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The role of the diagnostic areas in the assessment of landslide susceptibility models: a test in the sicilian chain

  • Autori: Rotigliano, E.; Agnesi, V.; Cappadonia, C.; Conoscenti, C.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2011
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Parole Chiave: Landslide susceptibility, Diagnostic landform, Validation, San Leonardo river basin, Sicily
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Abstract The aim of the research was to verify and compare the predictive power of different diagnostic areas in assessing landslide susceptibility with a multivariate approach. Scarps, landslide areas (the union between scarp and accumulation zones) and areas uphill from crowns, for rotational slides, source or scarp areas and landslide areas, for flows, have been tested. A multivariate approach was applied to assess the landslide susceptibility on the basis of three selected conditioning factors (lithology, slope angle, and topographic wetness index), which were combined in a Unique Condition Unit (UCU) layer. By intersecting the UCU layer with the vector layer of the diagnostic areas, landslide susceptibility models were produced, in which the susceptibility is assigned to each UCUs on the basis of the computed density function. In order to test the effects produced by selecting different diagnostic areas in the performance of the susceptibility models, validation procedures have been applied to evaluate and compare the performances of the derived predictive models. The validation results are estimated by comparing the prediction and the success rate curves, exploiting three morphometric indexes. A test area, the Guddemi river basin, was selected in the northern Sicilian Apennines chain, having a total area of nearly 25 km2 and being mainly characterized by the outcropping of clays, calcilutites, and marly limestones. Aerial analysis, integrated with a field survey, resulted in the recognition of 111 earth-flow and 145 earth-rotational slide landslides. Scarps, for rotational slides, and both source and landslide areas, for flows, produced very satisfactory validation results. For rotational slides, areas uphill from crowns and landslide areas are both responsible for lower predictive performances, characterized by validation curves close to being flat shaped, due to their incapability of identifying specific slope (UCU) conditions. Moreover, because of their limited size, the areas uphill from crowns seem to suffer from a relevant geostatistical ‘‘instability’’, when a splitting is performed to produce the validation domains, so that an enhanced shift between success and prediction rate curves is produced. By comparing the relative susceptibility maps, the research allowed us to evaluate the key role played by the selection of the diagnostic areas; the validation of the models is proposed as a tool to quantify such differences in terms of predictive performance.