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Precursory slope distress prior to the 2010 Mount Meager landslide, British Columbia

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Author(s): Gioachino Roberti, Brent Ward, Benjamin van Wyk de Vries, Pierre Friele, Luigi Perotti, John J. Clague, Marco Giardino

Document Type:
Publisher: Landslides
Published Year: 2018
Volume: 15
Number: 4
Pages: 637 to 647
DOI Identifier: 10.1007/s10346-017-0901-0
ISBN Identifier:
Keywords: landslide Mount Meager volcano glacial retreat slope deformation historical airphotos

In 2010, the south flank of Mount Meager failed catastrophically, generating the largest (53 ± 3.8 x 106 m3) landslide in Canadian history. We document the slow deformation of the edifice prior to failure using archival historic aerial photographs spanning the period 1948–2006. All photos were processed using Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry. We used the SfM products to produce pre-and post-failure geomorphic maps that document changes in the volcanic edifice and Capricorn Glacier at its base. The photographic dataset shows that the Capricorn Glacier re-advanced from a retracted position in the 1980s then rapidly retreated in the lead-up to the 2010 failure. The dataset also documents 60 years of progressive development of faults, toe bulging, and precursory failures in 1998 and 2009. The 2010 collapse was conditioned by glacial retreat and triggered by hot summer weather that caused ice and snow to melt. Meltwater increased pore water pressures in colluvium and fractured rocks at the base of the slope, causing those materials to mobilize, which in turn triggered several secondary failures structurally controlled by lithology and faults. The landslide retrogressed from the base of the slope to near the peak of Mount Meager involving basement rock and the overlying volcanic sequence. Elsewhere on the flanks of Mount Meager, large fractures have developed in recently deglaciated areas, conditioning these slopes for future collapse. Potential failures in these areas have larger volumes than the 2010 landslide. Anticipated atmospheric warming over the next several decades will cause further loss of snow and glacier ice, likely producing additional slope instability. Satellite- and ground-based monitoring of these slopes can provide advanced warning of future landslides to help reduce risk in populated regions downstream.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Roberti and others (2018) or (Roberti et al., 2018)

References Citation:
Roberti, G., B. Ward, B. van Wyk de Vries, P. Friele, L. Perotti, J.J. Clague, and M. Giardino, 2018, Precursory slope distress prior to the 2010 Mount Meager landslide, British Columbia: Landslides, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 637-647, doi: 10.1007/s10346-017-0901-0.