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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)

Earthquake-generated landslide hazard in Lebanon   

PI: Grace Abou-Jaoude, Lebanese American University
U.S. Partner:  Joseph Wartman, University of Washington
Project Dates: May 2012 - May 2015

Project Overview

Lebanon is located in a relatively high seismic zone and has a rugged topography, making it vulnerable to hazards from earthquakes and landslides. Records about seismic events in the country go back to 303 AD and contain descriptions about such damages as houses and monuments destroyed and widespread fires, but they offer few, if any, details about collateral damages from landslide hazards associated with earthquakes.

Although Lebanon has not experienced any major earthquake since 1956, the recent discovery of an active thrusting fault close to its coastline has significantly raised its risk of being hit by a high magnitude earthquake.

Past studies on seismic hazards in Lebanon have focused on seismic zoning and its impact on structural engineering design. Although many researchers have assessed slope stability hazards in Lebanon based on various static conditions, no effort has been undertaken as yet to assess the impact of a seismic event on triggering landslide hazards in the country.

This project aimed to produce a hazard map of Lebanon that clearly shows the critical areas prone to earthquake-induced landslides. Ultimately the project should help Lebanese cities to identify areas with high natural hazard potential so they can plan urban growth appropriately, thus preventing damage to critical infrastructure and saving lives in the event natural disasters strike.
Final Summary of Project Activities
The team studied seismic landslide hazards of Lebanon based on three methods, and chose two for further modeling and analysis to account for the different slip surface geometries and various modes of slope failure. During a PEER grant visit, the PI and US partner took part in “ground-truthing” in two areas in Lebanon where high hazards were predicted from both methods of analysis, and took part in a dissemination workshop to present results of the project and international perspectives on landslide hazard and risk mapping.

The “ground truthing” field visits, conducted on confirmed many of the predicted high hazard locations. The team continued their work on developing landslide hazard maps in a separate PEER grant that ran from 2015 through 2017.


A. Saade, G. Abou-Jaoude, and J. Wartman. 2016. Regional-Scale Co-Seismic Landslide Assessment Using Circular Slip Surfaces. Engineering Geology 204: 53-64.

Grace Abou-Jaoude, Angela Saade, Joseph Wartman, and Alex Grant. 2016. Earthquake-Induced Landslide Hazard Mapping: A Case Study in Lebanon. Geo-Chicago 2016.
A.R. Grant, J. Wartman, and G. Abou-Jaoude. 2014. “A Terrain classification system for coseismic landslide hazard analysis: Lebanon, A Case Study”.In 2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.