Predisposing and triggering factors of large-scale landslides in Debre Sina area, central Ethiopian highlands

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Mebrahtu, T. K.
Hussien, B.
Banning, Andre
Wohnlich, S.
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A large number of landslide events have repeatedly struck the border zone of the northwestern plateaus of Ethiopia. Debre Sina area is one of the most tectonically active areas located along the western margin of the Afar depression, which is frequently affected by landslides. Despite that, urban and rural development is currently active in almost the entire area. It is crucial, therefore, to understand the main causes and failure mechanisms of landslides in the Debre Sina area and its surroundings. The present study investigated landslides using field mapping of geological and geomorphological features, remote sensing, geo-morphometric analysis, structural analysis, rainfall data, landslide inventory, and earthquake data. The results of the study indicate that large-scale and deep-seated landslide problems appear to be caused by complex geological settings and rugged topography. In particular, the location and morphology of the Yizaba Wein and Shotel Amba landslides are strongly controlled by geological structures. Their flanks are bounded by high angle faults, and their main basal failure surfaces have developed within a W–E striking eastward-dipping normal fault zone. The complex litho-structural and morphologic settings play a vital role in controlling the geometry of the slip surfaces and the stability of the landslides.
Ethiopia , Failure mechanisms , Landslides , Natural hazards , Rift escarpment
Mebrahtu, T.K., Hussien, B., Banning, A. and Wohnlich, S. (2021) ‘Predisposing and triggering factors of large-scale landslides in Debre Sina area, central Ethiopian highlands’, Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment, 80, pp. 365–383. doi: 10.1007/s10064-020-01961-1