In the alpine environment, rainfall-induced shallow landslides can involve thin covers of colluvial soil (50–300 cm) on terraced belts that were formed as a result of fill-and-cut sedimentary processes that followed the deglaciation of the alpine valleys. Notably, research on shallow slope failures involving alpine terraces consisting of a near-flat upper ground surface (“tread”) and a moderately steep scarp (“riser”) is lacking in the literature. This paper describes the engineering geological characteristics and failure mechanisms of a large number of shallow landslides (soil slips or slide-debris flows) that were activated on alpine stratified colluvial terraces due to a rainstorm that hit the mountain area of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (NE Italy) on 21–22 June 1996. The paper reports data on the geomorphological and engineering geological characteristics of the soil slips acquired through extensive fieldwork and shows the outcomes of some two-dimensional seepage and slope stability analyses that were carried out in order to investigate the critical hydrological conditions and mechanisms that were responsible for the soil slip activation during and after rainfall. The soil slip activation can occur at two different stages during the infiltration process, based on the interacting water flows through the terrace tread and riser. The first critical stability condition is reached during the phases of greater precipitation intensity or at the end of the rainstorm because of the saturation of the top soil layer on the terrace riser and the subsequent formation of an ephemeral water table accompanied by a seepage sub-parallel to the slope face. The second critical condition is achieved some hours after the end of rainfall as a result of a tread-to-riser water outflow that is supplied by the water amount stored within the near-flat terrace tread during the peak rainfall stages (reservoir-like effect). This study also shows that a critical value of rainfall intensity of about 40–45 mm/h can cause the activation of soil slips in mountain basins characterised by a humid continental climate and by the occurrence of colluvial deposits with a high content of fine fraction. This critical value of rainfall intensity should be considered as a rainfall threshold for a basin-scale under geomorphological and geological conditions similar to those investigated in this paper.

Rainfall infiltration and slope stability of alpine colluvial terraces subject to storms (NE Italy)

Paronuzzi P.;Bolla A.
2023-01-01

Abstract

In the alpine environment, rainfall-induced shallow landslides can involve thin covers of colluvial soil (50–300 cm) on terraced belts that were formed as a result of fill-and-cut sedimentary processes that followed the deglaciation of the alpine valleys. Notably, research on shallow slope failures involving alpine terraces consisting of a near-flat upper ground surface (“tread”) and a moderately steep scarp (“riser”) is lacking in the literature. This paper describes the engineering geological characteristics and failure mechanisms of a large number of shallow landslides (soil slips or slide-debris flows) that were activated on alpine stratified colluvial terraces due to a rainstorm that hit the mountain area of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (NE Italy) on 21–22 June 1996. The paper reports data on the geomorphological and engineering geological characteristics of the soil slips acquired through extensive fieldwork and shows the outcomes of some two-dimensional seepage and slope stability analyses that were carried out in order to investigate the critical hydrological conditions and mechanisms that were responsible for the soil slip activation during and after rainfall. The soil slip activation can occur at two different stages during the infiltration process, based on the interacting water flows through the terrace tread and riser. The first critical stability condition is reached during the phases of greater precipitation intensity or at the end of the rainstorm because of the saturation of the top soil layer on the terrace riser and the subsequent formation of an ephemeral water table accompanied by a seepage sub-parallel to the slope face. The second critical condition is achieved some hours after the end of rainfall as a result of a tread-to-riser water outflow that is supplied by the water amount stored within the near-flat terrace tread during the peak rainfall stages (reservoir-like effect). This study also shows that a critical value of rainfall intensity of about 40–45 mm/h can cause the activation of soil slips in mountain basins characterised by a humid continental climate and by the occurrence of colluvial deposits with a high content of fine fraction. This critical value of rainfall intensity should be considered as a rainfall threshold for a basin-scale under geomorphological and geological conditions similar to those investigated in this paper.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1251725
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