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Decreasing landslide erosion on steeper slopes in soil‐mantled landscapes

Prancevic, Jeff P. and Lamb, Michael P. and McArdell, Brian W. and Rickli, Christian and Kirchner, James W. (2020) Decreasing landslide erosion on steeper slopes in soil‐mantled landscapes. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (10). Art. No. e2020GL087505. ISSN 0094-8276. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20200504-154313129

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Abstract

Slope‐stability models predict that steeper hillslopes require smaller hydrological triggers for shallow landslides to occur due to the added downslope pull of gravity, which should result in more frequent landslides and faster erosion. However, field observations indicate that landslide frequency does not consistently increase on steeper hillslopes. Here, we use measurements of 1,096 soil landslides in California and Switzerland, and a compilation of landslide geometries, to show that steeper hillslopes typically have thinner soils and that thin soils inhibit landslides due to enhanced roles of cohesion and boundary stresses. We find that the landscape‐averaged landslide erosion depth peaks near the threshold slope for instability, and it drops to half that value on hillslopes that are just 5° to 10° steeper. We propose that faster rates of soil creep on steeper slopes cause thin and more stable soils, which in turn reduces landslide erosion, despite the added pull of gravity.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1029/2020gl087505DOIArticle
https://www.hydroshare.org/resource/037197c2aaa24aeaa18f4e6e1fe5be4a/Related ItemData
https://hangmuren.wsl.ch/index.htmlRelated ItemSwiss landslide data
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Prancevic, Jeff P.0000-0003-1890-7551
Lamb, Michael P.0000-0002-5701-0504
McArdell, Brian W.0000-0002-5322-8741
Rickli, Christian0000-0002-5844-0581
Kirchner, James W.0000-0001-6577-3619
Additional Information:© 2020 American Geophysical Union. Received 13 FEB 2020; Accepted 20 APR 2020; Accepted article online 3 MAY 2020. J. P. P. was funded by Uniscientia Stiftung, the ETH Foundation, and SNF grant P400P2_183929. The authors thank Isaac Larsen and David Milledge for providing the landslide geometry compilations that are shown in Figure 1. All data used to make the figures are available at https://www.hydroshare.org/resource/037197c2aaa24aeaa18f4e6e1fe5be4a/. Additional data from the Swiss landslides not used in this publication is freely available here: https://hangmuren.wsl.ch/index.html.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Uniscientia StiftungUNSPECIFIED
ETH FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)P400P2_183929
Subject Keywords:landslides; hillslope sediment transport; soil thickness; hillslope erosion; landslide hazards
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200504-154313129
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20200504-154313129
Official Citation:Prancevic, J. P., Lamb, M. P., McArdell, B. W., Rickli, C., & Kirchner, J. W. (2020). Decreasing landslide erosion on steeper slopes in soil‐mantled landscapes. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL087505. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087505
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102987
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 May 2020 23:04
Last Modified:27 May 2020 17:41

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