Controlling factors for deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (DSGSD) in the Aosta Valley (NW Alps, Italy)
G. Martinotti, D. Giordan, M. Giardino, S. Ratto, 2011. "Controlling factors for deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (DSGSD) in the Aosta Valley (NW Alps, Italy)", Slope Tectonics, M. Jaboyedoff
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Deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (DSGSD) is a common and widespread type of large slope instability in the Alps. In the Aosta Valley region in NW Italy, DSGSDs occupy at least 13.5% of the regional territory. In this study, regional distribution analyses have been coupled with local detailed geological and geomorphological surveys of individual phenomena to detect the controlling factors, deformation processes and evolution stages of DSGSD. Data and maps from field and remote-sensing investigations have been supported by drill data and geomechanical and hydrogeochemical analyses from project studies for hydroelectric plants and tunnels. Several phenomena related to DSGSD have been studied thoroughly: gravity-induced stresses, tectonic–metamorphic setting, morphostructural relations, glacial and periglacial morphodynamics, recent tectonic evolution, hydrogeological conditions and karst phenomena have been generically indicated as controlling factors. In the studied area three of the controlling factors were crucial in differentiating the form and evolution of DSGSDs: deep dissolution, surface tectonics, and tectonostructural setting. They are presented as possible end members of a classification scheme for DSGSDs.
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Usually geomorphology, structural geology and engineering geology provide descriptions of slope instability in quite distinctive ways. This new research is based on combined approaches to providing an integrated view of the operative slope processes. ‘Slope Tectonics’ is the term adopted here to refer to those deformations that are induced or fully controlled by the slope morphology, and that generate features which can be compared to those created by tectonic activity. Such deformation can be induced by the stress field in a slope which is mainly controlled by gravity, topography and the geological setting created by the geodynamic context.
The content of this book includes slope-deformation characterization using morphology and evolution, mechanical behaviour of the material, modes of failure and collapse, influence of lithology and structural features, and the role played by controlling factors. The contributions cover broad aspects of slope tectonics that attempt to underline a multidisciplinary approach, which should create a better framework for studies of slope instability.