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

The impact of landslides in the Umbria region, central Italy

F. Guzzetti, P. Reichenbach, M. Cardinali, F. Ardizzone, and M. Galli

Abstract. The Umbria Region of Central Italy has a long history of mass movements. Landslides range from fast moving rock falls and debris flows, most abundant in mountain areas, to slow moving complex failures extending up to several hectares in the hilly part of the Region. Despite landslides occurring every year in Umbria, their impact remains largely unknown. We present an estimate of the impact of slope failures in the Umbria region based on the analysis of a catalogue of historical information on landslide events, a recent and detailed regional landslide inventory map, and three event inventories prepared after major landslide triggering events. Emphasis is given to the impact of landslides on the population, the transportation network, and the built-up areas. Analysis of the available historical information reveals that 1488 landslide events occurred at 1292 sites in Umbria between 1917 and 2001. In the same period 16 people died or were missing and 31 people were injured by slope movements. Roads and railways were damaged by slope failures at 661 sites, and 281 built-up areas suffered landslide damage. Three event inventories showing landslides triggered by high intensity rainfall events in the period 1937–1941, rapid snow melting in January 1997, and earthquakes in September–October 1997, indicate the type, abundance and distribution of damage to the population, the built-up areas and the transportation network caused by typical landslide-triggering events. Analysis of a geomorphological landslide inventory map reveals that in some of the municipalities in the region total landslide area exceeds 25%. Of the more than 45 700 landslide areas shown in the geomorphological inventory map, 4115 intersect a road or railway, and 6119 intersect a built-up area. In these areas slope failures can be expected during future landslide triggering events.