Abstract

In the last two decades, shallow geophysics has considerably evolved with the emergence of 2D spatial imaging, then 3D spatial imaging and now 4D time and space imaging. These techniques allow the study of the spatial and temporal variations of geological structures. This paper aims at presenting a current state-of-the-art on the application of surface geophysical methods to landslide characterization and focuses on recent papers (after 1990) published in peer-reviewed international journals. Until recently, geophysical techniques have been relatively little used for the reconnaissance of landslides for at least two main reasons. The first one is that geophysical methods provide images in terms of physical parameters, which are not directly linked to the geological and mechanical properties required by geologists and engineers. The second reason shown through this study probably comes from a tendency among a part of the geophysicists to overestimate the quality and reliability of the results. This paper gave the opportunity to review recent applications of the main geophysical techniques to landslide characterisation, showing both their interest and their limits. We also emphasized the geophysical image characteristics (resolution, penetration depth), which have to be provided for assessing their reliability, as well as the absolute requirements to combine geophysical methods and to calibrate them with existing geological and geotechnical data. We hope that this paper will contribute to fill the gaps between communities and to strength of using appropriate geophysical methods for landslide investigation.

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