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A conceptual model of the hydrological influence of fissures on landslide activity

Author(s): D. M. Krzeminska | T. A. Bogaard | Th. W. J. van Asch | L. P. H. van Beek

Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
ISSN 1812-2108

Volume: 8;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 11039;
Date: 2011;
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Hydrological processes control the behaviour of many unstable slopes and their importance for landslide activity is generally accepted. In slow-moving landslides differential displacement complicates the hydrological regime due to continuous opening and closing of the fissures and cracks, creating dynamic preferential flow path systems. The consequences of the appearance and destruction of these preferential flow paths is thus closely related to the formation of critical pore pressure and the resulting movement and persistence of fissure systems. This interaction may account for the seasonal nature of the slow-moving landslide activity, including the often observed shifts and delays. This research aims to investigate this interaction between slope stability and spatial and temporal variations in fissure patterns, which makes fissures act both as preferential flow paths for infiltration and as lateral groundwater drains. To this end, the hydrological processes that control exchange of water between the fissure network and the matrix has been included in a spatially distributed hydrological and slope stability model. The ensuing feedbacks in landslide activity were explored by running the model with the meteorological forcing of one year until a dynamic steady-state was achieved. The effect of fissure dynamics was evaluated by comparing simulations with static fissure patterns to those in which these patterns deform as function of the local stability.
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