Articles | Volume 61, issue 3
30 Sep 2006
 | 30 Sep 2006

Subsurface investigations of landslides using geophysical methods : geoelectrical applications in the Swabian Alb (Germany)

R. Bell, J.-E. Kruse, A. Garcia, T. Glade, and A. Hördt

Abstract. Landslides occur frequently all over the world, causing at times considerable economic damage, injuries and even death. In order to improve hazard assessment, common landslide types of a given region need to be investigated in detail. While traditional techniques of subsurface investigation are expensive and only provide point information, geophysical methods are suitable tools for gathering 2D and 3D information on the subsurface quickly, reliably and cost-effectively.

In this study, the suitability and limitations of 2D resistivity for the determination of landslide extent, structure and soil moisture conditions are presented. For this purpose, two identical profiles were taken during a two-month period. Significant differences in electrical resistivity (>1000 Ωm) due to varying soil moisture conditions were observed. Using various inversion parameters, it was possible to model two distinct subsurface images. Regrettably, the sliding plane could not be detected reliably, possibly due to the homogeniety of the landslide material and underlying bedrock.