Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
18 Mar 2005
18 Mar 2005

The debris flow hazard in the Lagarelle Creek in the eastern Umbria region, central Italy

P. Conversini, D. Salciarini, G. Felicioni, and A. Boscherini

Abstract. This paper analyzes the Lagarelle Creek watershed, situated in the Municipality of Vallo di Nera, in the eastern Umbria region, central Italy. In this part of the Region, narrow valleys and very steep slopes characterize the morphology of the Appennine ridge. The presence of strongly-tectonized rocky masses, subdivided by several joint systems, is the main cause for the formation of sorted debris deposits, which accumulate mainly along the topographic convergences. This determines the conditions for possible events of debris flows.

According to previous studies, the basin of the Lagarelle Creek, has been classified as an area prone to a high hazard of debris flows (Regione dell'Umbria – C.N.R. I.R.P.I., 1996). For this reason, systematic studies have been carried out on the whole watershed which, in this first phase, have examined the definition of the geological and morphological features of the zone, by means of the acquisition of cartographies and of field surveys, and the elaboration of the topographical data of the basin, by means of a digital model of the terrain.

Once the potential triggering areas of debris flows were identified, an assessment of the mobilizable volumes possibly involved in a debris flow event was carried out. To perform such an assessment both the geomorphologic method proposed by Hungr (Hungr et al., 1984) and the empirical relations calibrated on debris flow events of the alpine arc were applied. The results obtained were compared with those derived from information supplied by the inhabitants of the small mountain village, who have described in detail the most important events of the last century.