Insights from the topographic characteristics of a large global catalog of rainfall-induced landslide event inventories

Robert Emberson*, Dalia B. Kirschbaum, Pukar Amatya, H. Tanyas, Odin Marc

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Landslides are a key hazard in high-relief areas around the world and pose a risk to populations and infrastructure. It is important to understand where landslides are likely to occur in the landscape to inform local analyses of exposure and potential impacts. Large triggering events such as earthquakes or major rain storms often cause hundreds or thousands of landslides, and mapping the landslide populations generated by these events can provide extensive datasets of landslide locations. Previous work has explored the characteristic locations of landslides triggered by seismic shaking, but rainfall-induced landslides are likely to occur in different parts of a given landscape when compared to seismically induced failures. Here we show measurements of a range of topographic parameters associated with rainfall-induced landslides inventories, including a number of previously unpublished inventories which we also present here. We find that the average upstream angle and compound topographic index are strong predictors of landslide scar location, while the local relief and topographic position index provide a stronger sense of where landslide material may end up (and thus where hazard may be highest). By providing a large compilation of inventory data for open use by the landslide community, we suggest that this work could be useful for other regional and global landslide modeling studies and local calibration of landslide susceptibility assessment, as well as hazard mitigation studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1149
Number of pages21
JournalNatural hazards and earth system sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022




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