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Landslides

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 163–176 | Cite as

A landslide database for Nicaragua: a tool for landslide-hazard management

  • Graziella Devoli
  • Wilfried Strauch
  • Guillermo Chávez
  • Kaare Høeg
Original Article

Abstract

A digital landslide database has been created for Nicaragua to provide the scientific community and national authorities with a tool for landslide-hazard assessment, emergency management, land-use planning, development of early warning systems, and the implementation of public and private policies. The Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (Nicaraguan Geosciences Institute, INETER) began to compile the database in a digital format in 2003 as part of a comprehensive geographical information system for all types of geohazards. Landslide data have been obtained from a variety of sources including newspapers, technical reports, and landslide inventory maps. Inventory maps are largely based on fieldwork and aerial-photo analyses conducted by foreign development agencies in collaboration with INETER and other Nicaraguan institutions. This paper presents the sources of landslide information, introduces the database, and presents the first analyses of the data at national and regional scales. The database currently contains spatial information for about 17,000 landslides that occurred in mountainous and volcanic terrains. Information is mainly recorded for the period 1826–2003, with a large number of events that occurred during the disastrous Hurricane Mitch in October 1998. The oldest historical event is dated at 1570, some events are recorded as prehistorical, and other events have unknown dates of occurrence. Debris flows have been the most common types of landslides, both in volcanic and nonvolcanic areas, but other types, including rockfalls and slides, have also been identified. Intense and prolonged rainfall, often associated with tropical cyclones, and seismic and volcanic activity represent the most important landslide triggers. At a regional scale, the influence of topographic (elevation, slope angle, slope aspect) and lithologic parameters on the occurrence of landslides was analyzed. The development of the database allowed us to define the state of knowledge on landslide processes in the Nicaragua and to provide a preliminary identification of areas affected by landslides.

Keywords

Landslides Landslide database Nicaragua 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The landslide database utilizes data obtained from many Nicaraguan and foreign researchers who worked in cooperation projects with INETER and other Nicaraguan institutions. INETER geologists, geophysicists, and computer specialists participated in fieldwork and data analysis. The Department of Geophysics of INETER provided logistic support and computer facilities. The database was designed as part of the project “Mitigation and Prevention of Georisks in Nicaragua and Central America” executed by INETER in cooperation with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR, Germany). Data integration, interactive queries, and analyses were conducted at the International Centre for Geohazards (ICG) and at the University of Oslo (UiO), Norway. The authors greatly acknowledge PhD-candidate Bård Romstad from UiO for his support during the preparation of interactive queries. This paper is the ICG contribution no. 132.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graziella Devoli
    • 1
    • 3
  • Wilfried Strauch
    • 2
  • Guillermo Chávez
    • 2
  • Kaare Høeg
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.International Centre for Geohazardsc/o Norwegian Geotechnical InstituteOsloNorway
  2. 2.Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios TerritorialesDirección General de GeofísicaManaguaNicaragua
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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