Articles | Volume 2, issue 1/2
30 Jun 2002
30 Jun 2002

A geomorphological approach to the estimation of landslide hazards and risks in Umbria, Central Italy

M. Cardinali, P. Reichenbach, F. Guzzetti, F. Ardizzone, G. Antonini, M. Galli, M. Cacciano, M. Castellani, and P. Salvati

Abstract. We present a geomorphological method to evaluate landslide hazard and risk. The method is based on the recognition of existing and past landslides, on the scrutiny of the local geological and morphological setting, and on the study of site-specific and historical information on past landslide events. For each study area a multi-temporal landslide inventory map has been prepared through the interpretation of various sets of stereoscopic aerial photographs taken over the period 1941–1999, field mapping carried out in the years 2000 and 2001, and the critical review of site-specific investigations completed to solve local instability problems. The multi-temporal landslide map portrays the distribution of the existing and past landslides and their observed changes over a period of about 60 years. Changes in the distribution and pattern of landslides allow one to infer the possible evolution of slopes, the most probable type of failures, and their expected frequency of occurrence and intensity. This information is used to evaluate landslide hazard, and to estimate the associated risk. The methodology is not straightforward and requires experienced geomorphologists, trained in the recognition and analysis of slope processes. Levels of landslide hazard and risk are expressed using an index that conveys, in a simple and compact format, information on the landslide frequency, the landslide intensity, and the likely damage caused by the expected failure. The methodology was tested in 79 towns, villages, and individual dwellings in the Umbria Region of central Italy.