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Geomorphological investigations on landslide dams

Geomorphological investigations on landslide dams Background: The study of past landslide dams and their consequences has gained a considerable significance for forecasting induced hydraulic risk on people and property. Landslide dams are rather frequent in Italy, where a broad climatic, geological and morphological variability characterize different part of the peninsula, and have already been studied in literature, focusing different geographical regions with different levels of detail. In order to develop specific tools to assess the landslide dam formation and stability, the first step is to realize a large data archive including a big number of data, collected with a consistent methodology to standardize the quality. Description: For this reason, this paper reports the results of an extensive bibliographic work and geomorphologic investigation on landslide dams that lead to the development of the wider systematic inventory in Italy. Through the revision and the update of scientific works and historical reports, three hundreds of landslide dams from the Alps to the Southern Apennine and Sicily were identified. During investigations and through cartographic and aerial photos interpretation, several geomorphic parameters of the landslide, the dam body, the valley and the lake, if any, have been determined, or estimated using historical and bibliographical documents analysis. Conclusions: The collected data were resumed in a database, formed by 57 information fields easy to collect and measure to privilege intuitive usability and future implementation. In order to describe the characteristics of landslide dams in Italy some specific analysis on the different types of landslide movements and their volume, the dam longevity, the main triggers and their geographical distribution were carried out. Keywords: Landslide dam; Database; Geomorphology; Morphometric parameters; Photointerpretation; Italy Background are located in valley floors, consequences can be dramatic, The term “landslide dam” identifies “the natural block- especially in countries with high population density in ages of river channels caused by slope movements” mountain areas, such as Italy. Sometimes these situations (Canuti et al., 1998). The riverbed obstruction can be can be controlled through properly sized engineering complete or partial. In the first case, the dammed lake works. When this is not possible, for lack of knowledge on would be formed upstream. This causes a serious hazard the natural event and for technical limitations (related to for the involved river section and for the surrounding available time and to size of the phenomenon), landslide areas for kilometers, both upstream and downstream. In dams may represent big hazards. The ability to evaluate upstream areas, rising waters, blocked by the dam, can the stability and the obstruction likelihood of a dam is flood areas over kilometers, causing damage to proper- therefore crucial. For these reasons, the study of landslide ties, communication lines and infrastructures. In down- dams and their consequences has acquired a significant stream areas, landslide dam collapse leads to catastrophic relevance in scientific research for prediction and preven- events, such as anomalous destructive flood waves. Given tion of flood risk on lives and properties (Canuti et al., that most of the human activity and main infrastructures 1998; Ermini and Casagli, 2003; Dal Sasso et al., 2014). Some authors have already setup archives of landslide * Correspondence: tacconi.carlo@gmail.com dams for some countries in the world. These include the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Firenze, Via La Pira, 4, Florence archive for New Zealand (Korup, 2004), which consists of 50121, Italy © 2015 Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 2 of 15 232 dams, the Swiss database (Bonnard et al., 2011), with had no impact on the urban and infrastructure fabric, or 31 cases and the Chinese one, which has even 1239 cases lie outside the historical age, have usually been neglected (Peng and Zhang, 2012) and a database of a single regional so that the inventories of landslide dams are usually triggering event with 828 cases during the earthquake of based on high-impact events. May 12, 2008, in Wenchuan (Fan et al., 2012a,b,c). Landslide dam reports are known since the eighteenth Landslide dams are rather frequent in Italy, a country century, like the works of Ruberti (1787), Boccia (1804), characterized by a broad climatic, geological and morpho- Mercanti (1859), Almagià (1907). In more recent times logical variability. Nevertheless, their scientific study has they were studied by Lee and Duncan (1975), Nishizawa only started after the Val Pola event in 1987 (Sondrio, and Chiba (1979), Evans (1984, 1986), Schuster (1985), Northern Italy), when a huge landslide threatened for Soldati and Tosatti (1993), Casagli et al. (1995), Carotta months the survival of an entire valley. After such an im- (1997), Irmler et al. (2006), Cencetti et al. (2011), Savelli pressive episode, the research on this topic received et al. (2012, 2013). greater attention and a strong boost. Some authors con- Landslide dams commonly occur in narrow valleys ducted inventories of regional and inter regional areas (Fan et al., 2012c), bounded by steep sheer rock walls (Pirocchi, 1991; Canuti et al., 1998; Ermini, 2000; Pacino, and by uneven mountains where the mass in motion 2002; Coico et al., 2013), with different standards and de- does not have space to disperse itself. In these places, tail. This heterogeneity of archives, with different scales even modest volumes of displaced material can cause and level of detail, imposed the need for a single database the formation of landslide dams. This is a typical scenario with national scale that would gather the larger number of in active geological areas, characterized by volcanic activ- known cases all over the Italian territory. ities, seismic events or post-glacial detensioning. In these The main aims of this work is to develop a database that environments large amounts of material, such as fractured includes the largest number of landslide dam events, col- or weathered rocks, are easily involved in landslide events. lected with a similar method to standardize data quality. In this paper we present a new integrated landslide dams The geomorphologic investigation on landslide dam events database for Italy, built on preceding studies merged with in Italy resulted in the widest systematic inventory, from new information and statistics. the Alps to the Southern Apennines and Sicily. A landslide dam, even when it does not evolve in a Construction and content catastrophic way, may damage the socio-economic struc- In Italy some archives have already been compiled and in- ture of entire valley. The losses are often substantial and clude information about the dams occurred in specific re- are of two categories: direct ones, e.g.: safety measures gional or interregional geographic areas. The most and infrastructure rebuilding; and indirect ones, more important and complete studies used to compile this final difficult to estimate, e.g.: damage caused to industrial database are: the work by Pirocchi (1992) in the Northern productivity or loss in real estate value. Apennine; the inventory by Ermini (2000) in the central According to some authors (Swanson et al.; 1986; and northern Apennines; the database of Pacino (2002), Canuti et al., 1998; Ermini and Casagli, 2003; Korup, concerning Sicily. Each of them reports a large number of 2004; Dal Sasso et al., 2014), landslide dam behavior can fully described and morphologically characterized natural be forecasted and its consequences predicted through geo- dams for their area of study. morphological indexes. Said indexes are comprised of var- Those databases have been extensively revised, check- iables identifying the landslide (or the dam) and the river ing each case, updating, correcting and completing them involved. The knowledge of these events is, however, far with the missing information with specific investigations. from complete, since there are many contributing factors An extensive research led to the updating of the data- in determining their development and behavior over time. bases, both with new cases of damming occurred in each Geomorphologic parameters are usually determined area after their publication and with episodes that were through cartographic and aerial photos interpretation, not considered before by the authors. or estimated via historic and bibliographic documents A careful literature review sometimes allowed to gather analysis. The data are gathered into a database, with more information relating to possible past damming cases easy-to-collect information, for an intuitive usability and and the formation of a lake basin. The research was focused future implementation. The proper characterization of the on damming occurred during historical times. For these phenomenon, through careful study of past events, is the events, information and relevant contemporary chronicles first and main step to develop tools to assess landslide are more easily available related to important events and in dam formation and stability. such cases it is easier to correctly reconstruct the sequence Well documented studies about landslides causing of the events. Some cases occurring in the prehistoric age blockage of riverbeds, often with catastrophic conse- were collected as well, if radiocarbon dating was available quences, are frequent. Otherwise, those phenomena that (e.g. the case of S. Martino di Castrozza, ID 179, in Siror Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 3 of 15 Municipality, or Sutrio, ID 191, in Alta Terme Municipal- A geomorphological investigation, through photo- ity), or when the event was preserved to such an extent as interpretation and mapping analysis, was carried out to guess its nature and to reconstruct its evolution (Fig. 1). for all cases. It allowed us to collect most of the morpho- In order to collect new data, the bibliographic research metric parameters for the landslide characterization. An was not limited to the reconstruction of historical chroni- interpretation of stereoscopic aerial photos, dating back cles, where the events describing the formation and evolu- since ‘50s with approximate scales between 1:10.000 and tion of a landslide dams are reported, but also involved 1:30.000, and a cartographic analysis of maps, with scales the whole scientific, geological and geomorphological in- between 1:5.000 and 1:10.000, were performed to identify formation of the area where the landslide occurred. landslide boundaries, lake basins and dam’s remnants. Historical chronicles and scientific and social texts were Internet tools such as Google Earth were very useful in consulted and we found newspaper to be very useful in this phase, especially for dams occurred in more recent particular, because they often reported events with great times, as for the case of the Scascoli landslide reactivation detail. During the days immediately following the event, (ID 72), near Bologna (Fig. 2). This tool, combined with plenty of news and information can be found, accompanied the 3D view of the ground, allowed, through the compari- by pictures taken just after the event and later. With the son of images acquired in different times, to understand availability of all issues of newspapers reporting the event, and reconstruct the evolution of several landslide dams it is usually possible to collect information to be stored in (such as e.g. as the Costantino lake silting, ID 97, in Reggio the database with an acceptable degree of accuracy. Calabria, Southern Italy, showed in Fig. 3) and its conse- After the collection, the information that allowed quences on the upstream and downstream area. the detection and identification of an obstruction case The census work has led to the acquisition of 300 was further completed with various direct or indirect documented cases, filed from sources very different for survey techniques. the quantity and quality of the information provided (see Fig. 1 Actual view of the well preserved prehistoric landslide of Campo di Grevena (ID 177), Trento, Northern Italy (picture from GoogleEarth). Despite the volume (10 Million m ) the landslide caused just a partial damming and a river deviation Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 4 of 15 Fig. 2 The Scascoli case (ID 72), Bologna, before and after the landslide reactivation (pictures