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Qualitative landslide susceptibility assessment by multicriteria analysis : a case study from San Antonio del Sur, Guantánamo, Cuba

By E.A. Castellanos Abella and Cees J. van Westen


Geomorphological information can be combined with decision-support tools to assess landslide hazard and risk. A heuristic model was applied to a rural municipality in eastern Cuba. The study is based on a terrain mapping units (TMU) map, generated at 1:50,000 scale by interpretation of aerial photos, satellite images and field data. Information describing 603 terrain units was collected in a database. Landslide areas were mapped in detail to classify the different failure types and parts. Three major landslide regions are recognized in the study area: coastal hills with rockfalls, shallow debris flows and old rotational rockslides denudational slopes in limestone, with very large deep-seated rockslides related to tectonic activity and the Sierra de Caujerí scarp, with large rockslides. The Caujerí scarp presents the highest hazard, with recent landslides and various signs of active processes. The different landforms and the causative factors for landslides were analyzed and used to develop the heuristic model. The model is based on weights assigned by expert judgment and organized in a number of components such as slope angle, internal relief, slope shape, geological formation, active faults, distance to drainage, distance to springs, geomorphological subunits and existing landslide zones. From these variables a hierarchical heuristic model was applied in which three levels of weights were designed for classes, variables, and criteria. The model combines all weights into a single hazard value for each pixel of the landslide hazard map. The hazard map was then divided by two scales, one with three classes for disaster managers and one with 10 detailed hazard classes for technical staff. The range of weight values and the number of existing landslides is registered for each class. The resulting increasing landslide density with higher hazard classes indicates that the output map is reliable. The landslide hazard map was used in combination with existing information on buildings and infrastructure to prepare a qualitative risk map. The complete lack of historical landslide information and geotechnical data precludes the development of quantitative deterministic or probabilistic models

Topics: Aardwetenschappen, qualitative assessment, landslide susceptibility, San Antonio del Sur, geomorphological mapping, heuristic analysis, multicriteria analysis
Year: 2007
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