An integration of geological and geophysical techniques has been used to characterize the internal structure of the Little Valley Landslide in Draper, Utah, USA. The Little Valley Landslide is a pre-historic landslide as old as 13ka B.P. It is found to consist of chaotic and disturbed weathered volcanic units derived from Tertiary age volcanics that comprise a great portion of the Wasatch Range. Geotechnical investigations that were integrated with the geophysical results included excavation of trenches and drilling of boreholes. Geophysical methods, in particular high-resolution seismic data, were used to provide a framework for interpreting the geotechnical observations. High-resolution seismic reflection data, seldom used in landslide investigations, were acquired and processed in order to image the basal or glide surface of the landslide and the structure underlying the landslide. The integration of the geotechnical and geophysical investigations provided a better understanding of the geometry of a portion of the Little Valley Landslide. Trenching and drilling identified landslide material in the subsurface. The high-resolution seismic reflection data imaged the glide surface with the onset of coherent reflectivity. A decollement or glide surface underlies the landslide indicating a large mass movement. The glide surface is observed on the seismic reflection profiles to be deepest in the center portion of the landslide. It is observed in the seismic reflection images to shallow up slope and creating a trough-like shape feature. A contour map modeling the middle of the Little Valley Landslide is derived from the seismic data. This study shows that seismic reflection techniques can be successfully used in complex alpine landslide regions. They are also efficient and cost-effective tools when compared to trenching and drilling investigations. The seismic data can (1) provide a framework to link geological data and (2) take the place of an extensive trenching and drilling program.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





geology, landslides, seismic reflection, Little Valley Landslide, glide surface, Traverse mountains



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Geology Commons