Landslides

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A multi-method approach for the characterization of landslides in an intramontane basin in the Andes (Loja, Ecuador)

  • John Soto
  • Jorge P. Galve
  • José Antonio Palenzuela
  • José Miguel Azañón
  • José Tamay
  • Clemente Irigaray
Original Paper

Abstract

In the last several decades, population growth in the cities of the Andes has caused urban areas to expand into landslide-prone areas. Fatal landslides affecting urban settlements are especially frequent in cities located in the Neogene intramontane basins of the Andes. These basins have similar situations and include geographical and geological features that frequently generate ground instabilities. We studied the characteristics of the mass movements observed in these basins by carrying out a detailed analysis of four landslides that have occurred in the Loja Basin (Ecuador). This multi-method study integrated geophysical, geotechnical methods, mineralogical studies and analyses of precipitation time series. Our study characterizes the slope movements as active, slow-moving, complex earthslide earthflows. According to Differential GPS measurements, these landslides move at velocities of up to several metres per year. Electrical resistivity tomography profiles show that most of the landslides are mainly surficial. Time-series analyses of precipitation reveal that rainfall events that are not exceptionally intensive can reactivate these landslides. This characteristic and the development of these landslides on low-gradient slopes are explained using the results obtained from the geotechnical and mineralogical analyses. We find that the smectite clay minerals detected in the mobilized geological formations, combined with the tropical climate of the northern Andean region, induce the observed weak slope stability conditions. The conceptual model for the studied landslides may aid in assessing landslide-prone areas in Loja and other Neogene intramontane basins of the Andes and can help to mitigate the associated risks.

Keywords

Landslides DGPS ERT Geotechnics Clay minerals Time-series analysis 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Soto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jorge P. Galve
    • 2
  • José Antonio Palenzuela
    • 3
  • José Miguel Azañón
    • 2
  • José Tamay
    • 1
  • Clemente Irigaray
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de Geología y Minas e Ingeniería CivilUniversidad Técnica Particular de LojaLojaEcuador
  2. 2.Departamento de Geodinámica, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Ingeniería Civil, ETSICCPUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain

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