Relationship between rainfall and shallow landslides in the southern Apuan Alps (Italy)
Abstract. The Apuan Alps region is one of the rainiest areas in Italy (more than 3000 mm/year), in which frequently heavy and concentrated rainfall occurs. This is particularly due to its geographical position and conformation: the Apuan chain is located along the northern Tuscan coast, close to the Ligurian Sea, and the main peaks reach almost 2000 m. In several cases, the storms that hit the area have triggered many shallow landslides (soil slip-debris flows), which exposed the population to serious risks (during the 19 June 1996 rainstorm about 1000 landslides were triggered and 14 people died). The assessment of the rainfall thresholds is very important in order to prepare efficient alarm systems in a region particularly dedicated to tourism and marble activities.
With the aim of contributing to the landslide hazard evaluation of the southern Apuan Alps territory (upper Versilia area), a detailed analysis of the main pluviometric events was carried out. The data recorded at the main rain gauge of the area from 1975 to 2002 were analysed and compared with the occurrence of soil slips, in order to examine the relationship between soil slip initiation and rainfall. The most important rainstorms which triggered shallow landslides occurred in 1984, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000.
Many attempts were made to obtain a possible correlation between rainfall parameters and the occurrence of soil slip phenomena and to identify the local rainfall threshold for triggering shallow landslides. A threshold for soil slip activity in terms of mean intensity, duration and mean annual precipitation (MAP) was defined for the study area. The thresholds obtained for the southern Apuan Alps were also compared with those proposed by other authors for several regions in the world. This emphasized the high value of the rain threshold for shallow landslide activity in the Apuan area. The high threshold is probably also linked to the high mean annual precipitation and to the high frequency of rainstorms.