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Hydrogeological and geophysical properties of the very-slow-moving Ripley Landslide, Thompson River valley, British Columbia
2020-08-20, Huntley, David, Holmes, Jessica, Bobrowsky, Peter, Donohue, Shane, et al.
Landslides along a 10 km reach of Thompson River south of Ashcroft, British Columbia, have repeatedly damaged vital railway infrastructure, while also placing public safety, the environment, natural resources, and cultural heritage features at risk. Government agencies, universities, and the railway industry are focusing research efforts on a representative test site — the very-slow-moving Ripley Landslide — to manage better the geohazard risk in this corridor. We characterize the landslide’s form and function through hydrogeological and geophysical mapping. Field mapping and exploratory drilling distinguish 10 hydrogeological units in surficial deposits and fractured bedrock. Electrical resistivity tomography, frequency domain electromagnetic conductivity measurements, ground-penetrating radar, seismic pressure wave refraction, and multispectral analysis of shear waves; in conjunction with downhole measurement of natural gamma radiation, induction conductivity, and magnetic susceptibility provide a detailed, static picture of soil moisture and groundwater conditions within the hydrogeological units. Differences in electrical resistivity of the units reflect a combination of hydrogeological characteristics and climatic factors, namely temperature and precipitation. Resistive earth materials include dry glaciofluvial outwash and nonfractured bedrock; whereas glaciolacustrine clay and silt, water-bearing fractured bedrock, and periodically saturated subglacial till and outwash are conductive. Dynamic, continuous real-time monitoring of electrical resistivity, now underway, will help characterize water-flow paths, and possible relationships to independently monitor pore pressures and slope creep. These new hydrogeological and geophysical data sets enhance understanding of the composition and internal structure of this landslide and provide important context to interpret multiyear slope stability monitoring ongoing in the valley.