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Application of a GIS-Based Slope Unit Method for Landslide Susceptibility Mapping along the Longzi River, Southeastern Tibetan Plateau, China

Wang, Fei, Xu, Peihua, Wang, Changming, Wang, Ning, Jiang, Nan
ISPRS international journal of geo-information 2017 v.6 no.6
disasters, landslides, mountains, prediction, rain, risk assessment, rivers, topography, watersheds, China, Himalayan region
The Longzi River Basin in Tibet is located along the edge of the Himalaya Mountains and is characterized by complex geological conditions and numerous landslides. To evaluate the susceptibility of landslide disasters in this area, eight basic factors were analyzed comprehensively in order to obtain a final susceptibility map. The eight factors are the slope angle, slope aspect, plan curvature, distance-to-fault, distance-to-river, topographic relief, annual precipitation, and lithology. Except for the rainfall factor, which was extracted from the grid cell, all the factors were extracted and classified by the slope unit, which is the basic unit in geological disaster development. The eight factors were superimposed using the information content method (ICM), and the weight of each factor was acquired through an analytic hierarchy process (AHP). The sensitivities of the landslides were divided into four categories: low, moderate, high, and very high, respectively, accounting for 22.76%, 38.64%, 27.51%, and 11.09% of the study area. The accuracies of the area under AUC using slope units and grid cells are 82.6% and 84.2%, respectively, and it means that the two methods are accurate in predicting landslide occurrence. The results show that the high and very high susceptibility areas are distributed throughout the vicinity of the river, with a large component in the north as well as a small portion in the middle and the south. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct landslide warnings in these areas, where the rivers are vast and the population is dense. The susceptibility map can reflect the comprehensive risk of each slope unit, which provides an important reference for later detailed investigations, including research and warning studies.