Total water content thresholds for shallow landslides, Outer Western Carpathians

Abstract

Shallow landslides are fairly frequent natural processes which emerge as a result of both rainfall and rapid snowmelt in the Flysch Belt of the Outer Western Carpathians. We estimated the total water content thresholds for the previously defined seven phases of increased landsliding which took place between 1939 and 2010 around the Napajedla meteorological station. The time series were reconstructed on the basis of data from surrounding stations. Rainfalls with the highest intensities (>1 mm/min) were removed from the set. Rainfall of such an intensity primarily causes overland flow and soil erosion and does not contribute to landslide threshold. The snow water equivalent was computed on the basis of the snow height, and possible errors were evaluated as interval estimations. An interval of 10 days before a landslide phase was selected for the total water content threshold. The resulting lower boundary (67.0 mm/10 days) and upper boundary (163.3 mm/10 days) thresholds of water infiltrated into soil during an event shall be part of the prepared online warning system in this area.

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Acknowledgments

This paper was prepared with the help of a project undertaken by the Transport Research Centre (OP R&D for Innovation no. CZ.1.05/2.1.00/03.0064). Pavel Zahradníček was supported by the project “Hydrometeorological Extremes in Southern Moravia Derived from Documentary Evidence” (Czech Science Foundation, no. 13-19831S). Petr Štěpánek was supported by the project “Establishment of International Scientific Team Focused on Drought Research” (no. OP VKCZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0248). We would further like to thank Jan Šikula from the Czech Geological Survey for the information about the overall number of landslides. We also highly appreciate the help and suggestion of the two anonymous reviewers. Any errors are solely the responsibility of the authors.

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Correspondence to Michal Bíl.

Appendix

Appendix

An outline of the identified landslide phases.

  • 1939 and 1941—Mentioned by Špůrek M (1967) and recorded in chronicles of several villages from the area. As was already mentioned by Bíl et al. (2014), these phases were insufficiently documented because they occurred during World War Two.

  • 1965—The spring and summer of this year were exceptional because of the long-lasting raining with low intensities. It is possible to read in the local chronicles about numerous days with continuous raining, e.g.,: “… it rained persistently without a break 15 days in April, then all May, June and more than half of July. Even the oldest eyewitnesses, and there are a lot of them, do not remember such bad weather in this part of the year…” (Chronicle of the village of Spytihněv).

  • 1970—This was a local phase which, in all probability, took place around the Napajedla station. The chronicles and accounts of eyewitnesses relate that it was an extreme winter with thick snow cover, which stayed until the middle of March and then disappeared relatively rapidly. Only four landslides were identified, but the circumstances allowed us to delimit this event as a landslide phase.

  • 1997—Krejčí et al. (2002) described the extreme conditions which caused the 1997 landslide phase and its impacts. Approximately 262 mm fell at the rainfall station Hošťálková, 375 mm at the town of Valašské Meziříčí and 228 mm near the town of Vsetín between 4 and 8 July 1997. The whole of July recorded about 70 % of the long-term annual sum. These values were more than four times higher than the average rainfall recorded in July. Over 1500 landslides were recorded in July 1997 (Krejčí et al. 2002). This phase had a large regional extent and also hit Slovakia and Poland (Raczkowski and Mrozek 2002).

  • 2006—The thick snow cover stayed until the end of March 2006 when higher air temperatures and heavy rainfall appeared. The first significant rain (>10 mm/day) fell on March 26, which was followed on March 28–29 by 35 mm of rainfall. The consequence was major flooding throughout the CZ and more than 90 landslides in Moravia (Bíl and Müller 2008).

  • 2010—Another landslide phase took place in the area of the OWC in May 2010. The landslides were triggered solely by rainfalls at that time (Pánek et al. 2011).

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Bíl, M., Andrášik, R., Zahradníček, P. et al. Total water content thresholds for shallow landslides, Outer Western Carpathians. Landslides 13, 337–347 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10346-015-0570-9

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Keywords

  • Landslides
  • Threshold
  • Snowmelt
  • Time series
  • Antecedent rainfall
  • Outer Western Carpathians