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TitleKyoji Sassa, Hiroshi Fukuoka, Fawu Wang and Gonghui Wang (eds): Landslides: risk analysis and sustainable disaster management
AuthorBobrowsky, P T
SourceLandslides vol. 6, 2009 p. 373-374,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20100498
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectslandslides; terrain management
ProgramNational Guidelines for Natural Hazard Assessment and Mitigation, Public Safety Geoscience
AbstractThis volume represents the proceedings of the First General Assembly of the International Consortium on Landslides which was held in Washington, DC, USA under the sponsorship of the US Geological Survey. The assembly and the subsequent publication provided an excellent opportunity for this relatively new organization to ¿take stock¿ of its efforts and accomplishments to date. The book comprises 46 chapters, 3 appendices and a fairly concise Index within 385 pages. The fully coloured volume contains 417 images.
The first chapter provides an excellent review regarding the origin, history and activities of the ICL since its inception in January 2002 on the heels of a successful IUGS-UNESCO IGCP (International Geoscience Programme) project. The chronology of events provides a good record of the expanding support network of various government and NGO bodies now affiliated with ICL, and the growing output of the International Programme on Landslides (IPL) which characterizes the primary products of the consortium. This chapter will always act as a point of reference for details on the evolution of the ICL and its activities.
The remaining chapters provide technical examples of the many IPL projects that have been, or still are, endorsed by the ICL. The IPL projects clearly address the mission, goals and aims of the organization. While not the focus of a separate chapter, the most important IPL project in the portfolio of activities for the consortium is the effective production of the full color international journal Landslides.
The first set of chapters deal with landslide related work at Machu Picchu. These include summaries of results examining in-situ surface based monitoring (extensometers), the results of ground based radar interferometry (GB-SAR) and satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), descriptions of the geomorphological and structural characteristics of the area, results of a ground penetrating radar study, and the results of some very high resolution satellite images for mapping debris flow activity in the vicinity. Each chapter was completed by a different multi-national team; notably, their separate conclusions are not all in agreement. The question remains open whether the site is in danger of anything more than shallow surface failures.
The next three chapters provide comments on different slope stability issues at several different cultural sites. These range from the influence of thermal expansion on slope displacements at Spis Castle, Slovakia, as determined by mechanical-optical crack gauges and laboratory/in-situ determination of thermal expansion characteristics for travertine rocks to the results of geo-mechanical studies and intervention methods as a means to conserve the remaining niches housing the virtually destroyed Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan as well as the results of a long-term landslide risk assessment study at the Imperial Resort Palace, Lishan, Xian, China.
The next series of articles represent case study examples of landslide work from around the world. Contributions include a study on a risk assessment for debris flow in the Tianchi lake area (China), use of airborne laser scanning for landslide prone terrain, rock slope studies in the Tien Shan mountain range (Kyrgyzstan), landslide geomorphology assessment of Craco (Italy), risk assessment at the Bohemian Switzerland National Park (Czech Republic), an analysis of liquefaction of clay rich soils, as well as the development of an early warning system for rainfall-induced landslides.
Part three of the volume deals with landslide risk analysis. In this category papers deal with sub-active landslides in the Cusco valley (Peru), applications of a new ring-shear apparatus, seismic behaviour of saturated sandy soils (Japan), chemical weathering and large-scale landslides (Japan), landslides and tsunami from Stromboli (Italy), landslides related to heavy rainfall and earthquakes in 2004 (Japan), slope instability at the archaeological site of Tharros (Italy), landslide-erosion relationships (Malaysia), geotechnical properties of permafrost soils (Canada), stability modeling for the Rock Hewn Church at Bet Aba Libanos in Lalibela (Ethiopia), methods of risk analysis for historic monuments (Egypt), landslide inventories (Nicaragua), the rock slide risk of the World Heritage ¿monasteries of Mount Athos¿ (Greece), the multi-hazard threats impacting Delphi (Greece), landslides associated with the 2002 eruption of Stromboli volcano (Italy), and finally the slope issues at the historic monument of ¿the Horseman of Madera¿ (Bulgaria).
Part four of the volume addresses sustainable disaster management topics. Here chapter topics range from landslide hazard mapping and evaluation (Honduras), emergency response to the 2004 Niigata earthquake (Japan), early warning systems and prevention (China), to landslide hazard zonation (Greece), landslide risk reduction (Russia), slope stability analysis under fluctuating reservoir levels (China), as well as displacement monitoring (China), landslide impact mitigation (Central America), continuous monitoring with GPS (Iran), use of ground based SAR interferometry (Italy), preservation of the Fugoppe Cave from rock fall (Japan), mitigation strategies in the area of the Medieval Citadel of Sighisoara (Romania) and finally the hazard assessment of settlements along the Upper Volga River (Russia).
Collectively, the volume is very diverse in its scope and coverage. The illustrations and images are mainly of the highest quality. A number of interesting, unique and noteworthy cases studies, topics and issues are addressed by many of the contributions. The most glaring shortcoming for the volume is the quality of the English in many of the foreign papers. The editors have done a great job in balancing structure, style and format but the lack of effective English editing for the text is glaringly apparent. Notwithstanding this flaw, I highly recommend the book as a library resource for all institutions. Professionals involved in landslide work will find several interesting papers worth their time to explore. I expect that this production will be present on the shelves of many scientists and engineers.