Post-disaster assessment of landslides in southern Taiwan after 2009 Typhoon Morakot using remote sensing and spatial analysis

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On 8 August 2009, the extreme rainfall of Typhoon Morakot triggered enormous landslides in mountainous regions of southern Taiwan, causing catastrophic infrastructure and property damages and human casualties. A comprehensive evaluation of the landslides is essential for the post-disaster reconstruction and should be helpful for future hazard mitigation. This paper presents a systematic approach to utilize multi-temporal satellite images and other geo-spatial data for the post-disaster assessment of landslides on a regional scale. Rigorous orthorectification and radiometric correction procedures were applied to the satellite images. Landslides were identified with NDVI filtering, change detection analysis and interactive post-analysis editing to produce an accurate landslide map. Spatial analysis was performed to obtain statistical characteristics of the identified landslides and their relationship with topographical factors. A total of 9333 landslides (22 590 ha) was detected from change detection analysis of satellite images. Most of the detected landslides are smaller than 10 ha. Less than 5% of them are larger than 10 ha but together they constitute more than 45% of the total landslide area. Spatial analysis of the detected landslides indicates that most of them have average elevations between 500 m to 2000 m and with average slope gradients between 20° and 40°. In addition, a particularly devastating landslide whose debris flow destroyed a riverside village was examined in depth for detailed investigation. The volume of this slide is estimated to be more than 2.6 million m3 with an average depth of 40 m.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2179-2190
Number of pages12
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2010


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