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Database shallow landslides and hillslope debris flows


Thunderstorms frequently trigger many shallow landslides on steep slopes. The danger due to these slope instabilities is considerable because local forecasts are not yet available. Furthermore, the landslides often rapidly triggered and quickly evolve into fast-moving hillside debris flows which may damage cultivated land, buildings, infrastructure and even cause fatalities. However such hazard events offer unique opportunities to improve scientific knowledge on the processes involved, leading eventually to new mitigation strategies. Landslide event inventories are an important basis for research and practical applications. Comprehensive documentation of shallow landslides and hillslope debris flows requires the recording of all relevant factors including the dimensions of the slides, various site characteristics such as vegetation, geomorphology, topography, and also characteristics of the subsequent landslide runout. The information is recorded in databases which permit both statistical evaluation of causative factors and, for example, data for testing runout models used for research and practice.


Comprehensive databases of well-documented landslides contribute to a better understanding of the process and hazard mitigation. The staff of the WSL have collected several regional landslide-event inventories since 1997. The aim of this project, in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, FOEN, is to compile a comprehensive data base of all documented rainfall-triggered landslides including extensive inventories from the WSL and other sources. The database will be made available for research and practice, for example, to support hazard assessments and the elaboration of hazard maps.