Messina Province, IT

2 Messina-Province Sicily-ItalyThe study area is located along the northeastern part of Sicily, Southern Italy, in the Peloritani and the Nebrodi ranges. Climate is Mediterranean with hot and dry summers and precipitation falling mostly in the period from October to January. Elevation ranges from sea level to 1847 m. Sedimentary and crystalline rocks predominate, including limestone, dolomite and flysch deposits, Jurassic to Pliocene in age, and crystalline rocks Paleozoic to Tertiary in age. Narrow, v-shaped valleys drained by ephemeral streams characterize the morphology of the area, which is controlled by lithology and the structural setting. The area is seismically active with severe historical earthquakes, including the Mw 7.1, 1908, Messina earthquake. Due to the physiographical setting, the area is prone to landslides, including deep-seated and shallow slides. The research will focus in two study areas: (1) the Perotitani Mountain range and (2) the Nebrodi Mountain range.

The Peloritani range extends along the E coast of Sicily, between Messina to the N and Catania and the Etna volcano to the S, with elevation ranging from sea level to more than 1374 m (at Montagna Grande). A part of the Apennines - Maghrebide orogen, the Peloritani mountains were formed by the superimposition along thrust faults of multiple geological units. The lithological and the structural settings and the recent tectonic history shaped the recent morphology of the area. Closely spaced valleys drained by ephemeral streams ("fiumare") typical of the Mediterranean area characterize the landscape. Due to the local physiographic and meteorological setting, landslides of different types and sizes are abundant in the area.
On 1 October 2009, a high intensity storm hit the E coast of Sicily. The Santo Stefano di Briga rain gauge, located two kilometres from the coast, measured 225 mm of rain in seven hours. The intense rainfall triggered abundant slope failures, and resulted in widespread erosion and deposition of debris along ephemeral channels, extensive inundation, and local modifications of the coastline. For the Giampilieri and the Briga catchments, an accurate landslide inventory map was prepared through the visual interpretation of stereoscopic aerial photographs flown shorty after the event.

The Nebrodi range, a part of the Sicilian Apennines, extends for 70 km along a ENE-WSW direction in northern Sicily. Elevation in the area ranges from sea level to 1847 m (at Monte Soro). Terrigenous rocks, mainly marls and claystones, crop out in the western part of the range. In the central part of the range clay deposits predominate, and coarse-grained terrigenous rocks crop out in the eastern part of the area. Rainfall and steep slopes are the main causes for the abundance of landslides, that include soil slips, debris flows, rock falls and deep-seated rotational, translational and complex slides.

Tested LAMPRE products

1 LIM-Product icon OFF2 ELIM-Product icon OFF3 LSMM-Product icon OFF4 LStats-Product icon OFF5 3DSDM-Product icon OFF6 LRIM-Product icon OFF

Physiographic settings

Coastal mountain ranges characterized by weak and hard rocks drained by narrow streams.

Relevant phenomena

Soil slips, shallow soil slides and debris flows, rock falls and minor rock slides, deep-seated rotational and translational slides and earthflows, large complex and compound failures.


Exploring the impact of using HR optical images instead of VHR optical images in event induced landslide detection and mapping. The activity is investigative and preparatory to the exploitation of Sentinel II mission.

LAMPRE products testing

2 ELIM-Product icon OFFLAMPRE has prepared ELIMs for different test sites ranging in areas from 25 to 80 square kilometres, including two ELIMs for the Kaopin area (Taiwan), two ELIMs for the Pogliaschina area (Liguria, Italy) and an ELIM for the Giampilieri area (Sicily, Italy).

For the Pogliaschina catchment (Italy), LAMPRE has exploited a pair of VHR stereoscopic images taken by the WorldView-2 satellite shortly after a rainfall event that triggered hundreds of landslides. In the non-shadowed areas, the ELIM was prepared semi-automatically through a standard classification of the VHR images. In the shadowed areas, landslides were not visible in the images (Figure A). By stretching the Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI) the traces left by the landslides became apparent (Figure B). Exploiting stereoscopy, a 3D model was prepared to facilitate the recognition of the event landslides, allowing for their accurate mapping (Figure C).ELIM fig.AELIM fig.BELIM fig.C

3 LSMM-Product icon OFFLAMPRE has prepared LSMMs for areas ranging from a few to several thousand square kilometres, including the Briga catchment (Messina, Italy), and the Umbria region (Italy). To prepare the LSMMs, LAMPRE adopts a statistical approach to landslide zonation.

Landslides cover 10% of the hills and the mountains of Umbria (Italy). Exploiting an existing landslide inventory map, and morphological, geological and land-cover information in a Geographical Information System (GIS), LAMPRE has prepared a landslide susceptibility model and the associated zonation map shown in Figure A. In the map, the different colours represent areas expected to be prone to (red, orange) or free of (light and dark green) landslides. Figure B shows the uncertainty associated with the landslide susceptibility zonation.LSMM figA LSMM figB

It is important to evaluate the quality of the susceptibility zonation by comparing it to observed landslide inventories. The map in Figure C shows the geographical location of the areas identified correctly and incorrectly as landslides using the susceptibility model. The four-fold plot shows the proportion of the territory that was classified correctly and incorrectly as landslide prone or landslide free. In the plot, correct predictions are: True Positives (TP) where landslides were predicted in the model and observed in reality, and True Negatives (TN) where landslides were neither predicted nor observed. Also shown is the proportion of the region classified incorrectly. False positives (FP) show the proportion of the area predicted as landslide prone where no landslides were observed, and False Negatives (FN) show areas where no landslides were predicted in the model but were observed in reality. Figure D shows a Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) plot used to evaluate quantitatively the performance of the landslide susceptibility zonation.LSMM figC LSMM figD

In the ROC plot, the larger the red area under the curve, the better the susceptibility model and the associated terrain zonation. The combination of the susceptibility map (Figure A), the model uncertainty map (Figure B), and measures of the quality of the susceptibility model (Figures C and D), are useful for land planning and management. This combination helps to evaluate the potential impact of landslides, to do landslide early warning, and to construct scenarios of landslide abundance and activity in a changing climate.

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Fausto Guzzetti 
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica

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GA n°: 312384
Project type: Small collaborative project
Start date: 01/03/2013
Duration: 24 months
Total budget: 2,488 mln. €
EC funding: 1,964 mln. €
Total effort in person-month: 284
Other info: Visit CORDIS



The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement nº 312384. LAMPRE is managed by the Research Executive Agency (REA)

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