Geophysical monitoring of moisture-induced landslides: a review

Jim Whiteley, Jonathan Chambers, Sebastian Uhlemann, Paul B. Wilkinson, J M Kendall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
325 Downloads (Pure)


Geophysical monitoring of landslides can provide insights into spatial and temporal variations of subsurface properties associated with slope failure. Recent improvements in equipment, data analysis, and field operations have led to a significant increase in the use of such techniques in monitoring. Geophysical methods complement intrusive approaches, which sample only a very small proportion of the subsurface, and walk-over or remotely sensed data, which principally provide information only at the ground surface. In particular, recent studies show that advances in geophysical instrumentation, data processing, modeling, and interpretation in the context of landslide monitoring are significantly improving the characterization of hillslope hydrology and soil and rock hydrology and strength and their dynamics over time. This review appraises the state of the art of geophysical monitoring, as applied to moisture-induced landslides. Here we focus on technical and practical uses of time-lapse methods in geophysics applied to monitoring moisture-induced landslide. The case studies identified in this review show that several geophysical techniques are currently used in the monitoring of subsurface landslide processes. These geophysical contributions to monitoring and predicting the evolution of landslide processes are currently underrealized. Hence, the further integration of multiple-parametric and geotechnically coupled geophysical monitoring systems has considerable potential. The complementary nature of certain methods to map the distribution of subsurface moisture and elastic moduli will greatly increase the predictive and monitoring capacity of early warning systems in moisture-induced landslide settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-145
Number of pages40
JournalReviews of Geophysics
Issue number1
Early online date12 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • geophysical monitoring
  • landslides
  • seismic
  • electrical resistivity
  • early warning systems
  • rainfall


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