The influence of rainfall and river incision on the movement rate of a slow-moving, soft-rock landslide in the Rangitikei, New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Physical Geography at Massey University, Manawatu Campus, Palmerston North, New Zealand
The Rangitikei Slide, a slow-moving landslide near Taihape, New Zealand, was monitored to determine the movement patterns and identify the primary movement drivers. The sediment delivery of landslide material to the Rangitikei River was also estimated to inform the sediment yield from slow-moving landslides connected to a fluvial system. RTK-dGPS monitoring, photogrammetry, and pixel tracking of time-lapse imagery was used to categorise movement patterns, and pixel tracking at different temporal resolutions (weekly and hourly) in conjunction with environmental data identified the drivers and classified the influence on movement. The findings aimed to improve the understanding of these landslide types in New Zealand in order to propose more effective management strategies both locally and around the world. It was found that the landslide comprised several blocks exhibiting different movement rates, and that movement was influenced by a seasonal trend likely from groundwater fluctuations increasing pore pressures in the landslide mass. River erosion by the Rangitikei was identified as a key movement driver and has likely influenced movement since landslide initiation. This was supported by historic aerial imagery and photogrammetry, which showed that the landslide has preserved historic movement phases and these indicate fluvial influence. The estimation of sediment contributions found that ~19,000 t/year of sediment is entering the Rangitikei River from the toe, which is considered a conservative estimate. This contribution is substantial; the Rangitikei Slide is producing almost 3,000 times more sediment per kilometre than the non-landsliding areas of the Rangitikei Catchment. Based on these findings, several management options were proposed for the Rangitikei Slide, with recommendations included for managing slow-moving landslides around the world. It was also evident that further research is needed to better understand slow-moving landslides due to the significant hazard they represent in regard to their sediment contribution to the surrounding environment.