A comparison of landslide inventories along the shoreline of Steamboat Island Peninsula, Thurston County, WA: office based protocol vs. field based protocol
Metcalf-Lindenburger, Dorothy M.
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The mountain ranges and coastlines of Washington State have steep slopes, and they are susceptible to landslides triggered by intense rainstorms, rapid snow melts, earthquakes, and rivers and waves removing slope stability. Over a 30-year timespan (1984-2014 and includes State Route (SR) 530), a total of 28 deep-seated landslides caused 300 million dollars of damage and 45 deaths (DGER, 2015). During that same timeframe, ten storm events triggered shallow landslides and debris flows across the state, resulting in nine deaths (DGER, 2015). The loss of 43 people, due to the SR 530 complex reactivating and moving at a rate and distance unexpected to residents, highlighted the need for an inventory of the stateís landslides. With only 13% of the state mapped (Lombardo et al., 2015), the intention of this statewide inventory is to communicate hazards to citizens and decision makers. In order to compile an accurate and consistent landslide inventory, Washington needs to adopt a graphic information system (GIS) based mapping protocol. A mapping protocol provides consistency for measuring and recording information about landslides, including such information as the type of landslide, the material involved, and the size of the movement. The state of Oregon shares similar landslide problems as Washington, and it created a GIS-based mapping protocol designed to inform its residents, while also saving money and reducing costly hours in the field (Burns and Madin, 2009). In order to determine if the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) protocol, developed by Burns and Madin (2009), could serve as the basis for establishing Washingtonís protocol, I used the office-based DOGAMI protocol to map landslides along a 40-50 km (25-30 mile) shoreline in Thurston County, Washington. I then compared my results to the field-based landslide inventory created in 2009 by the Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources (DGER) along this same shoreline. If the landslide area I mapped reasonably equaled the area of the DGER (2009) inventory, I would consider the DOGAMI protocol useful for Washington, too. Utilizing 1m resolution lidar flown for Thurston County in 2011 and a GIS platform, I mapped 36 landslide deposits and scarp flanks, covering a total area of 879,530 m2 (9,467,160 ft2). I also found 48 recent events within these deposits. With an exception of two slides, all of the movements occurred within the last fifty years. Along this same coastline, the DGER (2009) recorded 159 individual landslides and complexes, for a total area of 3,256,570 m2 (35,053,400 ft2). At a first glance it appears the DGER (2009) effort found a larger total number and total area of landslides. However, in addition to their field inventory, they digitized landslides previously mapped by other researchers, and they did not field confirm these landslides, which cover a total area of 2,093,860 m2 (22,538,150 ft2) (DGER, 2009). With this questionable landslide area removed and the toes and underwater landslides accounted for because I did not have a bathymetry dataset, my results are within 6,580 m2 (70,840 ft2) of the DGERís results. This similarity shows that the DOGAMI protocol provides a consistent and accurate approach to creating a landslide inventory. With a few additional modifications, I recommend that Washington State adopts the DOGAMI protocol. Acquiring additional 1m lidar and adopting a modified DOGAMI protocol poises the DGER to map the remaining 87% of the state, with an ultimate goal of informing citizens and decision makers of the locations and frequencies of landslide hazards on a user-friendly GIS platform.