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Deep-Seated Gravitational Slope Deformation in the Sawatch Range of Colorado

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Maddie Festin

Deep-seated gravitational slope deformations (DSGSDs) are large-scale, creeping mass movements often involving entire mountain slopes. These enormous landslides may be on the order of kilometers in height and length, move a few millimeters to centimeters a year, and can generate secondary hazards from landslides and debris flows. While there have been many studies on DSGSD from the European Alps, few similar studies have been conducted in the United States. This research aims to identify DSGSD in an area of 2200 square kilometers in the Sawatch Range of Colorado, followed by mapping, geomorphic analysis, and comparison with satellite Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) displacement data. We used satellite imagery and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data to identify DSGSD across the mountain range, followed by a week-long field visit to collect ground data and imagery. Results show that DSGSD are relatively common across the Sawatch range, and many of these phenomena are actively moving. We identified 28 sites that exhibit physical characteristics of DSGSD, of which eight appeared to be moving with a downward velocity of 1-2 cm/y . About half of the identified DSGSDs were west-facing. Almost all DSGSD occurred in granitic bedrock, with a few in metamorphosed rock. The largest DSGSD was over 8 km2, but most fall between .5-1 km2. This research provides insights into their distribution and geomorphology while contributing to the broader catalog of DSGSDs.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Jeffrey Moore
Location: Alumni House, DUMKE ROOM (10:45am)