from GoogleEarth) Additional file 1). The landslide dams, resulting from the uniformed to this census sheet scheme which was after- research, were geo-referenced and collected in a GIS data- wards translated to a relational geo-database structure. base. The Fig. 4 shows the present state of the distribution As shown in Table 1, collected data were assembled in of Italian landslide dams according to our inventory. The a single database with a simple and intuitive structure database is obviously an ongoing project and will be im- containing all the collected cases. The database is com- proved and updated regularly. posed by 57 information fields easy to collect and meas- Concerning the database content, a major problem, in ure even by people that are not landslide dam experts so the treatment of archive data in landslide studies usually as to maximize the probability of high accuracy data comes from the subjectivity and sensitivity of the indi- retrieval during future emergencies. Such approach vidual sampler. This unavoidably influences the quality has been chosen in order to privilege the usability and of the data. In order to reduce this heterogeneity and to has significant advantages for a future usage in triage standardize the data collection, the surveyed cases infor- activity. In order to make the census as much objective as mation has been formatted according to a census sheet possible, the descriptive fields and the note field in the of landslide dams proposed by Casagli and Ermini database are limited to a minimum and the fields with sin- (1999). The sheet includes all the most important pa- gle or multiple constrained choices are favored. rameters of the landslide, the blockage, the dammed The data in the database can be gathered into six main stream and the lake. It is divided in two parts. The first groups according to the type of information they provide: part is dedicated to the description of space and time characteristics of the landslide. The second part, dedi- 1. Localization: in these fields all data about cated to the dam and the hydraulic section affected by geographical position of the landslide (both the the landslide, allows a complete classification of the event, crown and the accumulation) and other information characterized using geomorphological, geotechnical and useful to its localization and identification are hydrological-hydraulic data. The census sheet represents present. The unique Identification Number (ID) is one single event and its possible recorded reactivations are used to univocally identify each landslide dam. events in their own right that have to be recorded in 2. Consequences: containing a description of the different sheets. All the existing and new events were consequences (damage to property or fatalities) of Fig. 3 Evolution from 2005 to 2012 of silting up of Costantino Lake (ID 97), Reggio Calabria, Southern Italy (pictures from GoogleEarth) Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 5 of 15 Fig. 4 Geographical distribution of Italian landslide dams, according to three evolution classes the landslide, the lake (upstream) and of the flood trigger) and morphometric data are collected. The wave (downstream). In this section, the references to description of landslide type, movement, material, the data sources about the event are also listed. and water content follow the standards proposed 3. Landslide: information useful to landslide by Cruden and Vernes (1996). A measurement of characterization is listed here. Both general the landslide velocity has not been implemented descriptive data (such as landslide material and due to the very low percentage of cases with Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 6 of 15 Table 1 The information fields (grouped in six main groups) structuring the landslide dam database with used unit of measure and short description Information Unit Description Localization ID [ ] Unique Identification Number of the Landslide Locality text Local name where damming occurred Municipality text Italian Municipality where damming occurred Province text Italian Province where damming occurred Region text Italian Region where damming occurred UTM E, N crown [ ] E and N Coordinate of the Landslide crown (WGS 1984-UTM, zone 32) UTM E, N dam [ ] E and N Coordinate of the Landslide dam (WGS 1984-UTM, zone 32) Consequences L.-damages text Direct Damages caused by the landslide u-damages text Upstream Damages caused by the rising water d-damages text Downstream Damages caused by the outburst flood Bibliography text Bibliographic references about the event Note text Additional note or information Landslide Movement text Landslide movement classification (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) Velocity text Velocity classification of the Landslide (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) v [m/s] Velocity measure of the landslide (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) Material text Landslide material classification (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) Lithology text Lithology classification of the landslide Water c. text Water Content classification of the landslide (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) H L. [m] Altitude difference between higher and lower part of the Landslide α [°] Steepness of slope opposite to the Landslide β [°] Steepness of Landslide slope LL.tot. [m] Total length of the Landslide LL.body [m] Length of Landslide body Wmax [m] Maximum width of the Landslide Wmin [m] Minimum width of the Landslide D [m] Thickness of the Landslide rf SL. [m ] Surface of the Landslide VL. [m ] Volume of the Landslide Trigger text Trigger mechanism of the landslide Prev. activations dd/mm/yyyy Previous Activations of the Landslide before the damming event DAM Date of damming dd/mm/yyyy Date Of Damming Date of failure dd/mm/yyyy Date Of Failure of the dam (if any) d type [] Classification of the dam (Costa and Schuster, 1988) L d [m] Length of the dam W d [m] Width of the dam H d [m] Height of the dam Sd [m ] Surfece of the dam Vd [m ] Volume of the dam Q d [m] a.s.l. Altitude of the spill way (above sea level) d condition text Dam Condition Evolution text Evolution of the landslide dam Type of Failure text Dam failure mechanism (if any) Stream Main Basin text Name of the main basin Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 7 of 15 Table 1 The information fields (grouped in six main groups) structuring the landslide dam database with used unit of measure and short description (Continued) Dammed R. text Name of the dammed river Wvalley [m] Valley Width Subt. S [km ] Surface of the basin subtended by the landslide dam S [°] Steepness of river bed Lake Lake name text Lake Name L lake [m] Length of the lake W lake [m] Width of the lake D lake [m] Depth of the lake S lake [m ] Surface of the lake V lake [m ] Volume of the lake Q lake [m] a.s.l. Lake altitude (metres above see level) h of Lac.dep. [m] Height of lacustrine deposits (if any) Lake life time text Life time of the dam (hours, days, mounths, years, centuries) Lake Condition text Lake Condition Landslide dams database structure information related to speed. However, an – Type V: dams produced by multiple lobes of the assessment ofthe orderofmagnitude of landslide same landslide. velocity was possible thanks to the evaluation of – Type VI: cases in which the sliding surface passes the effects of the landslide in the formulation of below the river bed, rising it. Cruden and Varnes (1996). These authors established a relationship between different levels For the Dam Condition ten option are available (Casagli of damage, produced by the landslide, with and Ermini, 1999): different speed thresholds of the mass movement. In this way, they identified seven classes of – Partial blockage: if the obstruction of the riverbed damage and the same number of speed ranges, caused by the landslide is not complete (Type I of with a logical scheme similar to the Mercalli scale the Costa and Schuster (1988) classification) without formulation for the earthquakes intensity. the formation of an impoundment and a dam, but 4. Dam: in these fields both descriptive and with the reduction of riverbed section. morphometric information on dam characterization – Toe erosion: if the landslide’s foot is eroded by the are reported. In addition, information about the dam stream. condition and event evolution are provided. – Artificially cut/stabilized: the landslide dam is cut/ According to the geomorphological classification stabilized thanks the human work. proposed by Costa and Schuster (1988), landslide – Slightly/moderately/strongly cut: the dam body is dams were classified in six types: eroded in different extent, with small, medium and – Type I: small landslides compared to the riverbed, big intensity. which did not reach the opposite side of the – Not cut: the dam has not been cut yet and it is fully valley. In this case there is no dam in fact. intact. – Type II: landslides that cross the valley from side – Breached/Partly breached: the dam completely/ to side and realize dams. partly collapsed. – Type III: big landslides that reach the opposite side of the valley, moving upstream and downstream, The dams were classified in three classes according to and realize dams. They may run up the opposite their Evolution from their formation until now: slope. – Type IV: dams formed by two contemporaneous – Not formed: cases of partial damming of a stream, mass movements from the opposite valley sides. with just a reduction of the riverbed section. The Both the two landslides are numbered with an formation of an upstream lake basin did not occur. unique Identification Number (ID), distinguished The river deviation or the landslide toe erosion can with “,1” and “,2” after it. be the further consequences. Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 8 of 15 – Formed-unstable: the landslide leads to the Utility formation of dam and a lake basin, which According to many authors (Swanson et al.; 1986; Canuti remained for a variable span of time (from hours et al., 1998; Ermini and Casagli, 2003; Dal Sasso et al., to centuries) until the general collapse of the dam, 2014) landslide dam behavior can be forecasted through often caused by external contributing factors (e.g. geomorphological indexes. Said indexes are comprised of earthquakes). The failure of the blockage variables identifying the landslide (or the dam) and the dismantles the dam body and leads to the release river involved. These tools have given encouraging results, of acatastrophicfloodingwavedue theemptying showing great potential as assessment and forecasting of the impounded water, with high human danger. tools. The knowledge of these events is, however, far from The dam body ruins are often barely recognizable. complete, since there are many contributing factors in de- This class has been bestowed also when the termining their development and behavior over time. human intervention has strongly influenced the In order to develop reliable tools to assess the forma- dam evolution (e.g. with an artificial cut or tion and stability of landslide dams, it is fundamental to stabilization) to prevent possible dangerous acquire large data archives covering as many areas as consequences. possible collected with consistent methodologies and – Formed-stable: the landslide caused the complete with standardized information quality. blockage of the stream and the consequent formation of a lake basin. The dam is in a global stability and in dynamic balance from its formation. It is preserved Discussion until now, or it extinguished for filling. In some cases, In Italy landslide dams, like landslides in general, are a the dam has suffered overtopping episodes with highly widespread phenomena. In Fig. 5, landslide dams partial erosion, even the complete incision of the dam occurred during the last thousand years in Italy dated body, but no general collapse or catastrophic flooding through bibliographic data or with research on historical wave occurred. evidence are shown. In the figure a significant increase can be observed from the beginning of the XVIII century, There are three possible Type of Failure mechanisms in the period known in literature as the “Little Ice Age” (Costa and Schuster, 1988): (between the mid-XVI and mid-XIX century). During this period, strong advances of the glaciers fronts and episodes – Overtopping. of freezing of the main streams occurred. However, this – Piping. climatic oscillation can only partially explain the increase – Slope failure. in the landslide frequency. Canuti et al. (2004) partly