--> Abstract: Assessing the Chronology of Bedrock Landslides in the Oregon Coastal Range Using Visible Near-infrared Spectroscopy, by Nathan P. Mathabane and Corina Cerovski-Darriau; #90181 (2013)

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Assessing the Chronology of Bedrock Landslides in the Oregon Coastal Range Using Visible Near-infrared Spectroscopy

Nathan P. Mathabane and Corina Cerovski-Darriau
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Obtaining accurate chronological data for landslides is critical to understanding their triggers and dynamics. In this study, we apply visible near-infrared (VisNIR) spectroscopy as a means to date landslide soils in a setting with uniform climate and bedrock lithology. In our Oregon Coast Range site, as sandstone-derived soils weather over time, pedogenic hematite accumulates and alters the color of the soil at a quantifiable and discernable rate. This rate having already been established through a soil chronosequence study, we can use the redness of a soil as a proxy for soil age. This is a potentially economical dating method as it does not rely on expensive radioisotopes and requires only a small amount of sample to process. The majority of the samples possessed ages between 75,000 and 150,000 years of age, though several slides registered ages over 200,000 years. The average percent error associated with the landslide ages was ~30-35%, although this value was lower for younger slides (<100,000 years) and greater for slides (>200,000 years). Younger slides were more homogenous in age while older slides exhibited more variability. Our results suggest that VisNIR spectroscopy may prove a more useful dating method on younger, less disturbed landslides but fail to truly capture the age of older, more complicated slides due to its reliance on a specific pedogentic model for hematite weathering. This method could be useful in a regional characterization of landslide chronology for similar biomes and provide scientists with a currently lacking catalogue of ancient landslide ages.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90181©2013 AAPG/SEG Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, September 27-30, 2013