Problem Statement:. Landslides Impact Thousands Of People

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Landslides impact thousands of people and damage billions of dollars of infrastructure each year. Mitigation can be difficult and expensive when detailed risk and hazard maps are not available to local planners. For over 50yrs, the coastal population of Southern California has been increasing steadily and drastically. The rate of anthropogenic activities (construction of roads and other hillside utilities) under the banner of development has followed population growth resulting in the emergence of huge amounts of residential settlements at the base or on the unstable slopes of the Southern Coastline (Zell and Lurie, 2002). These landslides have evolved into to hazards over the past two hundred years as a result of
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In the Californian Southern Coastline, residents often settled in areas known as debris cones, which are areas where steep mountain streams debouched onto the valley floor (Rice, 1985). These areas are attractive because of the availability of abundant water supply, but pose a grave risk of landslides, particularly following increasing population growth.
One major problem in landslide hazard analysis and mapping is the inconsistent availability of hazard information. Identifying areas susceptible to landslides, acquiring knowledge of the probability of landslide occurrence and quantification of hazard exposure, are critical requisite to gaining some control over a landslide hazard’s magnitude of destruction. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has led the way in publishing landslide information (Olshansky, 2006). However, its efforts are limited because of the already insufficient funding it receives, which has been further reduced in recent years. In California, the legislature approved the Landslide Hazard Identification Program; it produced several maps that helped local planners with landslide planning (Olshansky & Rogers, 1987). Unfortunately, the California program was replaced in the 1990s by the Seismic Hazard Mapping Act, which has failed to provide sufficient detail for quality planning because it produces map models of large regions which are usually of low scale resolution. While the USGS now believes it has established a new means of

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