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Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Petley, D.N., Mantovani, F., Bulmer, M.H. & Zannoni, A. The use of surface monitoring data for the interpretation of landslide movement patterns. Geomorphology. 2005;66:133-147.

Author(s) from Durham


The Tessina landslide is a large, seasonally active slope failure located on the southern slopes of Mt. Teverone, in the Alpago valley of NE Italy, consisting of a complex system that has developed in Tertiary Flysch deposits. The landslide, which first became active in 1960, threatens two villages and is hence subject to detailed monitoring, with high quality data being collected using piezometers, inclinometers, extensometers, and through the use of a highly innovative, automated Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) system, which surveys the location of a large number of reflector targets once every 6 h. These systems form the basis of a warning system that protects the villages, but they also provide a very valuable insight into the patterns of movement of the landslide.

In this paper, analysis is presented of the movement of the landslide, concentrating on the EDM dataset, which provides a remarkable record of surface displacement patterns. It is proposed that four distinct movement patterns can be established, which correspond closely to independently defined morphological assessments of the landslide complex. Any given block of material transitions through the four phases of movement as it progresses down the landslide, with the style of movement being controlled primarily by the groundwater conditions. The analysis is augmented with modelling of the landslide, undertaken using the Itasca FLAC code. The modelling suggests that different landslide patterns are observed for different parts of the landslide, primarily as a result of variations in the groundwater conditions. The model suggests that when a movement event occurs, displacements occur initially at the toe of the landslide, then retrogress upslope.


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Department of Geography