Summary statistics derived from the frequency–area distribution (FAD) of inventories of triggered landslides allows for direct comparison of landslides triggered by one event (e.g. earthquake, rainstorm) with another. Such comparisons are vital to understand links between the landslide‐event and the environmental characteristics of the area affected. This could lead to methods for rapid estimation of landslide‐event magnitude, which in turn could lead to estimates of the total triggered landslide area. Previous studies proposed that the FAD of landslides follows an inverse power‐law, which provides the basis to model the size distribution of landslides and to estimate landslide‐event magnitude (mLS), which quantifies the severity of the event. In this study, we use a much larger collection of earthquake‐induced landslide (EQIL) inventories (n=45) than previous studies to show that size distributions are much more variable than previously assumed. We present an updated model and propose a method for estimating mLS and its uncertainty that better fits the observations and is more reproducible, robust, and consistent than existing methods. We validate our model by computing mLS for all of the inventories in our dataset and comparing that with the total landslide areas of the inventories. We show that our method is able to estimate the total landslide area of the events in this larger inventory dataset more successfully than the existing methods. © 2018 The Authors. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
- earthquake-induced landslides; landslide-event magnitude; landslide area; frequency-area distribution of landslides; power-law; scaling laws