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Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 66, Issue 7, pp 1973–1986 | Cite as

Suggestion of a method for landslide early warning using the change in the volumetric water content gradient due to rainfall infiltration

  • Byung-Gon Chae
  • Man-Il KimEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

An early warning system can be an effective measure to reduce the damage caused by landslides by facilitating the timely evacuation of residents from a landslide-prone area. Early detection of landslide triggering across a broad range of natural terrain types can be accomplished by monitoring rainfall and the physical property changes of soils in real time or near-real time. This study involved the installation of a real-time monitoring system to observe physical property changes in soils in a valley during rainfall events. This monitoring included the measurement of volumetric water content, which was compared with the results of laboratory flume tests to identify landslide indicators in the soils. The response of volumetric water content to rainfall events is more immediate than that of pore-water pressure, and volumetric water content retains its maximum value for some time before slope failure. Therefore, an alternative method for landslide monitoring can be based on the observation of volumetric water content and its changes over time at shallow soil depths. Although no landslide occurred, the field monitoring results showed a directly proportional relationship between the effective cumulative rainfall and the gradient of volumetric water content per unit time (t/t max). This preliminary study thus related slope failure to the volumetric water content gradient as a function of rainfall. Laboratory results showed that a high amount of rainfall and a high gradient of volumetric water content could induce slope failure. Based on these results, it is possible to suggest a threshold value of the volumetric water content gradient demarcating the conditions for slope stability and slope failure. This threshold can thus serve as the basis of an early warning system for landslides considering both rainfall and soil properties.

Keywords

Landslides Early warning Monitoring Rainfall Volumetric water content 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the Basic Research Project (development of practical technologies for hazard countermeasures for steep slopes and abandoned mine areas) of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) funded by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of Korea. This study was also partly supported by the International Research AND Development Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) of Korea (Grant number: 2010-00741, FY2010).

Supplementary material

12665_2011_1423_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2487 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Environment DivisionKorea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral ResourcesDaejeonKorea
  2. 2.The Institute of Infrastructure SafetyKorea Infrastructure Safety and Technology CorporationGoyangKorea

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