Slope Stability Scaling Laws Within Physically Based Models and Their Modifications Under Varying Triggering Conditions

  • Massimiliano Alvioli
  • Mauro Rossi
  • Fausto Guzzetti
Conference paper


The appearance of scaling phenomena in rainfall-induced landslides has been observed by several authors, and discussed within various theoretical models. A few properties of landslides are known to exhibit a power-law functional dependence, as shown by a number of world-wide datasets, which is often interpreted as a signature of the occurrence of self-organized criticality. We show that the adoption of a complex, physically motivated model for rainfall infiltration and slope stability can reproduce fairly well the observations over a wide range of rainfall durations and intensities, accounting for most of the features exhibited by the datasets in a natural way. Namely, we reproduce within our approach the observed functional dependencies and the slope of the scaling laws of intensity–duration triggering thresholds for shallow landslides, and the observed distribution of landslide sizes. We applied the model over a very large study area partitioned in many sub-basins characterized by different geological, hydrological and morphological conditions. In such a way we assess the risk associated with the stability of slopes subject to substantial rainfall activity. In particular, focusing on the intensity/duration dependence of rainfall thresholds for triggering shallow landslides, we estimate the response of the various sub-basins under different triggering conditions, and analyze the dynamics of the systems under different climatic scenarios, examining the scaling properties of slope responses.


Landslide Numerical modeling Rainfall thresholds Frequency–size statistics Upper Tiber river basin Italy 



MA was supported by grants provided by the Regione Umbria, under contract POR-FESR Umbria 2007–2013, asse ii, attività a1, azione 5, and by the Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, Italy.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Massimiliano Alvioli
    • 1
  • Mauro Rossi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fausto Guzzetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione IdrogeologicaPerugiaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversità degli Studi di PerugiaPerugiaItaly

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