New records of Holocene landslide activity in the Western and Eastern Swiss Alps: Implication of climate and vegetation changes

  • Dapples F
  • Oswald D
  • Raetzo H
 et al. 
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This paper presents a new chronology of landslide events during the Late-Glacial and the Holocene, inferred from several landslides located in the Western and Eastern Swiss Alps. Five periods of enhanced landsliding are evidenced during the Holocene, namely 11'500-10'250, 6'250-4'800, 3'500-2'100, 1'700-1'150 and 750-300 calibrated years BP. Such periods can be related to a significant deterioration of the climatic conditions, as well as major changes in the vegetation cover. Compared with climate-related processes, such as glacier fluctuations, solifluction and humidity index, the landslide chronology can be associated with periods of more cold and humid conditions. Apart from climatic influence, Holocene landslide activity occurs together with synchronous vegetation changes, such as human-induced deforestation, as evidenced in the Western Swiss Alps. Climatic changes, vegetation fluctuations and anthropogenic impacts can, therefore, be considered as major factors that contributed to increase landslide susceptibility in the Alps during the Holocene.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anthropogenic impact
  • Climatic changes
  • Holocene
  • Landslide activity
  • Swiss Alps
  • Vegetation fluctuations

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  • Florence Dapples

  • Daniel Oswald

  • Hugo Raetzo

  • Tomaso Lardelli

  • Peter Zwahlen

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