attri- butes the general increase of landslides during the last five centuries also to a peak in clear-cutting of forests in the 5. River: containing the main parameters of the stream, same period. Moreover, the historical documents useful to the watershed area above the dam and the valley itself, identify a blockage events begin to be more frequent, wide- as its width. spread and best preserved to this day only in recent cen- 6. Lake: containing the main morphometric parameters turies, probably due to the spread of printing in the of the impoundment, if formed, and details on its fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Diffusion of information evolution. in the twentieth century, in fact, led to gather information on nearly 90 landslide dams in the last century. For the Lake Condition eleven options are available From the distribution map of landslide dams in Fig. 4, at (Casagli and Ermini, 1999): first glance, it is immediately possible to notice a higher concentration of cases in the Alps and the northern Apen- – Not formed (generic)/for erosion/for infiltration/for nines than in the Southern part of Italy. The distribution deviation: the lake did not form; is possible to of dams collected in Italy is obviously affected by the specify the cause (for erosion, infiltration or number and distribution of studies conducted so far and deviation). also by the morphological evidences that each event left – Existing/existing partly filled: the lake still exist/but on the territory. For this reason we are reasonably sure can be partly filled. that we are aware of most of the sizable cases occurred in – Disappeared (generic)/for man-made influence/for historical times in Italy, but also that many others, pos- spillway erosion/for filling/for dam collapse: the lake sibly of minor importance, were not detected. However, no longer exists; is possible to specify the cause there are some inconsistencies, in terms of number of (man-made influence, spillway erosion, filling or existing cases between one area and another that can be dam collapse). due to two reasons. Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 9 of 15 Fig. 5 Temporal occurrence of the inventoried cases during the last thousand years Firstly, the different morphological and hydrogeological volume (compared to the river discharge) and their characteristics of the affected areas, which control the for- morphologic evidenceiserasedin a shorttimebythe mation of the dam and constrain the geometry of the ob- erosive capacity of the watercourse. Most of these land- struction. Secondly, the quality and quantity of references slide dams, because of their small volume, produces founded, which can be much different for different cases. no social impacts on the territory and therefore it is Except for Sicily, in fact, the number of sources about not reported from any source. Therefore, we can as- events located in the Southern Apennines is lower as sume that this kind of landslide partial damming are compared to the Northern part of Italy and sometimes it much more frequent than known. was not even possible to identify the exact location of the As shown in Fig. 7, the lowest volume measured in the 4 3 described landslide dam. database was about 10 m and this lower boundary is The more a bibliographical record is related to an fully into the typical range of Type I dams. Furthermore, event far in the past (and/or of small size) the lower the most part of landslide dams with unknown volume be- accuracy of the data and the morphologic evidence is long to Type I. It can be assumed that at least a part of 4 3 preserved. A study case that clearly illustrates this possi- these dams had a small volume, even lower than 10 m . bility is the seismic event that affected large part of So, in average, this order of magnitude can be consid- Southern Italy in February 5, 1783, with maximum in- ered as the minimum landslide volume that can cause tensity in the Calabria Region. The earthquake caused any kind of detectable effect on a riverbed. more than 31˙000 victims and huge damages. Countless The severity of the consequences of a landslide dam were the landslides triggered by the event, including sev- comes directly from its evolution. The three evolution eral oversized which destroyed entire villages dragging classes (not formed, formed-unstable, formed-stable), are them downstream. Rivers were diverted or dammed, a useful classification tool to distinguish the wide range with the formation of at least 215 lakes (Fig. 6), as re- of possible dams, grouping them into sets with similar ported by Ruberti (1787) and Vivenzio (1788). Because characteristics and behavior. the lack of clear evidences in the current morphology The result of the division of the collected cases into and since most of the lakes were located along counter- evolutionary classes does not show a clear dominance slopes within landslide bodies, it was possible to identify of one class over the others. The formed-stable dams only a small part of the dams on the Calabrian territory. are the most frequent with 39 % of the cases, closely The same difficulty generally occurs to identify Type I followed by the not formed with 33 % and then by dams. According to the morphological classification the formed-unstable with 28 %. proposed by Costa and Schuster (1988), these are the According to the landslide dam classification proposed smaller type of landslide dam, compared to the valley by Costa and Schuster (1988) Fig. 8a) the most common size, that cannot reach the opposite slope but just re- class of Italian dams is the type II, representing 41 % of duce the riverbed width. Indeed landslides that fail to the total amount. Following, there are landslide dams of completely block a river valley generally have a small type I with 26 % and of type III with 24 %. Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 10 of 15 Fig. 6 a Map of the 215 lakes formed by the earthquake of 1783 in Calabria, Southern Italy (from Vivenzio, 1788 modified); b Real position of the greater lakes. 102: S. Cristina; 103: Marro; 104: Birbo; 105: De’ Preti; 106: Cumi; 107: Tricuccio; 108: Cucco; 109: Speziale; 110: Coluce; 111: S. Bruno; 112: Tofilo Much less frequent are the blockages of type IV and between 5 and 25 % of types II, III and VI, while they VI, both with about 4 %. In Italy dams of type V were were not found among type IV. not distinguished from the others so type V was not The formed-stable blockages are the most representative considered in the statistics. While the most frequent class among the landslide dams of type II and III with type of blockage, represented by type II landslide dam, is 55–60 % of the cases, while among the landslide dams of in agreement with that observed by Casagli and Ermini type IV and VI the formed-unstable blockages are the (1999) in the Northern Apennines, the percentage about most frequent with about 50 % and 35 % respectively. type I is much higher (27 % against 19 % for Casagli and The histogram of Fig. 9 shows the type of landslide Ermini, 1999 and 11 % for Costa and Schuster, 1988). movement (Cruden and Varnes, 1996) included in the Type II and type I of landslide dams in whole Italy over- database. The term “complex” is referred to the style of come even those of type III, that in Casagli and Ermini a landslide characterized by two or more main move- (1999) and Costa and Schuster (1988) were the second ments combined in time or in space. most frequent blockage type. Five main types of movement are most widespread in As regards their evolution, Fig. 8b) shows that the not- Italy, even though outside of the particular category of formed class represents 100 % of the dams of type I and landslides that cause damming. The landslides classified as Fig. 7 Volumes distribution of landslide dams collected in Italy. The part of them represented by Type I dams (according to the classification proposed by Costa and Schuster, 1988) are highlighted in blue. (NA = Not Available) Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 11 of 15 Fig. 8 Classification of landslide dams in Italy a according to Costa and Schuster (1988) b and their evolution classes distribution complex are the most common with 99 checked cases landslides) did not produce a complete obstruction. In- and usually are the result of a first translational and/or stead, a small part of the landslides classified as flows rotational slide movement of debris and/or rock, that formed a dam stable until now (only 14 %), while the evolve in a second movement classified as a mud or majority of formed dams were stable only for a short debris flow. Very common throughout the territory are period of time (44 %) or not formed at all (41 %). Slides, also individual rotational (with 87 cases) and transla- translational or rotational, have a completely different tional slides (48 cases). Blockages of river courses rarely evolutionary behavior. The rotational slide are almost occur by flows, falls or topples, because the volume of equally distributed in not formed, formed-unstable and involved material is usually small and no visible traces formed-stable, and most part of the translational move- of the landslide remain. Between the landslides that ments seem not to be able to build a complete damming originated the obstruction of a stream bed there are no (56 %). When the damming is complete, though, it is reported lateral spread cases in Italy. often stable (37 %). The higher stability of fall and com- From the point of view of the evolution, most part of plex landslides compared to flows is probably due the landslides classified as fall (63 %) and complex (Canuti et al., 1998) to the usual bigger volume and the (50 %) resulted in formed-stable dams and just a fraction internal geotechnical properties of the fall and complex of these landslides (10 % for falls and 15 % for complex landslides materials. Fig. 9 Types of landslide movement compared with the evolution of the dam in Italy Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 12 of 15 An important characteristic for purposes of civil pro- In order to investigate the formation of a natural dam tection and for the assessment of the damage caused by and its stability, the following triggering causes for land- landslide dams is the durability of the dam body over slide dam were recognized in the Italian database: time, especially in the short term. Most landslide dams fail by overtopping or piping shortly after their formation  Snow fall or melting. (Costa and Schuster, 1988; Ermini and Casagli, 2003),  Fluvial erosion. typically in conjunction with the first serious hydraulic  Heavy rainfall. emergency faced by the dam.  Anthropic causes. Figure 10 shows the dam longevity curve constructed  Earthquakes. using all the available data. A large part of landslide dams (about 65 %) fail by overtopping or piping within Although the triggering causes were unknown or un- one month of their formation, in agreement with what certain in 130 cases of the database, just over half of the reported by Costa and Schuster (1991) and Ermini remaining cases (52 %) were provoked by seismic events (2000), while about 20 % of the total are stable for over a and approximately another third (33.5 %) by heavy rain- year and almost 10 % for over 10 years. A statistics on fall events. The remaining part is shared by fluvial ero- this kind of time behavior for landslide dams is particu- sion with 10.4 %, snow fall or melting with 2.9 % and larly important since it is known, from the analysis of anthropic causes with 1.2 %. past cases, that there are dams that remain stable for de- The geographical distribution of Italian landslide dams cades and then suddenly collapse when it was believed according to their main triggering causes seems to reflect that they were stable. These events often cause extensive the heterogeneous distribution of geological environments. damage because all precautions and alert conditions were If the national territory is divided from North to South in removed, as happened for the case of Kummersee lake (ID Alps, Northern Apennines and Southern Apennines, as 118), in Northern Italy (Pirocchi, 1991), or for the Matthieu shown in Fig. 11a) almost all of the dams caused by seismic lake in Dominica, West Indies (James and De Graff, 2012), events are located in the Southern Apennines. In fact which collapsed respectively 15 and 14 years after the for- about 77 % of the 104 landslide dams surveyed in Southern mation. The former reached the city of Merano located Italy with known trigger are caused by high magnitude 25 km downstream, causing 400 casualties, with a wave of earthquakes (Fig. 11b). However, this statistics is heavily mud and debris, while the latter did not result in fatalities influenced by the catastrophic seismic event of 1783 or injuries because it occurred in the middle of the with 13 cases. night in a rural area with no inhabitants, despite signifi- In the Northern Apennines and along the Alps, instead, cant property and infrastructure losses. the most frequent triggering cause for landslide dams is Fig. 10 Survival time before the failure of landslide dams Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 13 of 15 Fig. 11 a Division of Italian territory in Alps, Northern Apennines and Southern Apennines regions; b Distribution in the three Italian regions of the triggers of movements that formed a landslide dam the intense rainfall, with 61 % and 59 % respectively. This Figure 12 shows the evolution classes of the inventor- difference with respect to the Southern Apennines high- ied landslide dams, according to the landslide triggers. lights how Italy is representative of a large diversity of cli- The unstable dams are clearly prevailing between land- matic and geological environments but it is also due to a slides caused by intense rainfall events and snowmelt, few large earthquake events that have recently hit that part reaching 53 % and 60 % of the singles categories respect- of Italy. Alps are glaciated areas with high relief energy ively. Those caused by river erosion are equally distrib- and high gradients. The Northern Apennines are charac- uted between not formed and formed-unstable, with terized by a highly variable morphology and several high 39 % each and 22 % of formed-stable. In Italy landslides intensity rainfall areas, while the Southern Apennines are caused by earthquakes, usually (58 % of cases), do not areas with less rainy climate and tectonically active, char- produce dams because, often, they involve small volumes acterized by an higher seismic activity. of material. However, during earthquakes of higher mag- It is also important to describe in details and to clas- nitude, the volume of triggered landslides may be much sify landslide triggering factors to check if they control greater so that 27 % of dams formed are formed-stable, somehow the blockages evolution. compared to 15 % of the formed-unstable. This is the Fig. 12 Evolution of the inventoried landslide dams, according to the cause that triggered movement Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 14 of 15 only category where the number of formed-stable dams Acknowledgements We acknowledge Leonardo Ermini for his advices during the start of the is greater than formed-unstable dams. research sharing his experience in the data collecting and geomorphological analysis and precious knowledge about landslide dams. Conclusions Received: 13 May 2015 Accepted: 4 August 2015 Landslide dams are the result of the complex interaction between river and slope dynamics, not yet fully under- stood. In order to provide the base to develop specific References forecasting tools to assess the landslide dam formation Almagià R (1907) Studi Geografici sopra le frane in Italia. Mem Soc Geogr It 13, and evolution, the main aim of this research was to Vol XIII:342 compile a large data archive, collected with a consistent Boccia A (1804) Viaggio ai monti di Parma. Libreria Aurea, Parma Bonnard C (2011) Technical and Human Aspects of Historic Rockslide Dammed and standardized methodology. Lakes and Landslide dam Breaches. In: Natural and Artificial Rockslide Dams. The research started updating previous studies on the Springer, Heidelberg, pp 101–122 same topic in smaller areas (Pirocchi, 1991; Ermini, 2000; Canuti P, Casagli N, Ermini L (1998) Inventory of Landslide Dams in the Northern Apennine as a Model for Induced Flood Hazard Forecasting. In: Andah K (ed) Pacino, 2002) and integrating them through cartographic Managing Hydro-Geological Disasters in a Vulnerable Environment. CNR-GNDCI and aerial photo interpretation and a careful literature re- and UNESCO IHP, Perugia, pp 189–202 view. This data set represents the first systematic national Canuti P, Casagli N, Ermini L, Fanti R, Farina P (2004) Landslide activity as a geoindicator in Italy: significance and new perspectives from remote inventory of landslide dams in Italy. sensing. Environ Geol 45(7):907–919 The data were gathered in a database, comprising of Carotta A (1997) Le nostre radici: Brancafora. La Serenissima, Vicenza, p 333 300 records, with a simple format to privilege usability Casagli N, Ermini L (1999) Geomorphic analysis of landslide dams in the Northern Apennine. Trans Jpn Geomorphol 20(3):219–249 and future implementation. It is composed of 57 easy- Casagli N, Iotti A, Tarchiani U (1995) Caratteri geomorfologici e geotecnici della to-collect-and-measure information fields, representing frana di S. Benedetto Val di Sambro (BO). Proceeding of II Incontro Internazionale the most important morphological parameters and infor- di Giovani Ricercatori in Geologia Applicata, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, 11–13 October 1995 mation about landslide dams. Cencetti C, De Rosa P, Fredduzzi A (2011) Cellular automata model: an application Many of the cases are from historical events, often re- to landslide dam of “Le Mottacce” (Tuscany, Central Italy). Ital J Eng Geol Env lated to big seismic events (mainly in Southern Italy) or 1:45–60, Special Issue 2011 Coico P, Calcaterra D, De Pippo T, Guida D (2013) A Preliminary Perspective on deglaciation phenomena (mostly in Northern Italy). In Landslide Dams of Campania Region, Italy. In: Landslide Science and Practice. some cases, the lack of historical documents and direct Springer, Heidelberg, pp 83–90 information made it difficult to reconstruct the event, Costa JE, Schuster RL (1988) The formation and failure of natural dams. Geol Soc Am Bull 100(7):1054–1068 especially where the morphological evidence of the dam Costa JE, Schuster RL (1991) Documented historical landslide dams from around are not clear anymore. Available documents provide the world. US Geol Surv 91–239:486, Open-File Report direct information for historical events, often describing Cruden DM, Varnes DJ (1996) Landslides: Investigation and Mitigation. In: Turner AK, Shuster RL (eds) Transportation Research Board, Special Report 247., pp 36–75 catastrophic events as they really happened, but sometimes Dal Sasso SF, Sole A, Pascale S, Sdao F, Bateman Pinzòn A, Medina V (2014) with fictional elements. Assessment methodology for the prediction of landslide dam hazard. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 14:557–567 Ermini L (2000) Elaborazione di un modello per la precisione dell’evoluzione di Availability and requirements sbarramenti fluviali causati da frane, unpublished. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Florence, p 159. Ermini L, Casagli N (2003) Prediction of the behavior of landslide dams using a Available database: geomorphological dimensionless index. Earth Surf Proc Land 28(1):31–47 Any restrictions to use by non-academics: none. Evans SE (1984) The 1880 landslide dam on Thompson River near Ashcroft, British Columbia. Geological Survey of Canada, part A, 655-658 Evans SE (1986) Landslide Damming in the Cordillera of Western Canada. In: Schuster Additional file RL (ed) Landslide Dams: Processes, Risk, and Mitigation. Proceeding of a session sponsored by the Geotechnical Engineering Division of the American Society of Additional file 1: Landslide Dams DataBase. Description of data: Civil Engineers in conjunction with the ASCE Convention, American Society of archive of 300 Italian landslide dams described trough 57 information Civil Engineers Geotechnical Special Publication, 3, Seattle, 7 April 1986 fields useful for events characterization. Both descriptive data and Fan X, Tang CX, van Westen CJ, Alkema D (2012a) Simulating dam-breach flood morphometric data are present. (PDF 4903 kb) scenarios of the Tangjiashan landslide dam induced by the Wenchuan Earthquake. Natl Hazards Earth Syst Sci 12(10):3031–3044 Fan X, van Westen CJ, Korup O, Gorum T, Xu Q, Dai F, Huang R, Wang G (2012b) Competing interests Transient water and sediment storage of the decaying landslide dams induced The authors declare that they have no competing interests. by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, China. Geomorphology 171:58–68 Fan X, van Westen CJ, Xu Q, Gorum T, Dai F (2012c) Analysis of landslide dams induced by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. J Asian Earth Sci 57:25–37 Authors’ contributions Irmler R, Daut G, Mäusbacher R (2006) A debris flow calendar derived from CTS carried out the investigations, collected the data and drafted the sediments of lake Lago di Braies (N. Italy). Geomorphology 77(1):69–78 manuscript; FC participated in the arrangement of the structure and James A, De Graff JV (2012) The draining of Matthieu landslide-dam lake, Dominica, correction of the manuscript and in the discussion and conclusion of West Indies. Landslides 9(4):529–537 the research; NC gave suggestion in the research structure and the analysis and provided advices to the study. All the authors read and Korup O (2004) Geomorphometric characteristics of New Zealand landslide dams. approved the final manuscript. Eng Geol 73(1):13–35 Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 15 of 15 Lee KL, Duncan JM (1975) Landslide of April 25, 1974 on the Mantaro River, Peru. Natl Acad Sci, Washington DC Mercanti L (1859) Poche parole su i lavori di prosciugamento da eseguirsi a Pieve S. Stefano di Luigi Mercanti, Tip Bellotti, Arezzo Nishizawa Y, Chiba T (1979) Landslide dam in the Sai River and floodplains. Geomorphology 4:459–486 Pacino V (2002) Censimento degli sbarramenti da frana in Sicilia, unpublished. Unpublished Bachelor’s degree thesis, University of Florence, p 211 Peng M, Zhang LM (2012) Breaching parameters of landslide dams. Landslides 9(1):13–31 Pirocchi A (1991) Laghi di sbarramento per frana nelle Alpi: tipologia ed evoluzione. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Pavia, p 155 Pirocchi A (1992) Laghi di sbarramento per frana nelle Alpi: tipologia ed evoluzione. Atti I convegno Nazionale Giovani Ricercatori in Geologia Applicata 93, 128–136. Roberti F (1787). Memoria su i lavori per lo disseccamento dé laghi i Calabria Ulteriore eseguiti sotto la direzione dell'Ingegnere Militare D. Ferdinando Ruberti, No editor. Savelli D, Nesci O, Troiani F, Dignani A, Teodori S (2012) Geomorphological map of the Montelago area (North Marche Apennines, central Italy): constrains for two relict lakes. J Maps 8(1):113–119 Savelli D, Troiani F, Brugiapaglia E, Calderoni G, Cavitolo P, Dignani A (2013) The landslide-dammed paleolake of montelago (north marche apennines, italy): geomorphological evolution and paleoenvironmental outlines. Geogr Fis Din Quat 36(2):267–287 Schuster RL (1985) Landslide Dams in the Western United States. Proceedings of IVth Int. Conf. and Field Workshop on Landslides, Tokyo, pp 411–418 Soldati M, Tosatti G (1993) Case histories of lake-forming landslides in the Dragone Valley (Northern Apennines, Italy). In: 7th International Conference and Field Workshop on Landslides. AA Balkema, Rotterdam, 28 August-15 September 1993 Swanson FJ, Oyagi N, Tominaga M (1986) Landslide Dams in Japan. In: Schuster RL (ed) Landslide Dams: Processes, Risk, and Mitigation. Proceeding of a session sponsored by the Geotechnical Engineering Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers in conjunction with the ASCE Convention, American Society of Civil Engineers Geotechnical Special Publication, 3, Seattle, 7 April 1986 Vivenzio G (1788) Istoria de’ tremuoti avvenuti nella Provincia della Calabria Ulteriore, e nella città di Messina nell’Anno 1783. E di quanto nella Calabria fu fatto per lo suo risorgimento fino al 1787. Precedute da una Teoria ed Istoria generale dei tremuoti, IIa edizione, Stamperia Reale, 2 voll., Napoli Submit your manuscript to a journal and benefi t from: 7 Convenient online submission 7 Rigorous peer review 7 Immediate publication on acceptance 7 Open access: articles freely available online 7 High visibility within the fi eld 7 Retaining the copyright to your article Submit your next manuscript at 7 springeropen.com http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Geoenvironmental Disasters Springer Journals

Geomorphological investigations on landslide dams

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Springer Journals
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Copyright © 2015 by Tacconi Stefanelli et al.
