Articles | Volume 5, issue 3
30 May 2005
30 May 2005

Contribution of multi-temporal remote sensing images to characterize landslide slip surface ‒ Application to the La Clapière landslide (France)

B. Casson, C. Delacourt, and P. Allemand

Abstract. Landslide activity is partly controlled by the geometry of the slip surface. This activity is traduced at the surface by displacements and topographic variations. Consequently, multi-temporal remote sensing images can be used in order to characterize the geometry of landslide slip surface and its spatial and temporal evolution. Differential Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) are obtained by subtracting two DEMs of different years. A method of multi-temporal images correlation allows to generate displacement maps that can be interpreted in terms of velocity and direction of movements. These data are then used to characterize qualitatively the geometry of the slip surface of the la Clapière landslide (French Southern Alps). Distribution of displacement vectors and of topographic variations are in accordance with a curved slip surface, characterizing a preferential rotational behaviour of this landslide. On the other hand, a spatial and temporal evolution of the geometry of the slip surface is pointed out. Indeed, a propagation of the slip surface under the Iglière bar, in the W part of the landslide, is suspected and can be linked to the acceleration of the landslide in 1987. This study shows the high potential of multi-temporal remote sensing images for slip surface characterization. Although this method could not replace in situ investigations, it can really help to well distribute geophysical profiles or boreholes on unstable areas.