Assessing landslide susceptibility, hazards and sediment yield in the Río El Estado watershed, Pico de Orizaba volcano, Mexico

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Gabriel Legorreta Paulin1, Marcus I Bursik2, José Lugo Hubp1 and José Fernando Aceves Quesada1, (1)UNAM National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, (2)SUNY Buffalo, Department of Geology, Buffalo, NY, United States
This work provides an overview of the on-going research project (Grant SEP-CONACYT # 167495) from the Institute of Geography at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) that seeks to conduct a multi-temporal landslide inventory, analyze the distribution of landslides, and characterize landforms that are prone to slope instability by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The study area is the Río El Estado watershed that covers 5.2 km2 and lies on the southwestern flank of Pico de Orizaba volcano.
The watershed was studied by using aerial photographs, fieldwork, and adaptation of the Landslide Hazard Zonation Protocol of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, USA. 107 gravitational slope failures of six types were recognized: shallow landslides, debris-avalanches, deep-seated landslides, debris flows, earthflows, and rock falls. This analysis divided the watershed into 12 mass-wasting landforms on which gravitational processes occur: inner gorges, headwalls, active scarps of deep-seated landslides, meanders, plains, rockfalls, non-rule-identified inner gorges, non-rule-identified headwalls, non-rule-identified converging hillslopes and three types of hillslopes classified by their gradient: low, moderate, and high. For each landform the landslide area rate and the landslide frequency rate were calculated as well as the overall hazard rating. The slope-stability hazard rating has a range that goes from low to very high. The overall hazard rating for this watershed was very high. The shallow slide type landslide was selected and area and volume of individual landslides were retrieved from the watershed landslide inventory geo-database, to establish an empirical relationship between area and volume that takes the form of a power law. The relationship was used to estimate the total volume of landslides in the study area. The findings are important to understand the long-term evolution of the southwestern flank stream system of Pico de Orizaba, and may prove useful in the assessment of landslide susceptibility and hazard in volcanic terrains.