, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 985–996 | Cite as

Reactivation of mass movements in Dessie graben, the example of an active landslide area in the Ethiopian Highlands

  • Zuzana VařilováEmail author
  • Jan Kropáček
  • Jiří Zvelebil
  • Martin Šťastný
  • Vít Vilímek
Recent Landslides


Dessie town is located in a tectonic depression along the western rift margin with a young, high energy relief. Study area is known for numerous landslides in the past. These landslides are of different types, from shallow soil creeping to huge deep-seated landslides with appreciable consequences. Landslides endanger the quickly growing regional centre of Dessie and its infrastructure. Four typical recent landslides have been selected and studied in detail using both remote sensing and field observations from 2013. The described reactivation and new landslide events have been caused by a combination of natural influences and anthropogenic activities. Since seasonal rainfall is the main external triggering factor, precipitation data from Dessie weather station were analysed. The degree of negative human impact on slope instability was also discussed. Endangered zones and the actual risk in the studied localities were identified, and adequate measures were proposed.


Ethiopian highlands Dessie graben Landslides Natural hazards Human impact 



This project was performed in the framework of the GACR project ‘Mass wasting and erosion as an indicator of morphotectonic activity in the Ethiopian Highlands based on remote sensing approaches’ (P209/12/J068) and the German Science Foundation (DFG), project ‘Integrated assessment of geomorphological process dynamics on different spatio-temporal scales in the Ethiopian Highlands using remote sensing and advanced modelling approaches’ (HO1840/11-1). The ALOS/PRISM data were provided by ESA in the framework of the project ID13160. We thank Mr. Calogero Schillaci for his help with the processing of the ALOS/PRISM data. Special thanks also go to Mr. Ali Ahmet for his valuable information on the landslide history of the Dessie area.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zuzana Vařilová
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jan Kropáček
    • 3
  • Jiří Zvelebil
    • 1
  • Martin Šťastný
    • 4
  • Vít Vilímek
    • 5
  1. 1.GEO-TOOLSZdibyCzech Republic
  2. 2.The Museum of the City of Ústí nad LabemÚstí nad LabemCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of TuebingenTuebingenGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Geology AS CR, v.v.i.PragueCzech Republic
  5. 5.Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic

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