Abstract

A representative composite fault-related landslide of the Corinth Gulf graben named "Panagopoula" is reported that considered to be one of the most prone to slope instability sites along the main motorway and railway connecting Athens with the city of Patras. The presence of tectonically highly sheared and weathered geological formations, including Alpine basement (mainly flysch) contributes to the site instability, triggered/reactivated by seismic activity and heavy rainfalls. Although a series of remedial measures have been already constructed, the inclinometer readings during the last twenty years time period show a continuous very slow movement which indicates that the landslide is still "active". This fact has resulted to divert the axes of the new motorway and railway through twin tunnels which are under construction.

Introduction

The spatial and temporal evolution of landslides in the case of structurally complex slopes is lithologically and often structurally controlled while their type and frequency are mainly related to tectonic and lithological anisotropy (Baron et al. 2005; Hradecky et al. 2007). The triggering mechanisms mainly include:

  • excessive rainfall generating high pore pressure and

  • strong earthquakes resulting in dynamic loading conditions at the failure surface.

Data such as past earthquakes or the precipitation records are useful to be gathered when a landslide model is examined since they could act as a landslide triggering mechanism. Recording of the movement through surface and inclinometer measurements as well as combination of the above information with historical records of failure could lead to a more accurate estimation of the location of the failure surface and understanding of the landslide mechanism.

Slope instability in the southern segment of the Gulf of Corinth, Northern Peloponnesus, Greece, is ubiquitous and ranges from deep-seated bedrock failure to secondary earth flows in recent deposits. In this part of Greece, the periodically induced landslide events triggered by heavy rainfall, earthquake and anthropogenic activity are closely related to active fault tectonics. The Gulf of Corinth is considered as a typical example of a relatively simple asymmetric half-graben with major border faults to the south and a flexure of the northern shore. Panagopoula landslide is located along the trace of a WNW trending normal fault (dipping northwards) (Figure 1). The area is considered to be one of those most prone to slope instability along the E95 motorway and railway connecting Athens with the city of Patras.

The paper outlines the significance of active fault tectonics for the development of landslides which could affect the transportation routes. Recent and past inclinometer data are evaluated in order to establish a ground displacement rate through a twenty years' time frame.

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