Landslide velocity, thickness, and rheology from remote sensing: La Clapière landslide, France

Adam M. Booth, Michael P. Lamb, Jean Philippe Avouac, Christophe Delacourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Quantifying the velocity, volume, and rheology of deep, slow-moving landslides is essential for hazard prediction and understanding landscape evolution, but existing field-based methods are difficult or impossible to implement at remote sites. Here we present a novel and widely applicable method for constraining landslide 3-D deformation and thickness by inverting surface change data from repeat stereo imagery. Our analysis of La Clapière, an ~1 km2 bedrock landslide, reveals a concave-up failure surface with considerable roughness over length scales of tens of meters. Calibrating the thickness model with independent, local thickness measurements, we find a maximum thickness of 163 m and a rheology consistent with distributed deformation of the highly fractured landslide material, rather than sliding of an intact, rigid block. The technique is generally applicable to any mass movements that can be monitored by active or historic remote sensing. Key Points We invert landslide velocity and elevation change data for the 3D slip surface La Clapiere landslide has a maximum thickness of 163m and volume of 38million m3 Distributed deformation, rather than block sliding, best fits observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4299-4304
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Aug 2013


  • failure plane geometry
  • inverse problem
  • La Clapiere
  • landslide thickness
  • remote sensing
  • rheology


Dive into the research topics of 'Landslide velocity, thickness, and rheology from remote sensing: La Clapière landslide, France'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this