The influence of preferential flow on pressure propagation and landslide triggering of the Rocca Pitigliana landslide

Wei Shao, Thom Bogaard, M. Bakker, Matteo Berti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The fast pore water pressure response to rain events is an important triggering factor for slope instability. The fast pressure response may be caused by preferential flow that bypasses the soil matrix. Currently, most of the hydro-mechanical models simulate pore water pressure using a single-permeability model, which cannot quantify the effects of preferential flow on pressure propagation and landslide triggering. Previous studies showed that a model based on the linear-diffusion equation can simulate the fast pressure propagation in near-saturated landslides such as the Rocca Pitigliana landslide. In such a model, the diffusion coefficient depends on the degree of saturation, which makes it difficult to use the model for predictions. In this study, the influence of preferential flow on pressure propagation and slope stability is investigated with a 1D dual-permeability model coupled with an infinite-slope stability approach. The dual-permeability model uses two modified Darcy-Richards equations to simultaneously simulate the matrix flow and preferential flow in hillslopes. The simulated pressure head is used in an infinite-slope stability analysis to identify the influence of preferential flow on the fast pressure response and landslide triggering. The dual-permeability model simulates the height and arrival of the pressure peak reasonably well. Performance of the dual-permeability model is as good as or better than the linear-diffusion model even though the dual-permeability model is calibrated for two single pulse rain events only, while the linear-diffusion model is calibrated for each rain event separately. In conclusion, the 1D dual-permeability model is a promising tool for landslides under similar conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-372
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume543
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • Dual-permeability model
  • Landslide hydrology
  • Linear-diffusion model
  • Preferential flow
  • Pressure propagation

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