Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-83
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
02 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Rapid post-earthquake modelling of coseismic landslide magnitude and distribution for emergency response decision support
Tom R. Robinson, Nicholas J. Rosser, Alexander L. Densmore, Jack G. Williams, Mark E. Kincey, Jessica Benjamin, and Heather J. A. Bell Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK
Abstract. Current methods to identify coseismic landslides immediately after an earthquake using optical imagery are too slow to effectively inform emergency response activities. Issues with cloud cover, data collection and processing, and manual landslide identification mean even the most rapid mapping exercises are often incomplete when the emergency response ends. This study presents a new, rapid method for assessing the total distribution and relative magnitude of coseismic landsliding in the hours and days immediately after an earthquake, allowing the results to effectively inform stakeholders during the response. The method uses fuzzy logic in GIS to assess which predisposing factors have influenced landslide occurrence during the earthquake, based on small initial samples of identified landslides. We show that this approach can accurately model both the spatial pattern and the relative magnitude (number density) of landsliding from the event based on just several hundred mapped landslides, provided they have sufficiently wide spatial coverage, improving upon previous methods. This suggests that systematic high fidelity mapping of landslides following an earthquake is not necessary. Instead, mapping should focus on rapid sampling from the entire affected area to generate results that can inform the model. This method is therefore suited to conditions in which imagery is affected by partial cloud cover, or in which the total number of landslides is so large that mapping requires significant time to complete. The method therefore has the potential to provide a quick assessment of landslide hazard after an earthquake, and may therefore inform emergency operations more effectively compared to current practice.

Citation: Robinson, T. R., Rosser, N. J., Densmore, A. L., Williams, J. G., Kincey, M. E., Benjamin, J., and Bell, H. J. A.: Rapid post-earthquake modelling of coseismic landslide magnitude and distribution for emergency response decision support, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-83, in review, 2017.
Tom R. Robinson et al.
Tom R. Robinson et al.
Tom R. Robinson et al.

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Short summary
Current methods to identify landslides after an earthquake are too slow to effectively inform emergency response operations. This study presents an empirical approach for modelling the spatial pattern and landslide density within hours to days of the earthquake. The approach uses small initial samples of landslides to identify locations where as-yet unidentified landslides may have occurred. The model requires just 200 initial landslides provided they have sufficiently wide spatial coverage.
Current methods to identify landslides after an earthquake are too slow to effectively inform...
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