Amalgamation in landslide maps: effects and automatic detection

O. Marc, N. Hovius
2014 NHESSD  
Inventories of individually delineated landslides are a key to understanding landslide physics and mitigating their impact. They permit assessment of area-frequency distributions and landslide volumes, and testing of statistical correlations between landslides and physical parameters such as topographic gradient or seismic strong motion. Amalgamation, i.e. the mapping of several adjacent landslides as a single polygon, can lead to potentially severe distortion of the statistics of these
more » ... cs of these inventories. This problem can be especially severe in datasets produced by automated mapping. We present 5 inventories of earthquake-induced landslides mapped with different materials and techniques and affected by varying degrees of amalgamation. Errors on the total landslide volume and power-law exponent of the area-frequency distribution, resulting from amalgamation, may be up to 200 and 50%, respectively. We present an algorithm based on image and DEM analysis, for automatic identification of amalgamated polygons. On a set of about 2000 polygons larger than 1000 m<sup>2</sup>, tracing landslides triggered by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the algorithm performs well, with only 2.7–3.6% wrongly amalgamated landslides missed and 3.9–4.8% correct polygons wrongly identified as amalgams. This algorithm can be used broadly to check landslide inventories and allow faster correction by automating the identification of amalgamation.
doi:10.5194/nhessd-2-7651-2014 fatcat:pwzo7wj77zdp3gbuhbzvjhaatm