Chrono-validation of near-real-time landslide susceptibility models via plug-in statistical simulations

L. Lombardo*, H. Tanyas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)


The idea behind any validation scheme in landslide susceptibility studies is to test whether a model calibrated on a certain data can predict an unknown dataset of the same nature (landslide presences/absences and covariates). Almost the entirety of landslide susceptibility studies are validated by subsetting a single dataset into a training and test sets. This dataset usually corresponds either to event-specific or to historical inventories. Very rarely, a multi-temporal inventory is available and, in the few cases where this condition is met, the validation practices involve training a model on a specific landslide inventory, deriving a single predictive equation and validating it on a subsequent landslide inventory. This commonly leads landslide predictive studies, even those with a strong statistical rigor, to neglect the uncertainty estimation in their modeling scheme. In statistics, validation can also be performed via statistical simulations. This means that after fitting a given model, one can generate any number of predictive functions and test their predictive skills on any type and number of unknown datasets. In this work, we take a similar direction and we apply it to model and validate three separate co-seismic inventories, including an uncertainty estimation phase. We mapped these inventories within the same area in Indonesia, for three earthquakes occurred in 2012, 2017 and 2018. Specifically, we build three event-specific Bayesian Generalize Additive Models of the binomial family. From each model we then simulate 1000 predictive realizations over the remaining two inventories, by using a plug-in scheme where all the morphometric covariates are kept fixed and only the ground motion is replaced according to the prediction target. By doing so, we introduce a new analytical tool for near-real-time landslide predictive purposes, which is able to produce a probabilistic model which stands in between the definitions of susceptibility and hazard. In fact, our model is able to accurately estimate “where” and “when” – although not “how frequently” – landslide have occurred by featuring the multitemporal information of the trigger. In our findings, the simulations are quite similar to the fitted models; and the nine combinations we analyse produce excellent performance. This result confirms the assumption that “the past is the key to the future”, as we show that the relative contribution of each variable and their interactions in each probabilistic model remains practically the same across temporal replicates. This information is not trivial because it supports the routines implemented in global near-real-time applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105818
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalEngineering geology
Early online date8 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2020


  • INLA
  • Landslide susceptibility
  • Slope unit
  • Statistical simulations
  • Temporal validation
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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