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Debris and mud flows runout assessment: a comparison among empirical geometric equations in the Giampilieri and Briga basins (east Sicily, Italy) affected by the event of October 1, 2009

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Empirical/geometric methods rely on simple geometrical connections between some landslide parameters and the runout distance reached by the displaced material. Despite the extreme simplification of the dynamic of this landslide typology, those methods can provide useful information about the propagation of this shallow and fast landslide typology, joining the reliability of the results with easiness of use. The objective of this work is to compare the efficacy of different geometric relationships for the identification of the runout distances in a debris- and mud-flows-prone test area located in Sicily, southern Italy, where several events were analyzed, and a consistent set of data was collected and processed. Notwithstanding some uncertainties in the methodological approach and not negligible scattering between expected and observed runout distances, the use of such geometric approaches, together with the evaluation of kinematic parameters such as velocity and kinetic energy, can significantly boost the implementation of site-specific analyses for a more detailed definition of landslides susceptibility at a local scale.

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The authors wish to thank Filippo Catani (University of Padova, Italy) and Samuele Segoni (University of Firenze, Italy) for providing useful advice about the use and application of the GIST model. Special thanks are devoted to Lina Vitali (ENEA, Italy) for her valuable support on the statistical evaluation of the geometric parameters dataset.


This work was carried out as part of the RAFAEL project co-financed by the Ministry of University and Research under the PON “Research and Innovation” 2014–2020 and FSC funds referred to the D.D. of 13 July 2017 n. 1735—Application ARS01_00305 “Smart Secure and Inclusive Communities” specialization area.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Field activities and dataset collection were mainly performed by LMF and CP. GIS analysis and data elaboration were mainly performed by LMF and LM. The first draft of the manuscript was written by LMF and GR, and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Luca Maria Falconi.

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Falconi, L.M., Moretti, L., Puglisi, C. et al. Debris and mud flows runout assessment: a comparison among empirical geometric equations in the Giampilieri and Briga basins (east Sicily, Italy) affected by the event of October 1, 2009. Nat Hazards 117, 2347–2373 (2023).

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