy
  • 2Department of Hydraulic, Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering, Applied Geology Division, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • 3University of Salerno, Political, Social and Communications Science Department, Italy

Abstract. This paper deals with the risk assessment to alluvial fan flooding at the piedmont zone of carbonate massifs of the southern Apennines chain (southern Italy). These areas are prime spots for urban development and are generally considered to be safer than the valley floors. As a result, villages and towns have been built on alluvial fans which, during intense storms, may be affected by flooding and/or debris flow processes.

The study area is located at the foothills of the Maddalena mountains, an elongated NW-SE trending ridge which bounds to the east the wide intermontane basin of Vallo di Diano. The area comprises a wide detrital talus (bajada) made up by coalescent alluvial fans, ranging in age from the Middle Pleistocene to the Holocene. Historical analysis was carried out to ascertain the state of activity of the fans and to identify and map the zones most hit by past flooding. According to the information gathered, the Sala Consilina fans would appear prone to debris flows; in the past these processes have produced extensive damage and loss of life in the urban area. The watershed basins feeding the fans have very low response times and may produce debris flow events with high magnitudes. Taking into account the historical damage, the fan surface morphology, and the present urban development (street orientation and hydraulic network), the piedmont area was zoned and various susceptibility classes were detected. These results may represent a useful tool for studies aiming at territorial hazard mapping and civil protection interventions.