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Constraining Geomorphic transport laws for mass wasting processes (SLIDELAWS)
Start date: Sep 1, 2008, End date: Aug 31, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Today LiDAR technology gives us the opportunity to detail geomorphic features like landslide scars, and first-order streams at the decimetre scale, so that we can characterize process-specific dynamics over large landscape areas for the first time. The ability to identify and measure such features might allow us to quantify colluvial sediment flux and to forecast landslide hazards more accurately. In this context, the ability to partition the landscape into process domains by connecting landscape form to process enables us to rapidly assess hazards at new field sites. This connection between process and form has been cast into the framework of geomorphic transport laws, which can be used to estimate both position, and transport rates of Earth surface processes. Currently, geomorphic transport laws are only available for a handful of processes and none have been developed for landslides and debris flows. These are most needed for addressing fundamental scientific issues (i.e., long-term landscape evolution), and for solving more practical problems (i.e., hazard assessment). We propose to advance the current understanding of hillslope processes at the watershed scale by constraining transport laws for mass wasting in the Trentino Region using LiDAR, field methods, and GIS distributed modelling. Specifically, we aim to express landslide sediment flux as a function of hydro-geo-topographic attributes across terrain units. Objectives include to: (i) Classify this landscape into geomorphic process domains; (ii) Discriminate the topographic signatures of post-glacial mass-wasting processes that are superimposed to the glacial palimpsest; (iii) Document the variability of the saturated and unsaturated hydraulic properties across bedrock and surficial units; and (iv) Investigate the effects of hillslope hydrology, as reflected in the hydraulic properties, of both bedrock and surficial units on mass wasting style in terms of magnitude-frequency relations and sediment flux."

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