Landslides

BGS Research

Holbeck Hall

The BGS hosts one of the largest concentrations of landslide experts in the UK. Our researchers are involved in many aspects of landslide research with the primary objective of building resilience both in the UK and internationally. This research is funded through commercial, grant funded and public science role projects and is published in reports, web pages and peer-reviewed publications.

Current projects

Trigger threshold values (TTVs) are measurements of the process intensities that drive a geohazard. For example, this might be the magnitude of an earthquake that triggers landslides in areas of earthquake-induced landsliding.

Earthquake-triggered landslides are relatively rare in the UK, where the key trigger for landsliding is rainfall. Determining the TTV for rainfall-induced landslides is challenging because the TTV varies with the type of soil, which may bring forth the effect of antecedent conditions, i.e. the soil moisture conditions prior to an event.

TTVs also vary with rainfall intensity. Our researchers investigate TTVs in a variety of ways that primarily reflect data availability:

  • analysis of historic landslide events in the context of the associated weather conditions (antecedent and event-day precipitation) leading to the event trigger
  • statistical methods are applied at a range of scales. At a coarse level, we provide a monthly analysis of landslides and rainfall
  • deterministic analyses of antecedent soil moisture conditions considering soil properties (porosity; saturated coefficient of permeability; soil water characteristics curve) in the context of observed and forecasted meteorological conditions
  • analysis of analogues for soil moisture, such as electrical resistivity (e.g. PRIME) and meteorological conditions

Daily landslide hazard

© BGS/UKRI.

We are carrying out ongoing landslide susceptibility research at higher resolutions and in the context of specific styles of landsliding.

LANDSLIP is funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department for International Development (DFID) Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience programme, which aims to support improved disaster resilience and humanitarian response by advancing monitoring, assessment and modelling for the prediction of natural hazards and risks in India.

This research is focused on the landslide processes associated with coastal erosion and it is focused on coastal landslide observatories, including ones at Aldbrough in Yorkshire and Barton on Sea in Hampshire.

Our hazard and resilience modellers use a range of techniques that reflect the scale of modelling (national to site scale), the style of landslides and the availability of data. Methods include heuristic, statistical and deterministic approaches. Susceptibility and impact modelling is largely GIS hosted and is ultimately aimed at risk minimisation and resilience building.

For more information please contact Vanessa Banks.

Contact the Landslide Response Team

Tel: 0115 936 3143 Email: landslides@bgs.ac.uk

Find out more about our landslides research

National Landslides Database

National Landslide Database

The BGS National Landslide Database (NLD) is the most extensive source of information on landslides in Great Britain.

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Debris flow on A83

Understanding landslides

What is a landslide? Why do landslides happen? How to classify a landslide. Landslides in the UK and around the world.

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landslides and rainfall

Landslides and rainfall

We combine rainfall statistics and landslide data to produce graphs demonstrating the relationship between landslides and rainfall.

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fall at Pennington Point. (Photo: © Eve Mathews)

Landslide case studies

The landslides team at the BGS has studied numerous landslides. This work informs our geological maps, memoirs and sheet explanations and provides data for our National Landslide Database, which underpins much of our research.

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Holbeck Hall Landslide

Natural Hazards Partnership

The NHP builds on the interdisciplinary expertise of its partners to deliver better coordinated natural hazards science, research and advice to Governments, Civil Contingency responders and other hazard resilience groups across the UK.

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Aldbrough Coastal Landslide Observatory.

Landslide observatories

BGS have long-term monitoring observatories where data have been collected, in some instances, since 2001.

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Report a landslide

Please tell us about any British landslides you may have seen on TV, heard about on the radio, read in newspapers etc.

Landslide Assessment Report

This report is for people who are carrying out preliminary site assessments or who have a general interest in the landslides of a particular area

Report a landslide

Please tell us about any British landslides you may have seen on TV, heard about on the radio, read in newspapers, etc.

Landslide susceptibility mapping

BGS GeoSure: landslides

The potential for landsliding (slope instability) to be a hazard has been assessed using 1:50 000 scale digital maps of superficial and bedrock deposits. These have been combined with information from the BGS National Landslide Database and scientific and engineering reports.

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GeoSure debris flow sample

BGS GeoSure: debris flow

The Debris Flow landslide layer provides information on the potential of the ground, at a given location, to form a debris flow. It is based on a combination of digital geological, hydrogeological and topographic data.

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