Articles | Volume 3, issue 5
31 Oct 2003
31 Oct 2003

Large scale debris-flow hazard assessment: a geotechnical approach and GIS modelling

G. Delmonaco, G. Leoni, C. Margottini, C. Puglisi, and D. Spizzichino

Abstract. A deterministic distributed model has been developed for large-scale debris-flow hazard analysis in the basin of River Vezza (Tuscany Region – Italy). This area (51.6 km 2 ) was affected by over 250 landslides. These were classified as debris/earth flow mainly involving the metamorphic geological formations outcropping in the area, triggered by the pluviometric event of 19 June 1996. In the last decades landslide hazard and risk analysis have been favoured by the development of GIS techniques permitting the generalisation, synthesis and modelling of stability conditions on a large scale investigation (>1:10 000). In this work, the main results derived by the application of a geotechnical model coupled with a hydrological model for the assessment of debris flows hazard analysis, are reported. This analysis has been developed starting by the following steps: landslide inventory map derived by aerial photo interpretation, direct field survey, generation of a database and digital maps, elaboration of a DTM and derived themes (i.e. slope angle map), definition of a superficial soil thickness map, geotechnical soil characterisation through implementation of a backanalysis on test slopes, laboratory test analysis, inference of the influence of precipitation, for distinct return times, on ponding time and pore pressure generation, implementation of a slope stability model (infinite slope model) and generalisation of the safety factor for estimated rainfall events with different return times. Such an approach has allowed the identification of potential source areas of debris flow triggering. This is used to detected precipitation events with estimated return time of 10, 50, 75 and 100 years. The model shows a dramatic decrease of safety conditions for the simulation when is related to a 75 years return time rainfall event. It corresponds to an estimated cumulated daily intensity of 280–330 mm. This value can be considered the hydrological triggering threshold for the whole Vezza basin.