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Use of Geomorphological Information in Indirect Landslide Susceptibility Assessment

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The objective of this paper is to evaluate the importance of geomorphological expert knowledge in the generation of landslide susceptibility maps, using GIS supported indirect bivariate statistical analysis. For a test area in the Alpago region in Italy a dataset was generated at scale 1:5,000. Detailed geomorphological maps were generated, with legends at different levels of complexity. Other factor maps, that were considered relevant for the assessment of landslide susceptibility, were also collected, such as lithology, structural geology, surficial materials, slope classes, land use, distance from streams, roads and houses. The weights of evidence method was used to generate statistically derived weights for all classes of the factor maps. On the basis of these weights, the most relevant maps were selected for the combination into landslide susceptibility maps. Six different combinations of factor maps were evaluated, with varying geomorphological input. Success rates were used to classify the weight maps into three qualitative landslide susceptibility classes. The resulting six maps were compared with a direct susceptibility map, which was made by direct assignment of susceptibility classes in the field. The analysis indicated that the use of detailed geomorphological information in the bivariate statistical analysis raised the overall accuracy of the final susceptibility map considerably. However, even with the use of a detailed geomorphological factor map, the difference with the separately prepared direct susceptibility map is still significant, due to the generalisations that are inherent to the bivariate statistical analysis technique.

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van Westen, C.J., Rengers, N. & Soeters, R. Use of Geomorphological Information in Indirect Landslide Susceptibility Assessment. Natural Hazards 30, 399–419 (2003).

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