Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 783–796 | Cite as

Large-area analysis of soil erosion and landslides induced by rainfall: A case of unsaturated shallow deposits

  • Sabatino CuomoEmail author
  • Maria Della Sala


Unsaturated shallow soil deposits may be affected by either superficial soil erosion or shallow landslides in adjacent or overlapping source areas and in different seasons when a different soil suction exists. The triggering analysis of both these processes is a relevant issue for the hazard analysis while the literature mostly provides specific approaches for erosion or for landslides. The paper proposes a large-area analysis for a case study of Southern Italy, consisting of unsaturated shallow deposits of loose pyroclastic (air-fall) volcanic soils that have been repeatedly affected by erosion and landslides in special seasons. For a past catastrophic event, the simulated source areas of shallow landslides are smaller than those observed in the field while the simulated eroded areas with thickness greater than 5 cm are comparable with the in-situ evidences, if the analysis takes into account high rainfall intensity and a spatially variable soil cover use. More in general, the results of the paper are consistent with the previous literature and also provide a methodological contribution about the application of distinct tools over large area. The added value is that the paper shows how the combination of distinct large-area analyses may help with understanding the dominant slope instability mechanisms. Only once this goal is fully achieved, can specific physically-based analyses be confidently performed at detailed scales and for smaller specific areas.


Soil Erosion Landslide Soil Suction Slope instability mechanism Modelling 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of SalernoFisciano (SA)Italy

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