Rapid zonation of abrupt mass movement hazard: Part I. General principles

J. R. Ni*, R. Z. Liu, Onyx W. H. Wai, Alistair G. L. Borthwick, X. D. Ge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hazards caused by mass movement cost many human lives and cause severe damage to property. Accurate zonation of such hazards provides an important tool for preventive measures. Previous approaches for mass movement hazard zonation are costly because they require large amounts of data, time and labor, and are only applicable to specific local areas. In this paper, a Rapid Zonation of Abrupt Mass-movement Hazard (RZAMH), applicable to large regions, is proposed. It involves the selection of appropriate zonation principles, routes, units, and indexes that can be used for the classification of reference groups, identification of matching groups of test sites, evaluation of blank test sites, and coalescence of sub-regions into specified zonation areas. The K-means clustering method is used in the classification processes. The applicability of the RZAMH approach to a large area implies that the number of reference sites required to build the reference groups is not of primary importance as long as the reference sites are representative. Therefore, for large areas, the RZAMH approach would be more economical than other conventional methods. The RZAMH approach is probably applicable to all abrupt mass movement hazards including rock falls, landslides, and debris flows. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-225
Number of pages12
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2006


  • rapid hazard assessment
  • abrupt mass movement hazard
  • zonation approach
  • clustering


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