Modelling of Rainfall Induced Landslides in Puerto Rico

Lepore, C.; Arnone, E.; Sivandran, G.; Noto, L. V.; Bras, R. L.

American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2010, abstract #NH23A-1430

We performed an island-wide determination of static landslide susceptibility and hazard assessment as well as dynamic modeling of rainfall-induced shallow landslides in a particular hydrologic basin. Based on statistical analysis of past landslides, we determined that reliable prediction of the susceptibility to landslides is strongly dependent on the resolution of the digital elevation model (DEM) employed and the reliability of the rainfall data. A distributed hydrology model, Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN)-based Real-time Integrated Basin Simulator with VEGetation Generator for Interactive Evolution (tRIBS-VEGGIE), tRIBS-VEGGIE, has been implemented for the first time in a humid tropical environment like Puerto Rico and validated against in-situ measurements. A slope-failure module has been added to tRIBS-VEGGIE’s framework, after analyzing several failure criterions to identify the most suitable for our application; the module is used to predict the location and timing of landsliding events. The Mameyes basin, located in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico, was selected for modeling based on the availability of soil, vegetation, topographical, meteorological and historic landslide data. Application of the model yields a temporal and spatial distribution of predicted rainfall-induced landslides.