Exploitation of the Intermittent SBAS (ISBAS) algorithm with COSMO-SkyMed data for landslide inventory mapping in north-western Sicily, Italy

Novellino, A.; Cigna, F.; Sowter, A.; Ramondini, M.; Calcaterra, D.. 2017 Exploitation of the Intermittent SBAS (ISBAS) algorithm with COSMO-SkyMed data for landslide inventory mapping in north-western Sicily, Italy. Geomorphology, 280. 153-166.

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A large scale study of landslide processes was undertaken by coupling conventional geomorphological field surveys with aerial photographs along with an advanced Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) analysis of ground instability in north-western Sicily. COSMO-SkyMed satellite images for the period between 2008 and 2011 were processed using the Intermittent Small BAseline Subset (ISBAS) technique, recently developed at the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Nottingham. The use of ISBAS allowed the derivation of ground surface displacements across non-urbanized areas, thus overcoming one of the main limitations of conventional interferometric techniques. ISBAS provides ground motion information not only for urban but also for rural, woodland, grassland and agricultural terrains, which cover > 60% of north-western Sicily, thereby improving by 40 times in some cases, the slope instability investigation capabilities of InSAR methods. ISBAS ground motion data enabled the updating of the landslide inventory for the areas of Piana degli Albanesi and Marineo (over 130 km2), which encompass a number of active, dormant and inactive landslides according to the pre-existing landslide inventory maps produced through aerial photo-interpretation and local field checks. An average of ∼ 7000 ISBAS pixels km− 2 allowed the detection of small displacements in regions difficult to access. In particular, 226 landslides – mainly slides, flows and creep and four badlands were identified, comprising a total area of 25.3 km2. When compared to the previous landslide inventory maps, 84 phenomena were confirmed, 67 new events were detected and 79 previously mapped events were re-assessed, modifying their typology, boundary and/or state of activity. Because the InSAR method used here is designed to measure slow rates of velocity and therefore may not detect fast-moving, events such as falls and topples, the results for Piana degli Albanesi and Marineo demonstrate the validity of this method to support land management, underlying the time and cost benefits of a combined approach using traditional monitoring procedures and satellite InSAR methods especially if slow-moving slope movements prevail.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0169555X
Date made live: 03 Feb 2017 15:20 +0 (UTC)

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