LANDSLIDE SUSCEPTIBILITY ASSESSMENT: SOIL MOISTURE MONITORING DATA PROCESSED BY AN AUTOMATIC PROCEDURE IN GIS FOR 3D DESCRIPTION OF THE SOIL SHEAR STRENGTH
Keywords: soil moisture monitoring, soil shear strength, unsaturated conditions, landslides, GIS, water retention curve
Abstract. Slope stability is strongly influenced by soil hydraulic conditions. Considering rain-triggered shallow landslides, the stability can be markedly influenced by the propagation of the saturation front inside the unsaturated zone. Soil shear strength varies in the vadose zone depending on the type of soil and the variations of soil moisture. Monitoring of the unsaturated zone can be done by measuring volumetric water content using low-cost instrumentation, such as capacitive sensors that are easy to manage and provide data in near-real time. For a proper soil moisture assessment a laboratory soil-specific calibration of the sensors is recommended. Knowing the soil water content, the suction parameter can be estimated by a Water Retention Curve (WRC), and consequently the soil shear strength in unsaturated conditions is evaluated. Several models are already proposed for shallow landslide susceptibility evaluation, also in FOSS GIS environment. However, these models do not usually consider the soil shear strength in unsaturated conditions, even if it is crucial, especially in the case of shallow landslides. A procedure that allows the estimate of the soil shear strength starting from soil moisture monitoring data (from sensor networks or satellite-derived map) is here presented. Moreover, preliminary results relative to a case study (i.e. the landslide of Ceriana-Mainardo in Italy) are shown. The proposed procedure could be integrated into existing models for landslide susceptibility assessment and also for the emergency management.