Pre-2014 mudslides at Oso revealed by InSAR and multi-source DEM analysis

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jin Woo Kim, Zhong Lu and Feifei QU, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, United States
The landslide is a process that results in the downward and outward movement of slope-reshaping materials including rocks and soils and annually causes the loss of approximately $3.5 billion and tens of casualties in the United States. The 2014 Oso mudslide was an extreme event costing nearly 40 deaths and damaging civilian properties. Landslides are often unpredictable, but in many cases, catastrophic events are repetitive. Historic record in the Oso mudslide site indicates that there have been serial events in decades, though the extent of sliding events varied from time to time. In our study, the combination of multi-source DEMs, InSAR, and time-series InSAR analysis has enabled to characterize the Oso mudslide. InSAR results from ALOS PALSAR show that there was no significant deformation between mid-2006 and 2011. The combination of time-series InSAR analysis and old-dated DEM indicated revealed topographic changes associated the 2006 sliding event, which is confirmed by the difference of multiple LiDAR DEMs. Precipitation and discharge measurements before the 2006 and 2014 landslide events did not exhibit extremely anomalous records, suggesting the precipitation is not the controlling factor in determining the sliding events at Oso. The lack of surface deformation during 2006-2011 and weak correlation between the precipitation and the sliding event, suggest other factors (such as porosity) might play a critical role on the run-away events at this Oso and other similar landslides.