Monday paper: Hydrological modelling of a slope covered with shallow pyroclastic deposits from field monitoring data


R. Greco, L. Comegna, E. Damiano, A. Guida, L. Olivares and L. Picarelli. Hydrological modelling of a slope covered with shallow pyroclastic deposits from field monitoring data. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 4001-4013, 2013, doi: 10.5194/hess-17-4001-2013

Abstract

A one-dimensional hydrological model of a slope covered with pyroclastic materials is proposed. The soil cover is constituted by layers of loose volcanic ashes and pumices, with a total thickness between 1.8 m and 2.5 m, lying upon a fractured limestone bedrock. The mean inclination of the slope is around 40°, slightly larger than the friction angle of the ashes. Thus, the equilibrium of the slope, significantly affected by the cohesive contribution exerted by soil suction in unsaturated conditions, may be altered by rainfall infiltration. The model assumes a single homogeneous soil layer occupying the entire depth of the cover, and takes into account seasonally variable canopy interception of precipitation and root water uptake by vegetation, mainly constituted by deciduous chestnut woods with a dense underbrush growing during late spring and summer. The bottom boundary condition links water potential at the soil–bedrock interface with the fluctuations of the water table of the aquifer located in the fractured limestone, which is conceptually modelled as a linear reservoir. Most of the model parameters have been assigned according to literature indications or from experimental data. Soil suction and water content data measured between 1 January 2011 and 20 July 2011 at a monitoring station installed along the slope allowed the remaining parameters to be identified. The calibrated model, which reproduced very closely the data of the calibration set, has been applied to the simulation of the hydrological response of the slope to the hourly precipitation record of 1999, when a large flow-like landslide was triggered close to the monitored location. The simulation results show that the lowest soil suction ever attained occurred just at the time the landslide was triggered, indicating that the model is capable of predicting slope failure conditions.

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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS) is an international two-stage open access journal for the publication of original research in hydrology, placed within a holistic Earth System Science context. The discussion and peer-review of submitted papers are handled in the open access discussion journal HESSD. Final papers, upon acceptance, appear in HESS (see Review Process under the heading Review).

HESS encourages and supports fundamental and applied research that seeks to understand the interactions between water, earth, ecosystems and man. A multi-disciplinary approach is encouraged that enables a broadening of the hydrologic perspective and the advancement of hydrologic science through the integration with other cognate sciences, and the cross-fertilization across disciplinary boundaries. HESS, therefore, has the ambition to serve not only the community of hydrologists, but all earth and life scientists, water engineers and water managers, who wish to publish original findings on the interactions between hydrological processes and other physical, chemical, biological and societal processes within the earth system, and the utilization of this holistic understanding towards sustainable management of water resources, water quality and water-related natural hazards.

The scope of HESS therefore encompasses:

  1. The role of physical, chemical and biological processes in the cycling of continental water in all its phases, including dissolved and particulate matter, at all scales, from the micro-scale processes of soil water to the global-scale processes underpinning hydro-climatology.
  2. The study of the spatial and temporal characteristics of the global water resources (solid, liquid and vapour) and related budgets, in all compartments of the Earth System (atmosphere, oceans, estuaries, rivers, lakes and land masses), including water stocks, residence times, interfacial fluxes, and the pathways between various compartments.
  3. The study of the interactions with human activity of all the processes, budgets, fluxes and pathways as outlined above, and the options for influencing them in a sustainable manner, particularly in relation to floods, droughts, desertification, land degradation, eutrophication, and other aspects of global change.

The journal will publish research articles, research and technical notes, opinion papers, book reviews, brief communications, and comments on papers published previously in HESS. Papers can address different techniques and approaches, including: theory, modelling, experiments or instrumentation. The journal covers the following Subject Areas and Techniques/Approaches, which are used to categorise papers:

Subject Areas:

  • Hillslope Hydrology;
  • Catchment Hydrology;
  • Global Hydrology;
  • Rivers and Lakes;
  • Coasts and Estuaries;
  • Hydrometeorology;
  • Vadose Zone Hydrology;
  • Groundwater Hydrology;
  • Ecohydrology;
  • Biogeochemical Processes;
  • Urban Hydrology;
  • Engineering Hydrology;
  • Water Resources Management.

Techniques and Approaches:

  • Theory Development;
  • Modelling Approaches;
  • Instruments and Observation Techniques;
  • Remote Sensing and GIS;
  • Mathematical Applications;
  • Stochastic Approaches;
  • Uncertainty Analysis.

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