ABSTRACT

The objective of this study was to evaluate the factors that contribute to the high frequency of landslides in the Kope Formation and the overlying colluvial soil present in the Cincinnati area, southwestern Ohio. The Kope Formation consists of approximately 80 percent shale inter-bedded with 20 percent limestone. The colluvium that forms from the weathering of the shale bedrock consists of a low-plasticity clay. Based on field observations, LiDAR data, and information gathered from city and county agencies, we created a landslide inventory map for the Cincinnati area, identifying 842 landslides. From the inventory map, we selected 10 landslides that included seven rotational and three translational slides for detailed investigations. Representative samples were collected from the landslide sites for determining natural water content, Atterberg limits, grain size distribution, shear strength parameters, and slake durability index. For the translational landslides, strength parameters were determined along the contact between the bedrock and the overlying colluvium. The results of the study indicate that multiple factors contribute to landslide susceptibility of the Kope Formation and the overlying colluvium, including low shear strength of the colluvial soil, development of porewater pressure within the slope, human activity such as loading the top or cutting the toe of a slope, low to very low durability of the bedrock that allows rapid disintegration of the bedrock and accumulation of colluvial soil, undercutting of the slope toe by stream water, and steepness of the slopes.

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