Skip to main content
Log in

Empirically Based Rainfall Threshold for Landslides Occurrence in Peninsular Malaysia

  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Published:
KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering Aims and scope


Empirical rainfall thresholds for the purpose of shallow landslide forecasting are proposed for Peninsular Malaysia where numerous slope failures are reported due to the intense rainfall in conjunction with the humid tropical climate. Thirty-seven cases of landslide-triggering-rainfall were selected from 1993 to 2018 to identify the correlation between rainfall and shallow landslide through the analysis of specific rainfall events. The derived rainfall parameters were applied to establish two rainfall thresholds of (Imean-D) and (Imax-D) via practical methods. For the identical range of event duration 1 < D < 263 h, the (Imean-D) threshold formula was expressed as I = 17.5 D−0.722, while the (Imax-D) threshold was defined as I = 37.8 D−0.114. Both thresholds performed different functionalities with a primary goal of predicting shallow landslides. When both (Imean-D) and (Imax-D) thresholds were compared with the thresholds proposed by various studies worldwide, both dominated the upper positions. More rainfall is required for land sliding due to the high thickness of the Malaysian soil that is associated with the abundant tropical downpour. From the perspective of the antecedent, the period of prolonged precipitation or short heavy rainfall from 1 to 10 days can result in shallow landslides for Peninsular Malaysia. In the context of geology, the igneous rock type of granite has the highest susceptibility to the shallow landslide at 65%, despite other rock types of sedimentary and metamorphic. The threshold validation depicted all True Positive events for the (Imax-D) threshold, and one Negative False event for the (Imean-D) threshold. The (Imean-D) threshold was revised to acquire the new value, but it needed to deal with the possibility of False Alarm and the (Imax-D) threshold seemed to be more credible to represent the rainfall-induced shallow landslide threshold for Peninsular Malaysia.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references


The research has been carried out under Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS-RACER) project RACER/1/2019/TK01/UIAM//1 provided by the Ministry of Education of Malaysia. The authors wish to thank all the staff of the Research Development Division, Slope Engineering Branch, Public Works Department of Malaysia for providing the necessary landslide data and the Drainage and Irrigation Department of Malaysia for providing the necessary rainfall data.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Norhidayu Kasim.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Maturidi, A.M.A.M., Kasim, N., Taib, K.A. et al. Empirically Based Rainfall Threshold for Landslides Occurrence in Peninsular Malaysia. KSCE J Civ Eng 25, 4552–4566 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: