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Landslides triggered by the 1 October 2009 high intensity rainfall event in the Messina Province, North-Eastern Sicily, Italy

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Title (max 300 characters)

Landslides triggered by the 1 October 2009 high intensity rainfall event in the Messina Province, North-Eastern Sicily, Italy
Authors (max 300 characters)

Ardizzone F. (1), Cardinali M. (1), Fiorucci F. (1), Iovine G. (2)*, Mondini A. (1), Reichenbach P. (1), Rossi M. (1), Terranova O. (2) Guzzetti F. (1)
Affiliations (max 500 characters)

(1) CNR IRPI, via Madonna Alta 126, 06128 Perugia, Italy

(2) CNR IRPI, via Cavour 6, 87036 Rende (CS), Italy

Abstract (max 3000 characters, 400 words)

Landslides and floods are widespread and recurrent phenomena in Italy that cause severe damage, including casualties, every year. On October 1st, 2009, a convective storm characterized by high intensity – short duration rainfall resulted in abundant landsliding and widespread flooding in the Messina province, along the north-eastern coast of Sicily, between Santa Margherita Marina to the north and Alì Marina to the south. Mass movements and inundations caused 31 fatalities, large damage to towns and villages, and widespread disruption along the transportation network. In an area of approximately 90 km2, high-intensity rainfall triggered more than 500 shallow landslides, corresponding to a landslide density of 5.5 failures per square kilometre. Slope failures occurred in channels and in open slopes, and where primarily planar slides and debris-flows. The failed material was chiefly the colluvium covering the metamorphic and crystalline rocks of the Calabrian-Peloritan Arc that crop out in the area. The failure depth ranged from a few centimetres to a few meters, and resulted in individual landslide volumes ranging between a few to tens of thousands of cubic meters. The failed material was transported on the slopes and into the channels to the main drainage network that suffered a complex combination of local deposition and erosion processes. Large volumes of sediments were transported along the channels to the Ionian Sea, where they formed temporary deltas that moved the coastline seaward, locally for tens of meters. Immediately after the event, we conducted field surveys to determine the type and the extent of the landslides. Exploiting large-scale aerial photographs flown a few days after the event, very-high optical and multi-spectral satellite images, and high-resolution radar satellite images taken after the event, we prepared a preliminary landslide inventory map showing failures triggered by the event. Production of the inventory map was aided by older aerial photographs flown in 1954, 1995 and 2005, at scales ranging from 1:30,000 to 1:35,000. In the paper, we report on the advantages and limitations of remote sensing techniques for rapid mapping of rainfall induced landslides.

Contact author:

Title Dr.

First name Giulio

Family name Iovine

Institution CNR IRPI (Italian National Research Council - Research Institute for Geo-Hydrologic Protection)

Address via Cavour 6, 87036 Rende, CS, Italy

Telephone +39 0984 835521


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