Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 104–115 | Cite as

Investigating the role of stratigraphy in large-area physically-based analysis of December 1999 Cervinara shallow landslides

  • Sabatino CuomoEmail author
  • Aniello Iervolino


The paper describes a large-area analysis of the triggering zones of shallow landslides on a case of unsaturated layered volcanic air-fall (pyroclastic) soil deposits in Cervinara site (18 km2), Southern Italy. The physically-based model TRIGRS (Transient Rainfall Infiltration-Based Grid Regional Slope-Stability) is used, which is used with either saturated or unsaturated conditions and implemented in a GIS platform. In addition to using the TRIGRS model to simulate some recent landslides, a new simplified approach is also tested to take into account the actual layered soil stratigraphy. The consistency check of the model and of the input data is performed with reference to slope stable conditions before rainfall. The performances of the models are evaluated through the ROC curves and two other quantitative indexes taken from the literature referring to the slope failures caused by December 1999 rainstorm. Notwithstanding the simplifications and limitations of the present work, both unsaturated conditions and layered stratigraphy are outlined as key factors for the slope stability of shallow deposits of unsaturated coarse-grained soils subjected to short heavy rainfall.


Shallow landslide Pore pressure Rainfall Modelling Stratigraphy Stability 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alvioli M, Guzzetti F, Rossi M (2014) Scaling properties of rainfall-induced landslides predicted by a physically based model. Geomorphology 213: 38–47. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph. 2013.12.039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Autorità di Bacino Liri-Garigliano e Volturno (2012). Personal Communication.Google Scholar
  3. Baum RL, Savage WZ, Godt JW (2002) TRIGRS–A Fortran program for transient rainfall infiltration and grid-based regional slope-stability analysis, Open-file report 02-424, p.35, U.S. Geological Survey. Available online at: on 14 July 2015)Google Scholar
  4. Baum RL, Savage WZ, Godt JW (2008) TRIGRS -A Fortran Program for Transient Rainfall Infiltration and Grid-Based Regional Slope-Stability Analysis, Version 2. 0. U. S. Geological Survey. Available online at: http://pubs.usgs. gov/of/2008/1159/downloads/pdf/OF08-1159.pdf (Accessed on 14 July 2015).Google Scholar
  5. Cascini L, Cuomo S, De Santis A (2011a) Numerical modelling of the December 1999 Cervinara flow-like mass movements (Southern Italy). In: Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction and Assessment, Padua, Italy, 14-17 June 2011. Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment: 635–644. DOI: 10.4408/IJEGE.2011-03.B-069.Google Scholar
  6. Cascini L, Cuomo S, Della Sala M (2011b) Spatial and temporal occurrence of rainfall-induced shallow landslides of flow type: A case of Sarno-Quindici, Italy. Geomorphology 126(1-2): 148–158. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2010.10.038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cascini L, Cuomo S, Guida D (2008a) Typical source areas of May 1998 flow-like mass movements in the Campania region, Southern Italy. Engineering Geology 96: 107–125. DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2007.10.003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cascini L, Cuomo S, Pastor M (2008b) The role played by mountain tracks on rainfall-induced shallow landslides: a case study. In: Proceedings of iEMSs, Barcelona, Spain, 7-10 July 2008, ISBN: 978-84-7653-074-0, pp. 1484–1491.Google Scholar
  9. Cascini L, Cuomo S, Pastor M, Fernández-Merodo JA (2008c) Geomechanical modelling of triggering mechanisms for rainfall-induced triangular shallow landslides of the flow-type. In: Proceedings of iEMSs, Barcelona, Spain, 7-10 July 2008, ISBN: 978-84-7653-074-0, pp. 1516–1523.Google Scholar
  10. Cascini L, Cuomo S, Pastor M (2013) Inception of debris avalanches: remarks on geomechanical modelling. Landslides 10(6): 701–711. DOI: 10.1007/s10346-012-0366-0CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cascini L, Sorbino G, Cuomo S (2005) Flow-like mass movements in pyroclastic soils: remarks on the modelling of triggering mechanisms. Italian Geotechnical Journal 4: 11–31.Google Scholar
  12. Cascini L, Sorbino G, Cuomo S, Ferlisi S (2014) Seasonal effects of rainfall on the shallow pyroclastic deposits of the Campania region (southern Italy). Landslides 11(5): 779–792. DOI: 10.1007/s10346-013-0395-3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cervi F, Berti M, Borgatti L, et al. (2010) Comparing predictive capability of statistical and deterministic methods for landslides susceptibility mapping: a case study in the northern Apennines (Reggio Emilia Province, Italy). Landslides 7(4): 433–444. DOI: 10.1007/s10346-010-0207-yCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cuomo S (2014) New advances and challenges for numerical modeling of landslides of the flow type. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science 9: 91–100. DOI: 10.1016/j.proeps.2014.06.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cuomo S, Della Sala M (2015) Large-area analysis of soil erosion and landslides induced by rainfall: a case of unsaturated shallow deposits, Journal of Mountain Science. DOI: 10.1007/s11629-014-3242-7Google Scholar
  16. Cuomo S, Della Sala M, Novità A (2015) Physically based modelling of soil erosion induced by rainfall in small mountain basins. Geomorphology 243: 106–115. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.04.019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cuomo S, Della Sala M, Capuano C, et al. (2014) Analisi su area vasta dell’innesco di frane superficiali e fenomeni erosivi indotti da pioggia. In: Proceedings of XXV Convegno Nazionale di Geotecnica–AGI Roma–, held in Baveno, Italy, 4-6 June 2014. ISBN 978-88-97517-05-4, 471-478.Google Scholar