Subject
Environment; Environment, general; Earth Sciences, general; Geography (general); Geoecology/Natural Processes; Natural Hazards; Environmental Science and Engineering
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2197-8670
DOI
10.1186/s40677-015-0030-9
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Abstract

Background: The study of past landslide dams and their consequences has gained a considerable significance for forecasting induced hydraulic risk on people and property. Landslide dams are rather frequent in Italy, where a broad climatic, geological and morphological variability characterize different part of the peninsula, and have already been studied in literature, focusing different geographical regions with different levels of detail. In order to develop specific tools to assess the landslide dam formation and stability, the first step is to realize a large data archive including a big number of data, collected with a consistent methodology to standardize the quality. Description: For this reason, this paper reports the results of an extensive bibliographic work and geomorphologic investigation on landslide dams that lead to the development of the wider systematic inventory in Italy. Through the revision and the update of scientific works and historical reports, three hundreds of landslide dams from the Alps to the Southern Apennine and Sicily were identified. During investigations and through cartographic and aerial photos interpretation, several geomorphic parameters of the landslide, the dam body, the valley and the lake, if any, have been determined, or estimated using historical and bibliographical documents analysis. Conclusions: The collected data were resumed in a database, formed by 57 information fields easy to collect and measure to privilege intuitive usability and future implementation. In order to describe the characteristics of landslide dams in Italy some specific analysis on the different types of landslide movements and their volume, the dam longevity, the main triggers and their geographical distribution were carried out. Keywords: Landslide dam; Database; Geomorphology; Morphometric parameters; Photointerpretation; Italy Background are located in valley floors, consequences can be dramatic, The term “landslide dam” identifies “the natural block- especially in countries with high population density in ages of river channels caused by slope movements” mountain areas, such as Italy. Sometimes these situations (Canuti et al., 1998). The riverbed obstruction can be can be controlled through properly sized engineering complete or partial. In the first case, the dammed lake works. When this is not possible, for lack of knowledge on would be formed upstream. This causes a serious hazard the natural event and for technical limitations (related to for the involved river section and for the surrounding available time and to size of the phenomenon), landslide areas for kilometers, both upstream and downstream. In dams may represent big hazards. The ability to evaluate upstream areas, rising waters, blocked by the dam, can the stability and the obstruction likelihood of a dam is flood areas over kilometers, causing damage to proper- therefore crucial. For these reasons, the study of landslide ties, communication lines and infrastructures. In down- dams and their consequences has acquired a significant stream areas, landslide dam collapse leads to catastrophic relevance in scientific research for prediction and preven- events, such as anomalous destructive flood waves. Given tion of flood risk on lives and properties (Canuti et al., that most of the human activity and main infrastructures 1998; Ermini and Casagli, 2003; Dal Sasso et al., 2014). Some authors have already setup archives of landslide * Correspondence: tacconi.carlo@gmail.com dams for some countries in the world. These include the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Firenze, Via La Pira, 4, Florence archive for New Zealand (Korup, 2004), which consists of 50121, Italy © 2015 Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 2 of 15 232 dams, the Swiss database (Bonnard et al., 2011), with had no impact on the urban and infrastructure fabric, or 31 cases and the Chinese one, which has even 1239 cases lie outside the historical age, have usually been neglected (Peng and Zhang, 2012) and a database of a single regional so that the inventories of landslide dams are usually triggering event with 828 cases during the earthquake of based on high-impact events. May 12, 2008, in Wenchuan (Fan et al., 2012a,b,c). Landslide dam reports are known since the eighteenth Landslide dams are rather frequent in Italy, a country century, like the works of Ruberti (1787), Boccia (1804), characterized by a broad climatic, geological and morpho- Mercanti (1859), Almagià (1907). In more recent times logical variability. Nevertheless, their scientific study has they were studied by Lee and Duncan (1975), Nishizawa only started after the Val Pola event in 1987 (Sondrio, and Chiba (1979), Evans (1984, 1986), Schuster (1985), Northern Italy), when a huge landslide threatened for Soldati and Tosatti (1993), Casagli et al. (1995), Carotta months the survival of an entire valley. After such an im- (1997), Irmler et al. (2006), Cencetti et al. (2011), Savelli pressive episode, the research on this topic received et al. (2012, 2013). greater attention and a strong boost. Some authors con- Landslide dams commonly occur in narrow valleys ducted inventories of regional and inter regional areas (Fan et al., 2012c), bounded by steep sheer rock walls (Pirocchi, 1991; Canuti et al., 1998; Ermini, 2000; Pacino, and by uneven mountains where the mass in motion 2002; Coico et al., 2013), with different standards and de- does not have space to disperse itself. In these places, tail. This heterogeneity of archives, with different scales even modest volumes of displaced material can cause and level of detail, imposed the need for a single database the formation of landslide dams. This is a typical scenario with national scale that would gather the larger number of in active geological areas, characterized by volcanic activ- known cases all over the Italian territory. ities, seismic events or post-glacial detensioning. In these The main aims of this work is to develop a database that environments large amounts of material, such as fractured includes the largest number of landslide dam events, col- or weathered rocks, are easily involved in landslide events. lected with a similar method to standardize data quality. In this paper we present a new integrated landslide dams The geomorphologic investigation on landslide dam events database for Italy, built on preceding studies merged with in Italy resulted in the widest systematic inventory, from new information and statistics. the Alps to the Southern Apennines and Sicily. A landslide dam, even when it does not evolve in a Construction and content catastrophic way, may damage the socio-economic struc- In Italy some archives have already been compiled and in- ture of entire valley. The losses are often substantial and clude information about the dams occurred in specific re- are of two categories: direct ones, e.g.: safety measures gional or interregional geographic areas. The most and infrastructure rebuilding; and indirect ones, more important and complete studies used to compile this final difficult to estimate, e.g.: damage caused to industrial database are: the work by Pirocchi (1992) in the Northern productivity or loss in real estate value. Apennine; the inventory by Ermini (2000) in the central According to some authors (Swanson et al.; 1986; and northern Apennines; the database of Pacino (2002), Canuti et al., 1998; Ermini and Casagli, 2003; Korup, concerning Sicily. Each of them reports a large number of 2004; Dal Sasso et al., 2014), landslide dam behavior can fully described and morphologically characterized natural be forecasted and its consequences predicted through geo- dams for their area of study. morphological indexes. Said indexes are comprised of var- Those databases have been extensively revised, check- iables identifying the landslide (or the dam) and the river ing each case, updating, correcting and completing them involved. The knowledge of these events is, however, far with the missing information with specific investigations. from complete, since there are many contributing factors An extensive research led to the updating of the data- in determining their development and behavior over time. bases, both with new cases of damming occurred in each Geomorphologic parameters are usually determined area after their publication and with episodes that were through cartographic and aerial photos interpretation, not considered before by the authors. or estimated via historic and bibliographic documents A careful literature review sometimes allowed to gather analysis. The data are gathered into a database, with more information relating to possible past damming cases easy-to-collect information, for an intuitive usability and and the formation of a lake basin. The research was focused future implementation. The proper characterization of the on damming occurred during historical times. For these phenomenon, through careful study of past events, is the events, information and relevant contemporary chronicles first and main step to develop tools to assess landslide are more easily available related to important events and in dam formation and stability. such cases it is easier to correctly reconstruct the sequence Well documented studies about landslides causing of the events. Some cases occurring in the prehistoric age blockage of riverbeds, often with catastrophic conse- were collected as well, if radiocarbon dating was available quences, are frequent. Otherwise, those phenomena that (e.g. the case of S. Martino di Castrozza, ID 179, in Siror Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 3 of 15 Municipality, or Sutrio, ID 191, in Alta Terme Municipal- A geomorphological investigation, through photo- ity), or when the event was preserved to such an extent as interpretation and mapping analysis, was carried out to guess its nature and to reconstruct its evolution (Fig. 1). for all cases. It allowed us to collect most of the morpho- In order to collect new data, the bibliographic research metric parameters for the landslide characterization. An was not limited to the reconstruction of historical chroni- interpretation of stereoscopic aerial photos, dating back cles, where the events describing the formation and evolu- since ‘50s with approximate scales between 1:10.000 and tion of a landslide dams are reported, but also involved 1:30.000, and a cartographic analysis of maps, with scales the whole scientific, geological and geomorphological in- between 1:5.000 and 1:10.000, were performed to identify formation of the area where the landslide occurred. landslide boundaries, lake basins and dam’s remnants. Historical chronicles and scientific and social texts were Internet tools such as Google Earth were very useful in consulted and we found newspaper to be very useful in this phase, especially for dams occurred in more recent particular, because they often reported events with great times, as for the case of the Scascoli landslide reactivation detail. During the days immediately following the event, (ID 72), near Bologna (Fig. 2). This tool, combined with plenty of news and information can be found, accompanied the 3D view of the ground, allowed, through the compari- by pictures taken just after the event and later. With the son of images acquired in different times, to understand availability of all issues of newspapers reporting the event, and reconstruct