Articles | Volume 15, issue 12
Research article
21 Dec 2015
Research article |  | 21 Dec 2015

Application of a fast and efficient algorithm to assess landslide-prone areas in sensitive clays in Sweden

C. Melchiorre and A. Tryggvason

Abstract. We refine and test an algorithm for landslide susceptibility assessment in areas with sensitive clays. The algorithm uses soil data and digital elevation models to identify areas which may be prone to landslides and has been applied in Sweden for several years. The algorithm is very computationally efficient and includes an intelligent filtering procedure for identifying and removing small-scale artifacts in the hazard maps produced. Where information on bedrock depth is available, this can be included in the analysis, as can information on several soil-type-based cross-sectional angle thresholds for slip. We evaluate how processing choices such as of filtering parameters, local cross-sectional angle thresholds, and inclusion of bedrock depth information affect model performance. The specific cross-sectional angle thresholds used were derived by analyzing the relationship between landslide scarps and the quick-clay susceptibility index (QCSI). We tested the algorithm in the Göta River valley. Several different verification measures were used to compare results with observed landslides and thereby identify the optimal algorithm parameters. Our results show that even though a relationship between the cross-sectional angle threshold and the QCSI could be established, no significant improvement of the overall modeling performance could be achieved by using these geographically specific, soil-based thresholds. Our results indicate that lowering the cross-sectional angle threshold from 1 : 10 (the general value used in Sweden) to 1 : 13 improves results slightly. We also show that an application of the automatic filtering procedure that removes areas initially classified as prone to landslides not only removes artifacts and makes the maps visually more appealing, but it also improves the model performance.

Final-revised paper