Southeastern Section - 64th Annual Meeting (19–20 March 2015)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM


MARINELLI, M., Geology Department, Kent State University, 800 E. Summit St., Kent, OH 44240, NANDI, A., Department of Geosciences, East Tennessee State University, 1276 Gilbreath Dr., Johnson Sity, TN 37604 and SHAKOOR, Abdul, Department of Geology, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44240,

This study was undertaken to assess landslide susceptibility of the West Prong Little Pigeon River (WPLPR) watershed of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). The WPLPR watershed is one of the most visited areas of the park, and covers an area of 35 square miles that includes Newfound Gap, Mt. Leconte, and Route 441. The park is known for rainfall induced landslides, so the risk to landslides must be reduced by using the proper planning strategies. The specific objective of this study was to produce digital maps identifying potential landslide prone areas in the WPLPR watershed. The study was performed by first creating a landslide inventory map using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and based on Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) interpretation, aerial photograph analysis, field observations, and literature. The landslide inventory map was then used as a calibration tool for a GIS-based logistic regression model to predict landslide susceptibility, based on geologic, hydrologic, and structural factors of the watershed obtained from online sources (primarily the Integration of Resource Management Applications website). This model reduced the 24 total individual factors to the nine with the highest correlation: wind erodibility factor, surface texture, elevation, pour points, flow direction, rainfall, land use, permeability, and runoff. The landslide susceptibility map contains areas of low, medium, and high landslide susceptibility. This study will provide a better understanding and awareness about the risk associated with landslide occurrence and susceptibility in GSMNP, thereby aiding visitors in avoiding high risk areas, helping park staff to make wise mitigation choices, and providing a basis for scientists doing future research in the park. These maps will also serve as a template from which inventory and susceptibility maps can be made of the entire GSMNP.