the evolution of several landslide dams it is usually possible to collect information to be stored in (such as e.g. as the Costantino lake silting, ID 97, in Reggio the database with an acceptable degree of accuracy. Calabria, Southern Italy, showed in Fig. 3) and its conse- After the collection, the information that allowed quences on the upstream and downstream area. the detection and identification of an obstruction case The census work has led to the acquisition of 300 was further completed with various direct or indirect documented cases, filed from sources very different for survey techniques. the quantity and quality of the information provided (see Fig. 1 Actual view of the well preserved prehistoric landslide of Campo di Grevena (ID 177), Trento, Northern Italy (picture from GoogleEarth). Despite the volume (10 Million m ) the landslide caused just a partial damming and a river deviation Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 4 of 15 Fig. 2 The Scascoli case (ID 72), Bologna, before and after the landslide reactivation (pictures from GoogleEarth) Additional file 1). The landslide dams, resulting from the uniformed to this census sheet scheme which was after- research, were geo-referenced and collected in a GIS data- wards translated to a relational geo-database structure. base. The Fig. 4 shows the present state of the distribution As shown in Table 1, collected data were assembled in of Italian landslide dams according to our inventory. The a single database with a simple and intuitive structure database is obviously an ongoing project and will be im- containing all the collected cases. The database is com- proved and updated regularly. posed by 57 information fields easy to collect and meas- Concerning the database content, a major problem, in ure even by people that are not landslide dam experts so the treatment of archive data in landslide studies usually as to maximize the probability of high accuracy data comes from the subjectivity and sensitivity of the indi- retrieval during future emergencies. Such approach vidual sampler. This unavoidably influences the quality has been chosen in order to privilege the usability and of the data. In order to reduce this heterogeneity and to has significant advantages for a future usage in triage standardize the data collection, the surveyed cases infor- activity. In order to make the census as much objective as mation has been formatted according to a census sheet possible, the descriptive fields and the note field in the of landslide dams proposed by Casagli and Ermini database are limited to a minimum and the fields with sin- (1999). The sheet includes all the most important pa- gle or multiple constrained choices are favored. rameters of the landslide, the blockage, the dammed The data in the database can be gathered into six main stream and the lake. It is divided in two parts. The first groups according to the type of information they provide: part is dedicated to the description of space and time characteristics of the landslide. The second part, dedi- 1. Localization: in these fields all data about cated to the dam and the hydraulic section affected by geographical position of the landslide (both the the landslide, allows a complete classification of the event, crown and the accumulation) and other information characterized using geomorphological, geotechnical and useful to its localization and identification are hydrological-hydraulic data. The census sheet represents present. The unique Identification Number (ID) is one single event and its possible recorded reactivations are used to univocally identify each landslide dam. events in their own right that have to be recorded in 2. Consequences: containing a description of the different sheets. All the existing and new events were consequences (damage to property or fatalities) of Fig. 3 Evolution from 2005 to 2012 of silting up of Costantino Lake (ID 97), Reggio Calabria, Southern Italy (pictures from GoogleEarth) Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 5 of 15 Fig. 4 Geographical distribution of Italian landslide dams, according to three evolution classes the landslide, the lake (upstream) and of the flood trigger) and morphometric data are collected. The wave (downstream). In this section, the references to description of landslide type, movement, material, the data sources about the event are also listed. and water content follow the standards proposed 3. Landslide: information useful to landslide by Cruden and Vernes (1996). A measurement of characterization is listed here. Both general the landslide velocity has not been implemented descriptive data (such as landslide material and due to the very low percentage of cases with Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 6 of 15 Table 1 The information fields (grouped in six main groups) structuring the landslide dam database with used unit of measure and short description Information Unit Description Localization ID [ ] Unique Identification Number of the Landslide Locality text Local name where damming occurred Municipality text Italian Municipality where damming occurred Province text Italian Province where damming occurred Region text Italian Region where damming occurred UTM E, N crown [ ] E and N Coordinate of the Landslide crown (WGS 1984-UTM, zone 32) UTM E, N dam [ ] E and N Coordinate of the Landslide dam (WGS 1984-UTM, zone 32) Consequences L.-damages text Direct Damages caused by the landslide u-damages text Upstream Damages caused by the rising water d-damages text Downstream Damages caused by the outburst flood Bibliography text Bibliographic references about the event Note text Additional note or information Landslide Movement text Landslide movement classification (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) Velocity text Velocity classification of the Landslide (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) v [m/s] Velocity measure of the landslide (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) Material text Landslide material classification (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) Lithology text Lithology classification of the landslide Water c. text Water Content classification of the landslide (Cruden and Vernes, 1996) H L. [m] Altitude difference between higher and lower part of the Landslide α [°] Steepness of slope opposite to the Landslide β [°] Steepness of Landslide slope LL.tot. [m] Total length of the Landslide LL.body [m] Length of Landslide body Wmax [m] Maximum width of the Landslide Wmin [m] Minimum width of the Landslide D [m] Thickness of the Landslide rf SL. [m ] Surface of the Landslide VL. [m ] Volume of the Landslide Trigger text Trigger mechanism of the landslide Prev. activations dd/mm/yyyy Previous Activations of the Landslide before the damming event DAM Date of damming dd/mm/yyyy Date Of Damming Date of failure dd/mm/yyyy Date Of Failure of the dam (if any) d type [] Classification of the dam (Costa and Schuster, 1988) L d [m] Length of the dam W d [m] Width of the dam H d [m] Height of the dam Sd [m ] Surfece of the dam Vd [m ] Volume of the dam Q d [m] a.s.l. Altitude of the spill way (above sea level) d condition text Dam Condition Evolution text Evolution of the landslide dam Type of Failure text Dam failure mechanism (if any) Stream Main Basin text Name of the main basin Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 7 of 15 Table 1 The information fields (grouped in six main groups) structuring the landslide dam database with used unit of measure and short description (Continued) Dammed R. text Name of the dammed river Wvalley [m] Valley Width Subt. S [km ] Surface of the basin subtended by the landslide dam S [°] Steepness of river bed Lake Lake name text Lake Name L lake [m] Length of the lake W lake [m] Width of the lake D lake [m] Depth of the lake S lake [m ] Surface of the lake V lake [m ] Volume of the lake Q lake [m] a.s.l. Lake altitude (metres above see level) h of Lac.dep. [m] Height of lacustrine deposits (if any) Lake life time text Life time of the dam (hours, days, mounths, years, centuries) Lake Condition text Lake Condition Landslide dams database structure information related to speed. However, an – Type V: dams produced by multiple lobes of the assessment ofthe orderofmagnitude of landslide same landslide. velocity was possible thanks to the evaluation of – Type VI: cases in which the sliding surface passes the effects of the landslide in the formulation of below the river bed, rising it. Cruden and Varnes (1996). These authors established a relationship between different levels For the Dam Condition ten option are available (Casagli of damage, produced by the landslide, with and Ermini, 1999): different speed thresholds of the mass movement. In this way, they identified seven classes of – Partial blockage: if the obstruction of the riverbed damage and the same number of speed ranges, caused by the landslide is not complete (Type I of with a logical scheme similar to the Mercalli scale the Costa and Schuster (1988) classification) without formulation for the earthquakes intensity. the formation of an impoundment and a dam, but 4. Dam: in these fields both descriptive and with the reduction of riverbed section. morphometric information on dam characterization – Toe erosion: if the landslide’s foot is eroded by the are reported. In addition, information about the dam stream. condition and event evolution are provided. – Artificially cut/stabilized: the landslide dam is cut/ According to the geomorphological classification stabilized thanks the human work. proposed by Costa and Schuster (1988), landslide – Slightly/moderately/strongly cut: the dam body is dams were classified in six types: eroded in different extent, with small, medium and – Type I: small landslides compared to the riverbed, big intensity. which did not reach the opposite side of the – Not cut: the dam has not been cut yet and it is fully valley. In this case there is no dam in fact. intact. – Type II: landslides that cross the valley from side – Breached/Partly breached: the dam completely/ to side and realize dams. partly collapsed. – Type III: big landslides that reach the opposite side of the valley, moving upstream and downstream, The dams were classified in three classes according to and realize dams. They may run up the opposite their Evolution from their formation until now: slope. – Type IV: dams formed by two contemporaneous – Not formed: cases of partial damming of a stream, mass movements from the opposite valley sides. with just a reduction of the riverbed section. The Both the two landslides are numbered with an formation of an upstream lake basin did not occur. unique Identification Number (ID), distinguished The river deviation or the landslide toe erosion can with “,1” and “,2” after it. be the further consequences. Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 8 of 15 – Formed-unstable: the landslide leads to the Utility formation of dam and a lake basin, which According to many authors (Swanson et al.; 1986; Canuti remained for a variable span of time (from hours et al., 1998; Ermini and Casagli, 2003; Dal Sasso et al., to centuries) until the general collapse of the dam, 2014) landslide dam behavior can be forecasted through often caused by external contributing factors (e.g. geomorphological indexes. Said indexes are comprised of earthquakes). The failure of the blockage variables identifying the landslide (or the dam) and the dismantles the dam body and leads to the release river involved. These tools have given encouraging results, of acatastrophicfloodingwavedue theemptying showing great potential as assessment and forecasting of the impounded water, with high human danger. tools. The knowledge of these events is, however, far from The dam body ruins are often barely recognizable. complete, since there are many contributing factors in de- This class has been bestowed also when the termining their development and behavior over time. human intervention has strongly influenced the In order to develop reliable tools to assess the forma- dam evolution (e.g. with an artificial cut or tion and stability of landslide dams, it is fundamental to stabilization) to prevent possible dangerous acquire large data archives covering as many areas as consequences. possible collected with consistent methodologies and – Formed-stable: the landslide caused the complete with standardized information quality. blockage of the stream and the consequent formation of a lake basin. The dam is in a global stability and in dynamic balance from its formation. It is preserved Discussion until now, or it extinguished for filling. In some cases, In Italy landslide dams, like landslides in general, are a the dam has suffered overtopping episodes with highly widespread phenomena. In Fig. 5, landslide dams partial erosion, even the complete incision of the dam occurred during the last thousand years in Italy dated body, but no general collapse or catastrophic flooding through bibliographic data or with research on historical wave occurred. evidence are shown. In the figure a significant increase can be observed from the beginning of the XVIII century, There are three possible Type of Failure mechanisms in the period known in literature as the “Little Ice Age” (Costa and Schuster, 1988): (between the mid-XVI and mid-XIX century). During this period, strong advances of the glaciers fronts and episodes – Overtopping. of freezing of the main streams occurred. However, this – Piping. climatic oscillation can only partially explain the increase – Slope failure. in the landslide frequency. Canuti et al. (2004) partly attri- butes the general increase of landslides during the last five centuries also to a peak in clear-cutting of forests in the 5. River: containing the main parameters of the stream, same period. Moreover, the historical documents useful to the watershed area above the dam and the valley itself, identify a blockage events begin to be more frequent, wide- as its width. spread and best preserved to this day only in recent cen- 6. Lake: containing the main morphometric parameters turies, probably due to the spread of printing in the of the impoundment, if formed, and details on its fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Diffusion of information evolution. in the twentieth century, in fact, led to gather information on nearly 90 landslide dams in the last century. For the Lake Condition eleven options are available From the distribution map of landslide dams in Fig. 4, at (Casagli and Ermini, 1999): first glance, it is immediately possible to notice a higher concentration of cases in the Alps and the northern Apen- – Not formed (generic)/for erosion/for infiltration/for nines than in the Southern part of Italy. The distribution deviation: the lake did not form; is possible to of dams collected in Italy is obviously affected by the specify the cause (for erosion, infiltration or number and distribution of studies conducted so far and deviation). also by the morphological evidences that each event left – Existing/existing partly filled: the lake still exist/but on the territory. For this reason we are reasonably sure can be partly filled. that we are aware of most of the sizable cases occurred in – Disappeared (generic)/for man-made influence/for historical times in Italy, but also that many others, pos- spillway erosion/for filling/for dam collapse: the lake sibly of minor importance, were not detected. However, no longer exists; is possible to specify the cause there are some inconsistencies, in terms of number of (man-made influence, spillway erosion, filling or existing cases between one area and another that can be dam collapse). due to two reasons. Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 9 of 15 Fig. 5 Temporal occurrence of the inventoried cases during the last thousand years Firstly, the different morphological and hydrogeological volume (compared to the river discharge) and their characteristics of the affected areas, which control the for- morphologic evidenceiserasedin a shorttimebythe mation of the dam and constrain the geometry of the ob- erosive capacity of the watercourse. Most of these land- struction. Secondly, the quality and quantity of references slide dams, because of their small volume, produces founded, which can be much different for different cases. no social impacts on the territory and therefore it is Except for Sicily, in fact, the number of sources about not reported from any source. Therefore, we can as- events located in the Southern Apennines is lower as sume that this kind of landslide partial damming are compared to the Northern part of Italy and sometimes it much more frequent than known. was not even possible to identify the exact location of the As shown in Fig. 7, the lowest volume measured in the 4 3 described landslide dam. database was about 10 m and this lower boundary is The more a bibliographical record is related to an fully into the typical range of Type I dams. Furthermore, event far in the past (and/or of small size) the lower the most part of landslide dams with unknown volume be- accuracy of the data and the morphologic evidence is long to Type I. It can be assumed that at least a part of 4 3 preserved. A study case that clearly illustrates this possi- these dams had a small volume, even lower than 10 m . bility is the seismic event that affected large part of So, in average, this order of magnitude can be consid- Southern Italy in February 5, 1783, with maximum in- ered as the minimum landslide volume that can cause tensity in the Calabria Region. The earthquake caused any kind of detectable effect on a riverbed. more than 31˙000 victims and huge damages. Countless The severity of the consequences of a landslide dam were the landslides triggered by the event, including sev- comes directly from its evolution. The three evolution eral oversized which destroyed entire villages dragging classes (not formed, formed-unstable, formed-stable), are them downstream. Rivers were diverted or dammed, a useful classification tool to distinguish the wide range with the formation of at least 215 lakes (Fig. 6), as re- of possible dams, grouping them into sets with similar ported by Ruberti (1787) and Vivenzio (1788). Because characteristics and behavior. the lack of clear evidences in the current morphology The result of the division of the collected cases into and since most of the lakes were located along counter- evolutionary classes does not show a clear dominance slopes within landslide bodies, it was possible to identify of one class over the others. The formed-stable dams only a small part of the dams on the Calabrian territory. are the most frequent with 39 % of the cases, closely The same difficulty generally occurs to identify Type I followed by the not formed with 33 % and then by dams. According to the morphological classification the formed-unstable with 28 %. proposed by Costa and Schuster (1988), these are the According to the landslide dam classification proposed smaller type of landslide dam, compared to the valley by Costa and Schuster (1988) Fig. 8a) the most common size, that cannot reach the opposite slope but just re- class of Italian dams is the type II, representing 41 % of duce the riverbed width. Indeed landslides that fail to the total amount. Following, there are landslide dams of completely block a river valley generally have a small type I with 26 % and of type III with 24 %. Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 10 of 15 Fig. 6 a Map of the 215 lakes formed by the earthquake of 1783 in Calabria, Southern Italy (from Vivenzio, 1788 modified); b Real position of the greater lakes. 102: S. Cristina; 103: Marro; 104: Birbo; 105: De’ Preti; 106: Cumi; 107: Tricuccio; 108: Cucco; 109: Speziale; 110: Coluce; 111: S. Bruno; 112: Tofilo Much less frequent are the blockages of type IV and between 5 and 25 % of types II, III and VI, while they VI, both with about 4 %. In Italy dams of type V were were not found among type IV. not distinguished from the others so type V was not The formed-stable blockages are the most representative considered in the statistics. While the most frequent class among the landslide dams of type II and III with type of blockage, represented by type II landslide dam, is 55–60 % of the cases, while among the landslide dams of in agreement with that observed by Casagli and Ermini type IV and VI the formed-unstable blockages are the (1999) in the Northern Apennines, the percentage about most frequent with about 50 % and 35 % respectively. type I is much higher (27 % against 19 % for Casagli and The histogram of Fig. 9 shows the type of landslide Ermini, 1999 and 11 % for Costa and Schuster, 1988). movement (Cruden and Varnes, 1996) included in the Type II and type I of landslide dams in whole Italy over- database. The term “complex” is referred to the style of come even those of type III, that in Casagli and Ermini a landslide characterized by two or more main move- (1999) and Costa and Schuster (1988) were the second ments combined in time or in space. most frequent blockage type. Five main types of movement are most widespread in As regards their evolution, Fig. 8b) shows that the not- Italy, even though outside of the particular category of formed class represents 100 % of the dams of type I and landslides that cause damming. The landslides classified as Fig. 7 Volumes distribution of landslide dams collected in Italy. The part of them represented by Type I dams (according to the classification proposed by Costa and Schuster, 1988) are highlighted in blue. (NA = Not Available) Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 11 of 15 Fig. 8 Classification of landslide dams in Italy a according to Costa and Schuster (1988) b and their evolution classes distribution complex are the most common with 99 checked cases landslides) did not produce a complete obstruction. In- and usually are the result of a first translational and/or stead, a small part of the landslides classified as flows rotational slide movement of debris and/or rock, that formed a dam stable until now (only 14 %), while the evolve in a second movement classified as a mud or majority of formed dams were stable only for a short debris flow. Very common throughout the territory are period of time (44 %) or not formed at all (41 %). Slides, also individual rotational (with 87 cases) and transla- translational or rotational, have a completely different tional slides (48 cases). Blockages of river courses rarely evolutionary behavior. The rotational slide are almost occur by flows, falls or topples, because the volume of equally distributed in not formed, formed-unstable and involved material is usually small and no visible traces formed-stable, and most part of the translational move- of the landslide remain. Between the landslides that ments seem not to be able to build a complete damming originated the obstruction of a stream bed there are no (56 %). When the damming is complete, though, it is reported lateral spread cases in Italy. often stable (37 %). The higher stability of fall and com- From the point of view of the evolution, most part of plex landslides compared to flows is probably due the landslides classified as fall (63 %) and complex (Canuti et al., 1998) to the usual bigger volume and the (50 %) resulted in formed-stable dams and just a fraction internal geotechnical properties of the fall and complex of these landslides (10 % for falls and 15 % for complex landslides materials. Fig. 9 Types of landslide movement compared with the evolution of the dam in Italy Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 12 of 15 An important characteristic for purposes of civil pro- In order to investigate the formation of a natural dam tection and for the assessment of the damage caused by and its stability, the following triggering causes for land- landslide dams is the durability of the dam body over slide dam were recognized in the Italian database: time, especially in the short term. Most landslide dams fail by overtopping or piping shortly after their formation  Snow fall or melting. (Costa and Schuster, 1988; Ermini and Casagli, 2003),  Fluvial erosion. typically in conjunction with the first serious hydraulic  Heavy rainfall. emergency faced by the dam.  