Identifying landslide hazards in a tropical mountain environment, using geomorphologic and probabilistic approaches
Roa, Jose G
Kearney, Michael S.
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The objective of this study is the performance, assessing, comparison and validation of a set of three landslide hazard maps: The geomorphological, the multicriteria evaluation (MCE) and the probabilistic (weights of evidence); in order to evaluate its accuracy, advantages and limitations, and finally state its reliability. These approaches were tested in a tropical mountain environment located in the central Venezuelan Andes. The scale of this study is regional. A landslide inventory map was generated through aerial-photointerpretation and by the processing of two sets of Landsat imagery via contrast-widening color composite, given as result the outline of 493 landslide polygons, then given the main role played for a digital elevation model (DEM) as data input, a DEM for the study area was built through remotely sensed data obtained from the shuttle radar topographical mission (SRTM) and optical stereographic imagery provided by the advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer (ASTER) system. Because of the comparative nature of this study, these data was preliminary processed via density analysis in order to establish a common background on the landsliding process - passive factors relationship, which was used later to set up the criteria applied in the geomorphological and multicriteria evaluation (MCE) approaches. As a way of validation, the accuracy and error rate of the three landslide hazard maps were performed by its comparison to the landslide inventory map. It was concluded that although the geomorphological approach achieved a better landslide predictive power for this study area at a regional scale, the remaining procedures can play a complementary role, for example the MCE plays a crucial role in an early assessment of landslide hazard which highlights the needs and improving necessary to achieve a better probabilistic approach, which can be later incorporated in a more objective geomorphological assessment. Results also showed that any methodology can be improved and even empowered by the development of better and more integrated standards for factor maps collection rather that the simplification of them, in that way, further studies at regional scale must explore the remotely sensed imagery capacities for generation of data bases addressing regional susceptibility to landsliding process.