Elucidating the role of vegetation in the initiation of rainfall-induced shallow landslides: Insights from an extreme rainfall event in the Colorado Front Range
AuthorMcGuire, Luke A.
Rengers, Francis K.
Kean, Jason W.
Coe, Jeffrey A.
Mirus, Benjamin B.
Baum, Rex L.
Godt, Jonathan W.
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Geosci
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherAMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
CitationElucidating the role of vegetation in the initiation of rainfall-induced shallow landslides: Insights from an extreme rainfall event in the Colorado Front Range 2016, 43 (17):9084 Geophysical Research Letters
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Rights©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractMore than 1100 debris flows were mobilized from shallow landslides during a rainstorm from 9 to 13 September 2013 in the Colorado Front Range, with the vast majority initiating on sparsely vegetated, south facing terrain. To investigate the physical processes responsible for the observed aspect control, we made measurements of soil properties on a densely forested north facing hillslope and a grassland-dominated south facing hillslope in the Colorado Front Range and performed numerical modeling of transient changes in soil pore water pressure throughout the rainstorm. Using the numerical model, we quantitatively assessed interactions among vegetation, rainfall interception, subsurface hydrology, and slope stability. Results suggest that apparent cohesion supplied by roots was responsible for the observed connection between debris flow initiation and slope aspect. Results suggest that future climate-driven modifications to forest structure could substantially influence landslide hazards throughout the Front Range and similar water-limited environments where vegetation communities may be more susceptible to small variations in climate.
NoteFirst published: 14 September 2016; 6 Month Embargo.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsU.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landslide Hazards Program