Back analysis of the 2014 San Leo Landslide using combined terrestrial laser scanning and 3D distinct element modelling
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Springer Verlag (Germany)
Reason for embargo
© 2015 Springer-Verlag Wien Landslides of the lateral spreading type, involving brittle geological units overlying ductile terrains, are a common occurrence in the sandstone and limestone plateaux of the northern Apennines of Italy. The edges of these plateaux are often the location of rapid landslide phenomena, such as rock slides, rock falls and topples. In this paper, we present a back analysis of a recent landslide (February 2014), involving the north-eastern sector of the San Leo rock slab (northern Apennines, Emilia-Romagna Region) which is a representative example of this type of phenomena. The aquifer hosted in the fractured slab, due to its relatively higher secondary permeability in comparison to the lower clayey units leads to the development of perennial and ephemeral springs at the contact between the two units. The related piping erosion phenomena, together with slope processes in the clay-shales have led to the progressive undermining of the slab, eventually predisposing large-scale landslides. Stability analyses were conducted coupling terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) and distinct element methods (DEMs). TLS point clouds were analysed to determine the pre- and post-failure geometry, the extension of the detachment area and the joint network characteristics. The block dimensions in the landslide deposit were mapped and used to infer the spacing of the discontinuities for insertion into the numerical model. Three-dimensional distinct element simulations were conducted, with and without undermining of the rock slab. The analyses allowed an assessment of the role of the undermining, together with the presence of an almost vertical joint set, striking sub-parallel to the cliff orientation, on the development of the slope instability processes. Based on the TLS and on the numerical simulation results, an interpretation of the landslide mechanism is proposed.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Springer Verlag via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00603-015-0763-5