Anthropic causes. Figure 10 shows the dam longevity curve constructed  Earthquakes. using all the available data. A large part of landslide dams (about 65 %) fail by overtopping or piping within Although the triggering causes were unknown or un- one month of their formation, in agreement with what certain in 130 cases of the database, just over half of the reported by Costa and Schuster (1991) and Ermini remaining cases (52 %) were provoked by seismic events (2000), while about 20 % of the total are stable for over a and approximately another third (33.5 %) by heavy rain- year and almost 10 % for over 10 years. A statistics on fall events. The remaining part is shared by fluvial ero- this kind of time behavior for landslide dams is particu- sion with 10.4 %, snow fall or melting with 2.9 % and larly important since it is known, from the analysis of anthropic causes with 1.2 %. past cases, that there are dams that remain stable for de- The geographical distribution of Italian landslide dams cades and then suddenly collapse when it was believed according to their main triggering causes seems to reflect that they were stable. These events often cause extensive the heterogeneous distribution of geological environments. damage because all precautions and alert conditions were If the national territory is divided from North to South in removed, as happened for the case of Kummersee lake (ID Alps, Northern Apennines and Southern Apennines, as 118), in Northern Italy (Pirocchi, 1991), or for the Matthieu shown in Fig. 11a) almost all of the dams caused by seismic lake in Dominica, West Indies (James and De Graff, 2012), events are located in the Southern Apennines. In fact which collapsed respectively 15 and 14 years after the for- about 77 % of the 104 landslide dams surveyed in Southern mation. The former reached the city of Merano located Italy with known trigger are caused by high magnitude 25 km downstream, causing 400 casualties, with a wave of earthquakes (Fig. 11b). However, this statistics is heavily mud and debris, while the latter did not result in fatalities influenced by the catastrophic seismic event of 1783 or injuries because it occurred in the middle of the with 13 cases. night in a rural area with no inhabitants, despite signifi- In the Northern Apennines and along the Alps, instead, cant property and infrastructure losses. the most frequent triggering cause for landslide dams is Fig. 10 Survival time before the failure of landslide dams Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 13 of 15 Fig. 11 a Division of Italian territory in Alps, Northern Apennines and Southern Apennines regions; b Distribution in the three Italian regions of the triggers of movements that formed a landslide dam the intense rainfall, with 61 % and 59 % respectively. This Figure 12 shows the evolution classes of the inventor- difference with respect to the Southern Apennines high- ied landslide dams, according to the landslide triggers. lights how Italy is representative of a large diversity of cli- The unstable dams are clearly prevailing between land- matic and geological environments but it is also due to a slides caused by intense rainfall events and snowmelt, few large earthquake events that have recently hit that part reaching 53 % and 60 % of the singles categories respect- of Italy. Alps are glaciated areas with high relief energy ively. Those caused by river erosion are equally distrib- and high gradients. The Northern Apennines are charac- uted between not formed and formed-unstable, with terized by a highly variable morphology and several high 39 % each and 22 % of formed-stable. In Italy landslides intensity rainfall areas, while the Southern Apennines are caused by earthquakes, usually (58 % of cases), do not areas with less rainy climate and tectonically active, char- produce dams because, often, they involve small volumes acterized by an higher seismic activity. of material. However, during earthquakes of higher mag- It is also important to describe in details and to clas- nitude, the volume of triggered landslides may be much sify landslide triggering factors to check if they control greater so that 27 % of dams formed are formed-stable, somehow the blockages evolution. compared to 15 % of the formed-unstable. This is the Fig. 12 Evolution of the inventoried landslide dams, according to the cause that triggered movement Tacconi Stefanelli et al. Geoenvironmental Disasters (2015) 2:21 Page 14 of 15 only category where the number of formed-stable dams Acknowledgements We acknowledge Leonardo Ermini for his advices during the start of the is greater than formed-unstable dams. research sharing his experience in the data collecting and geomorphological analysis and precious knowledge about landslide dams. Conclusions Received: 13 May 2015 Accepted: 4 August 2015 Landslide dams are the result of the complex interaction between river and slope dynamics, not yet fully under- stood. In order to provide the base to develop specific References forecasting tools to assess the landslide dam formation Almagià R (1907) Studi Geografici sopra le frane in Italia. Mem Soc Geogr It 13, and evolution, the main aim of this research was to Vol XIII:342 compile a large data archive, collected with a consistent Boccia A (1804) Viaggio ai monti di Parma. Libreria Aurea, Parma Bonnard C (2011) Technical and Human Aspects of Historic Rockslide Dammed and standardized methodology. Lakes and Landslide dam Breaches. In: Natural and Artificial Rockslide Dams. The research started updating previous studies on the Springer, Heidelberg, pp 101–122 same topic in smaller areas (Pirocchi, 1991; Ermini, 2000; Canuti P, Casagli N, Ermini L (1998) Inventory of Landslide Dams in the Northern Apennine as a Model for Induced Flood Hazard Forecasting. In: Andah K (ed) Pacino, 2002) and integrating them through cartographic Managing Hydro-Geological Disasters in a Vulnerable Environment. CNR-GNDCI and aerial photo interpretation and a careful literature re- and UNESCO IHP, Perugia, pp 189–202 view. This data set represents the first systematic national Canuti P, Casagli N, Ermini L, Fanti R, Farina P (2004) Landslide activity as a geoindicator in Italy: significance and new perspectives from remote inventory of landslide dams in Italy. sensing. Environ Geol 45(7):907–919 The data were gathered in a database, comprising of Carotta A (1997) Le nostre radici: Brancafora. La Serenissima, Vicenza, p 333 300 records, with a simple format to privilege usability Casagli N, Ermini L (1999) Geomorphic analysis of landslide dams in the Northern Apennine. Trans Jpn Geomorphol 20(3):219–249 and future implementation. It is composed of 57 easy- Casagli N, Iotti A, Tarchiani U (1995) Caratteri geomorfologici e geotecnici della to-collect-and-measure information fields, representing frana di S. Benedetto Val di Sambro (BO). Proceeding of II Incontro Internazionale the most important morphological parameters and infor- di Giovani Ricercatori in Geologia Applicata, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, 11–13 October 1995 mation about landslide dams. Cencetti C, De Rosa P, Fredduzzi A (2011) Cellular automata model: an application Many of the cases are from historical events, often re- to landslide dam of “Le Mottacce” (Tuscany, Central Italy). 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In: Turner AK, Shuster RL (eds) Transportation Research Board, Special Report 247., pp 36–75 catastrophic events as they really happened, but sometimes Dal Sasso SF, Sole A, Pascale S, Sdao F, Bateman Pinzòn A, Medina V (2014) with fictional elements. Assessment methodology for the prediction of landslide dam hazard. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 14:557–567 Ermini L (2000) Elaborazione di un modello per la precisione dell’evoluzione di Availability and requirements sbarramenti fluviali causati da frane, unpublished. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Florence, p 159. Ermini L, Casagli N (2003) Prediction of the behavior of landslide dams using a Available database: geomorphological dimensionless index. Earth Surf Proc Land 28(1):31–47 Any restrictions to use by non-academics: none. Evans SE (1984) The 1880 landslide dam on Thompson River near Ashcroft, British Columbia. Geological Survey of Canada, part A, 655-658 Evans SE (1986) Landslide Damming in the Cordillera of Western Canada. In: Schuster Additional file RL (ed) Landslide Dams: Processes, Risk, and Mitigation. Proceeding of a session sponsored by the Geotechnical Engineering Division of the American Society of Additional file 1: Landslide Dams DataBase. Description of data: Civil Engineers in conjunction with the ASCE Convention, American Society of archive of 300 Italian landslide dams described trough 57 information Civil Engineers Geotechnical Special Publication, 3, Seattle, 7 April 1986 fields useful for events characterization. Both descriptive data and Fan X, Tang CX, van Westen CJ, Alkema D (2012a) Simulating dam-breach flood morphometric data are present. (PDF 4903 kb) scenarios of the Tangjiashan landslide dam induced by the Wenchuan Earthquake. Natl Hazards Earth Syst Sci 12(10):3031–3044 Fan X, van Westen CJ, Korup O, Gorum T, Xu Q, Dai F, Huang R, Wang G (2012b) Competing interests Transient water and sediment storage of the decaying landslide dams induced The authors declare that they have no competing interests. by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, China. Geomorphology 171:58–68 Fan X, van Westen CJ, Xu Q, Gorum T, Dai F (2012c) Analysis of landslide dams induced by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. J Asian Earth Sci 57:25–37 Authors’ contributions Irmler R, Daut G, Mäusbacher R (2006) A debris flow calendar derived from CTS carried out the investigations, collected the data and drafted the sediments of lake Lago di Braies (N. Italy). Geomorphology 77(1):69–78 manuscript; FC participated in the arrangement of the structure and James A, De Graff JV (2012) The draining of Matthieu landslide-dam lake, Dominica, correction of the manuscript and in the discussion and conclusion of West Indies. 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E di quanto nella Calabria fu fatto per lo suo risorgimento fino al 1787. Precedute da una Teoria ed Istoria generale dei tremuoti, IIa edizione, Stamperia Reale, 2 voll., Napoli Submit your manuscript to a journal and benefi t from: 7 Convenient online submission 7 Rigorous peer review 7 Immediate publication on acceptance 7 Open access: articles freely available online 7 High visibility within the fi eld 7 Retaining the copyright to your article Submit your next manuscript at 7 springeropen.com

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Geoenvironmental DisastersSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 14, 2015

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