GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 59-7
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM


KEATON, Jeffrey R., AMEC Foster Wheeler, Los Angeles, CA 90040 and ROTH Jr., Richard J., Consulting Insurance Actuary, 8821 Baywood Dr, Huntington Beach, CA 92646,

Monitoring technology has advanced to the point that small-scale changes can be detected. Among the challenges associated with monitoring interpreting the significance of detected changes. Landslides are interesting, and exciting when facilities are threatened by them. This session calls upon landslide professionals to use monitoring methods wisely and effectively to better understand the nature and behavior of unstable slopes. This is a narrow view; what really is needed is better understanding of slope-system behavior, including the stable parts. From a geoscience perspective, slope behavior would include processes and intensities of mass erosion, flux, and sediment accumulation. From a societal perspective, slope behavior would include Hazard characteristics (amount, direction, and frequency of movement at a large number of points). Slope Hazard would be coupled with the Fragility of buildings, roads, utilities, and other facilities "at risk" of being damaged by slope processes. The at-risk facilities could be those currently in place, or constructed in the future to standard designs. Slope monitoring to be effective, therefore, also must include accurate documentation of damage that is caused by slope processes, something that geologists may be well suited to observe, but perhaps not well suited to interpret.

Earthquake damage began to be documented systematically in the last century, which led to a realization that damage was more severe on sites with certain characteristics, even though the ground motion and building age and construction details were comparable. Post-earthquake surveys became more focused on details of ground motion, site characteristics, and building design and construction. Earthquake damage was modeled, leading to modeled losses, which informed actuaries and enabled private insurance. With insurance came funding for science and engineering studies to develop better loss models. The ability to model losses caused by damage to facilities on slopes remains one of society's needs.

  • Keaton & Roth_GSA_Seattle_loss_model_needs_15_slides.pdf (3.2 MB)