Landslide runout has traditionally been quantified by the height-to-length ratio, H/L, which, in many cases, is strongly influenced by the slope of the runout path. In this study, we propose an alternative mobility measure, the unitless Runout Number, measured as the landslide length divided by the square root of the landslide area, which characterizes landslide shape in terms of elongation. We used a database of 158 landslides of varying runout distances from locations in northern California, Oregon, and Washington state to compare the two runout measurement methods and explore their predictability using parameters that can be measured or estimated using geographic information systems. The Runout Number better describes the overall runout for several landslide and slope geometries. The two mobility measures show very little correlation to each other, indicating that the two parameters describe different landslide mobility mechanisms. When compared to predictive parameters shown by prior research to relate to landslide runout, the two runout measurement methods show different correlations. H/L correlates more strongly to initial slope angle, upslope contributing area, landslide area, and grain size distribution (percent clay, silt, total fines, and sand). The Runout Number correlates more strongly to planimetric curvature, upslope contributing area normalized by landslide area, and percent sand. Although these correlations are not necessarily strong enough for prediction, they indicate the validity of both runout measurement methods and the benefit of including both numbers when characterizing landslide mobility.

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