Articles | Volume 13, issue 12
Research article
09 Dec 2013
Research article |  | 09 Dec 2013

Sea cliff instability susceptibility at regional scale: a statistically based assessment in the southern Algarve, Portugal

F. M. S. F. Marques, R. Matildes, and P. Redweik

Abstract. Sea cliff evolution is dominated by the occurrence of slope mass movements of different types and sizes, which are a considerable source of natural hazard, making their assessment a relevant issue in terms of human loss prevention and land use regulations. To address the assessment of the spatial component of sea cliff hazards, i.e. the susceptibility, a statistically based study was made to assess the capacity of a set of conditioning factors to express the occurrence of sea cliff failures affecting areas located along their top.

The study was based on the application of the bivariate information value and multivariate logistic regression statistical methods, using a set of predisposing factors for cliff failures, mainly related to geology (lithology, bedding dip, faults) and geomorphology (maximum and mean slope, height, aspect, plan curvature, toe protection), which were correlated with a photogrammetry-based inventory of cliff failures that occurred in a 60 yr period (1947–2007). The susceptibility models were validated against the inventory data using standard success rate and ROC curves, and provided encouraging results, indicating that the proposed approaches are effective for susceptibility assessment. The results obtained also stress the need for improvement of the predisposing factors to be used in this type of study and the need for detailed and systematic cliff failure inventories.

Final-revised paper