Recent technological and methodological advances for the investigation of landslide dams
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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River-damming by landslides is a widespread phenomenon around the world. Recent advances in remote sensing technology and the rising commercial availability of their products enable the assemblage of increasingly more complete inventories and improve monitoring efforts. On the ground, multi-method dating campaigns enhance our understanding of the timelines of dam formation and failure. In comparison to single-dating methods, they reduce uncertainty by using different materials from the landslide deposit, facilitate the advantages of each method, and consider the deposit and the source area. They can pin dates on the time of lake drainage where backwater sediments are included in the dating campaign and thus inform about dam longevity. Geophysical methods provide non-invasive and rapid methods to investigate the properties and interior conditions of landslide dams. By identifying, e.g. evolving zones of weakness and saturation they can aid in the monitoring of a dam in addition to providing information on interior stratification for scientific research. To verify results from geophysical campaigns, and to add details of dam interior structures and geotechnical properties, knowledge of their sedimentology is essential. This information is gathered at sections from breached dams, other (partially) eroded landslide deposits, and through laboratory testing of sampled material. Combining the knowledge gained from all these methods with insights from blast-fill and embankment dam construction, physical and numerical modelling in multi-disciplinary research projects is the way forward in landslide dam research, assessment and monitoring. This review offers a broad, yet concise overview of the state-of-the-art in the aforementioned research fields. It completes the review of Fan et al. (2020) on the formation and impact on landslide dams.