Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-388
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-388
 
21 Dec 2021
21 Dec 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal NHESS and is expected to appear here in due course.

Spatial assessment of probable recharge areas – Investigating the hydrogeological controls of an active deep-seated gravitational slope deformation

Jan Pfeiffer1,2, Thomas Zieher1, Jan Schmieder1,2, Thom Bogaard3, Martin Rutzinger2, and Christoph Spötl4 Jan Pfeiffer et al.
  • 1Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Innrain 25, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Department of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52f, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 3Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, Netherlands
  • 4Institute of Geology, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52f, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract. Continuous and slow-moving deep-seated landslides entail challenges for the effective planning of mitigation strategies aiming at the reduction of landslide movements. Given that the activity of most of these landslides is governed by pore pressure variations within the shear zone, profound knowledge about their hydrogeological control is required. In this context, the present study presents a new approach for the spatial assessment of probable recharge areas to better understand a slope's hydrogeological system. The highly automated geo-statistical approach allows deriving recharge probability maps of groundwater based on stable isotope monitoring and a digital elevation model (DEM). By monitoring stable isotopes in both, groundwater and precipitation, mean elevations of recharge areas can be determined and further constrained in space with the help of the DEM. The approach was applied to the Vögelsberg landslide, an active slab of a deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (DSGSD) in the Watten valley (Tyrol, Austria). Resulting recharge probability maps indicate that shallow groundwater emerging at springs on the landslide recharges between 1100–1500 m a.s.l.. In contrast, groundwater encountered in wells in up to 49 m below the landslide’s surface indicates a mean recharge elevation of up to 2200 m a.s.l. matching the highest parts of the catchment. Further inferred proxies, including flow path length, estimated recharge area sizes, and mean transit times of groundwater validated against field measurements of electrical conductivity, water temperature, and discharge resulted in a profound understanding of the hydrogeological driver of the landslide. It is shown that the new approach can provide valuable insights into the spatial pattern of probable recharge areas where mitigation measures aiming at reducing groundwater recharge could be most effective.

Jan Pfeiffer et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-388', Catherine Bertrand, 01 Mar 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', J. Pfeiffer, 10 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-388', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Apr 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', J. Pfeiffer, 10 May 2022

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-388', Catherine Bertrand, 01 Mar 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', J. Pfeiffer, 10 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-388', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Apr 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', J. Pfeiffer, 10 May 2022

Jan Pfeiffer et al.

Jan Pfeiffer et al.

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Short summary
The activity of slow-moving deep-seated landslides is commonly governed by pore pressure variations within the shear zone. Groundwater recharge as a consequence of precipitation therefore is a process regulating the activity of landslides. In this context, we present a highly automated geo-statistical approach to spatially assess groundwater recharge controlling the velocity of a deep-seated landslide in Tyrol, Austria.
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