, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 93–105 | Cite as

Deriving landslide dam geometry from remote sensing images for the rapid assessment of critical parameters related to dam-breach hazards

  • Jia-Jyun DongEmail author
  • Po-Jung Lai
  • Chung-Pai Chang
  • Sheng-Hsueh Yang
  • Keh-Chia Yeh
  • Jyh-Jong Liao
  • Yii-Wen Pan
Original Paper


Dam-breaches that cause outburst floods may induce downstream hazards. Because landslide dams can breach soon after they are formed, it is critical to assess the stability quickly to enable prompt action. However, dam geometry, an essential component of hazard evaluation, is not available in most cases. Our research proposes a procedure that utilizes post-landslide orthorectified remote sensing images and the pre-landslide Digital Terrain Model in the Geographic Information System to estimate the geometry of a particular dam. The procedure includes the following three modules: (1) the selection of the reference points on the dam and lake boundaries, (2) the interpolation of the dam-crest elevation, and (3) the estimation of dam-geometry parameters (i.e., the height, length, and width), the catchment area, the volumes of barrier lake and landslides dam. This procedure is demonstrated through a case study of the Namasha Landslide Dam in Taiwan. It was shown the dam-surface elevation estimated from the proposed procedure can approximate the elevation derived from profile leveling after the formation of the landslide dam. Thus, it is feasible to assess the critical parameters required for the landslide dam hazard assessment rapidly once the ortho-photo data are available. The proposed procedure is useful for quick and efficient decision making regarding hazard mitigation.


Landslide dam Hazards Remote sensing image Digital terrain model 



This work was supported by the National Science Council of the Republic of China (Taiwan) under contract nos. NSC 99-2625-M-009-004-MY3 and NSC 99-2116-M-008-028. This support is gratefully acknowledged. The authors are grateful to editor and two reviewers for they provided very constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jia-Jyun Dong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Po-Jung Lai
    • 1
  • Chung-Pai Chang
    • 2
  • Sheng-Hsueh Yang
    • 3
  • Keh-Chia Yeh
    • 3
  • Jyh-Jong Liao
    • 3
  • Yii-Wen Pan
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Applied GeologyNational Central UniversityJhongliTaiwan
  2. 2.Center for Space and Remote Sensing ResearchNational Central UniversityJhongliTaiwan
  3. 3.Disaster Prevention and Water Environment Research CenterNational Chiao Tung UniversityHsinchuTaiwan

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