Articles | Volume 12, issue 3
Research article
30 Mar 2012
Research article |  | 30 Mar 2012

Critical rainfall thresholds for triggering shallow landslides in the Serchio River Valley (Tuscany, Italy)

R. Giannecchini, Y. Galanti, and G. D'Amato Avanzi

Abstract. The Serchio River Valley, in north-western Tuscany, is a well-known tourism area between the Apuan Alps and the Apennines. This area is frequently hit by heavy rainfall, which often triggers shallow landslides, debris flows and debris torrents, sometimes causing damage and death. The assessment of the rainfall thresholds for the initiation of shallow landslides is very important in order to improve forecasting and to arrange efficient alarm systems.

With the aim of defining the critical rainfall thresholds for the Middle Serchio River Valley, a detailed analysis of the main rainstorm events was carried out. The hourly rainfall recorded by three rain gauges in the 1935–2010 interval was analysed and compared with the occurrence of shallow landslides. The rainfall thresholds were defined in terms of mean intensity I, rainfall duration D, and normalized using the mean annual precipitation. Some attempts were also carried out to analyze the role of rainfall prior to the damaging events. Finally, the rainfall threshold curves obtained for the study area were compared with the local, regional and global curves proposed by various authors. The results of this analysis suggest that in the study area landslide activity initiation requires a higher amount of rainfall and greater intensity than elsewhere.