Characterizing Seasonally Rainfall-Driven Movement of a Translational Landslide...

Xu, Y., J. W. Kim, D. L. George, and Z. Lu (2019), Characterizing Seasonally Rainfall-Driven Movement of a Translational Landslide using SAR Imagery and SMAP Soil Moisture, Remote Sensing, doi:10.3390/rs11202347.

Precipitation infiltrates into basal shearing zones, triggering seasonal landslide motion by increasing pore-pressure and reducing shear resistance. This process is jointly controlled by basal depth, rainfall intensity, soil moisture, and hydraulic conductivity/diffusivity. Using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), we detected and mapped a slow-moving slide in the southwestern Oregon. Its basal depths are estimated using InSAR-derived surface velocity fields based on the mass conservation approach by assuming a power-law rheology. The estimated maximum thickness over the central region of the landslide is 6.9 ± 2.6 m. This result is further confirmed by an independent limit equilibrium analysis that solely relies on soil mechanical properties. By incorporating satellites-captured time lags of 27–49 days between the onset of wet seasons and the initiation of landslide motions, the averaged characteristic hydraulic conductivity and diffusivity of the landslide material is estimated as 1.2 × 10−5 m/s and 1.9 × 10−4 m2 /s, respectively. Our investigation layouts a framework for using InSAR and satellite-sensed soil moisture to infer landslide basal geometry and estimate corresponding hydraulic parameters.

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Interdisciplinary Science Program (IDS)