Desplazamiento de masas

Definition

Mass movements can be defined as as any type of downslope movement of earth materials, such as sediment, soil and rock material. Mass movements are processes of erosion, transport and accumulation of material that occur on both gentle and steep slopes mainly owing to gravitational forces (IRDR Glossary).

These movements are generally associated with other disasters such as earthquakes, floods, thunderstorms and heavy rainstorm. They can be also associated with manmade hazards like construction roads, buildings, structures, infrastructure facilities.

 

Facts and figures

Mass movements occur based on several factors and causes differ depending on different regions. Mass movements are affected by the slope gradient, climate, rock type and structure, physical setting and geological and geomorphological outlines (Advances in Geosciences).

Mass-wasting events come in many shapes, sizes and speeds. Typically, the steeper the angle of a slope, the faster will be the down-slope movement of rock and sediment.  Also, water can play a significant role in mass wasting, sometimes acting as the key component to a mass-wasting event, or serving as a lubricant within a mass of sediment and rock, enabling it to travel faster and further than it would otherwise.

 

One type of mass wasting can evolve into another type of mass wasting as the body of sediment/rock moves down a slope. This can make it difficult to classify a single event as being one type of mass wasting or another (Department of Geological Sciences, California State University).

A simple classification of the different types of mass wasting can be:

  • Falls  (rock fall and rock avalanche)        
  • Slides  (rock slide, landslide and slump)      
  • Flows  (rock avalanche, debris flow, earth flow and creep).

UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices with hazard-specific expertise

Related content on the Knowledge Portal

  • Publishing institution:
  • Movebank is a free, online database of animal tracking data hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology. The institute help animal tracking researchers to manage, share, protect, analyze, and archive their data. The animal tracking data in Movebank belongs to researchers all over the world who choose whether and how to share their data with the public. Curretnr esearch is being done on animal derived early warning systems for earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides.
    Publishing institution:
  • ESA's Earth Observation Thematic Exploitation Platform (TEP) is a browser for satellite imagery and specific products on an environmental topic. The TEP platforms are divided into 7 categories: Coastal; Forstry; Geohazards; Hydrology; Polar; Urban; and Food Security. Each platform is a collaborative, virtual work environment providing access to EO data and the tools, processors and Information and Communication Technology resources required to work with them. TEP aims to bridge the gap between the users and the data and tools.
    Publishing institution:
  • Pleidas, TerraSar-X, SPOT and Elevation data available commercially from airbus, certain sample data sets at various locations available for free.
    Publishing institution:
  • The website: https://www.radiant.earth
    Help and Tutorials: https://help.radiant.earth/
    Demos & Use Cases: https://demos.radiant.earth/
    Publishing institution:
  • Welcome to the fascinating world of Radar tomography. This tutorial presents a set of training resources for the introduction into this advanced Radar remote sensing technique. The material consists of the following components

    A theory unit comprising Slides on Basics, Concepts & Techniques
    An interactive Python tutorial including a Jupyter Notebook
    Free Test data from the airborne F-SAR platform
    An explanation video on how to use the tutorial

    The module SAR Tomography introduces the advanced technique of combining multiple radar images from several viewing angles into a new dimension of information. Although tomogoraphic measuring systems and applications are recently in an experimental stage, this technology has a large potential to enhance the information content of radar data. This module gives an overview of the basics, limitations, mathematical foundations, advanced techniques and recent case studies.

    Related...

    read more
  • NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) is a program for archiving and distributing Earth science data from multiple missions to users.
    Publishing institution:
  • Publishing institution:

Term Parents

UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices with hazard-specific expertise