  18. Cuomo S, Foresta V (2015) Penetration tests in shallow layered unsaturated pyroclastic soil deposits of Southern Italy. In: Proceedings of “Soil Mechanichs 2015–Panamerican Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering”, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 15-18 November 2015, D. Manzanal and A.O. Sfriso (Eds.) ISBN: 978-1-61499-600-2: 454–461. DOI: 10.3233/978-1-61499-603-3-454Google Scholar
  19. Damiano E, Olivares L, Picarelli L (2012) Steep-slope monitoring in unsaturated pyroclastic soils. Engineering Geology 137-138: 1–12. DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2012.03.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. De Vita P, Napolitano E, Godt JW, et al. (2013) Deterministic estimation of hydrological thresholds for shallow landslide initiation and slope stability models: case study from the Somma-Vesuvius area of southern Italy. Landslides 10 (6): 713–728. DOI: 10.1007/s10346-012-0348-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dietrich WE, Montgomery DR (1998) Shalstab: a digital terrain model for mapping shallow landslide potential. Available online at: on 14 July 2015)Google Scholar
  22. Fiorillo F, Guadagno FM, Aquino S, et al. (2001) The December 1999 Cervinara landslides: further debris flows in the pyroclastic deposits of Campania (Southern Italy). Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment 60(3): 171–184. DOI: 10.1007/s100640000093CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fiorillo F, Wilson RC (2004) Rainfall induced debris flows in pyroclastic deposits, Campania Southern Italy. Engineering Geology 75: 263–289. DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2004.06.014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Godt JW, Baum RL, Savage WZ, et al. (2008) Transient deterministic shallow landslide modeling: requirements for susceptibility and hazard assessments in a GIS framework. Engineering Geology 102: 214–226. DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo. 2008.03.019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Haneberg JW, (2004) A rational probabilistic method for spatially distributed landslide hazard assessment. Environmental & Engineering Geoscience 10: 27–43. DOI: 10.2113/10.1.27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Iverson RM (2000) Landslide triggering by rain infiltration. Water Resources Research 36(7): 1897–1910. DOI: 10.1029/2000WR900090CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mergili M, Marchesini I, Alvioli M, et al. (2014a) A strategy for gis-based 3-d slope stability modelling over large areas. Geoscientific Model Developement 7: 5407–5445. DOI: 10.5194/gmdd-7-5407-2014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mergili M, Marchesini I, Rossi M, et al. (2014b) Spatially distributed three-dimensional slope stability modelling in a raster GIS. Geomorphology 206: 178–195. DOI: 10.1016/j. geomorph.2013.10.008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Montrasio L, Valentino R, Losi GL (2011) Towards a real-time susceptibility assessment of rainfall-induced shallow landslides on a regional scale Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 11: 1927–1947. DOI: 10.5194/nhess-11-1927-2011Google Scholar
  30. Raia S, Alvioli M, Rossi M, et al. (2014) Improving predictive power of physically based rainfall-induced shallow landslide models: a probabilistic approach. Geoscientific Model Developement 7: 495–514. DOI: 10.5194/gmdd-6-1367-2013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Richards LA (1931) Capillary conductions of liquids through porous mediums. Journal of Applied Physics 1: 318–333. DOI: 10.1063/1.1745010Google Scholar
  32. Salciarini D, Tamagnini C, Conversini P, et al. (2012) Spatially distributed rainfall thresholds for the initiation of shallow landslides. Natural Hazards 61: 229–245. DOI: 10.1007/s11069-011-9739-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Savage WZ, Godt JW, Baum RL (2003) A model for spatially and temporally distributed shallow landslide initiation by rainfall infiltration. in press. In: Proceedings of 3rd Int. Conf. on Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment, Davos, Switzerland, 10-12 September 2003. pp 179–187.Google Scholar
  34. Savage WZ, Godt JW, Baum RL (2004) Modeling timedependent areal slope stability. In: Landslides–Evaluation and Stabilization. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Landslides. Lacerda WA, Erlich M, Fontoura SAB, Sayao ASF, (Eds.), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, Vol 1, 23–36.Google Scholar
  35. Sorbino G, Sica C, Cascini L (2010) Susceptibility analysis of shallow landslides source areas using physically based models. Natural Hazards 53: 313–332. DOI: 10.1007/s11069-009-9431-yCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sorbino G, Sica C, Cascini L, et al. (2007) On the forecasting of flowslides triggering areas using physically based models. In: Proceedings of First North American Landslide Conference, Vail, Colorado (USA), held on 3-8 June 2007. Schaefer, Schuster, Turner eds, AEG Special Publication 23, ISBN: 978-0-975-4295-3-2. pp 305–315.Google Scholar
  37. Srivastava R, Yeh J (1991) Analytical solutions for onedimensional, transient infiltration toward the water table in homogeneous and layered soils. Water Resources Research 27(5): 753–762. DOI: 10.1029/90WR02772CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of SalernoFiscianoItaly

Personalised recommendations