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DOI 10.4461/GFDQ.2012.35.2


Development of Pietra Maura landslide and interactions with the Marsico Nuovo dam (Basilicata, Italy)

Pages 13-22


This paper deals with a big earthflow, known as Pietra Maura landslide, which has an artificial reservoir, formed by an earthfill-rockfill dam, at its toe. The landslide is located immediately north of Marsico Nuovo village along the eastern flank of the high Agri Valley. The geological evolution of the Agri Valley is essentially related to the Pleistocene extensional and strike-slip tectonics, overprinting older Apennine contractional structures. The geological formations recognized in the study area are all related to the Lagonegro Basin domain. They are mostly characterized by abundant clay intervals, sudden lithological variations and diffuse structural complexities. In the plane view, the Pietra Maura landslide shows a NW-SE-oriented elongated shape with a large depletion zone, a narrow channel and a wide toe which deflect the Agri River. At the moment the activity of the landslide seems to be mostly restricted to the depletion area and, to a lesser extent to the lateral channel streams. In contrast, the resting part is dormant. In 1983 the construction of the Marsico Nuovo dam led to the provision of water for irrigation purposes. The dam is 68,2 m high and 460 m wide and the reservoir’s top height is 786.6 m a.s.l. When completed, in the 1996, it created a basin with a capacity of 7 Mm3, partially invading the toe of the Pietra Maura landslide. The dam is attested both on clay and limestone deposits that are separated by a steep fault. The described structural conditions, coupled with the low strength values of the outcropping rocks, are a concern especially if a series of loading/downloading cycles are provided for the water reservoir. Most of the problems are linked to the presence of water in the toe of the landslide which may greatly reduce the strength values of the outcropping terrains. The aim of the study is to achieve a better understanding of the stability conditions in the northern area of the Marsico Nuovo dam. It highlights the presence of landslide bodies, which are totally or partially reactivated or susceptible to reactivation such as the Pietra Maura landslide.

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