A physically based mathematical model of the slope of Cervinara (southern Italy), which is characterized by a shallow pyroclastic soil cover laying upon a limestone fractured bedrock, has been developed. Previous and current ongoing monitoring suggested that leakage through the soil–bedrock interface occurred, with leaking water temporarily stored in a perched aquifer located in the upper part of the fractured limestone (epikarst). This aquifer supplied several springs, and recharge to the deeper groundwater circulation occurred. Hence, in the proposed model, the unsaturated water flow taking place within the soil cover is coupled with the saturated water flow in the perched aquifer. The application of the model to the simulation of the slope hydrologic behavior over a period of 11 years, between 2006–2017, provides realistic results in terms of soil storage, epikarst storage, spring discharge, and groundwater recharge. The different response times of soil and epikarst aquifer to precipitation input allow distinguishing the hydrological predisposing causes of potential landsliding (i.e., a few months of persistent rainfall that is capable of filling the epikarst aquifer) from the triggers, which are represented by single intense rainfall events. The application of the model offers a key of interpretation of the hydrological processes leading to the landslide that occurred on 16 December 1999.
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