EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A Discrete Elements Modelling Framework for the Parametric Study of Landslides in Low Gravity Environments

Luca Penasa, Alice Lucchetti, Riccardo Pozzobon, Giovanni Munaretto, Maurizio Pajola, and Costanza Rossi
Luca Penasa et al.
  • Padova, INAF-OAPD, Padova, Italy (

Landslides are almost ubiquitous in the Solar System, with rockfall and avalanches that are observed also on other terrestrial bodies, such as the Moon (Bart, 2007; Xiao et al., 2013), Mars (Crosta et al., 2018; Lucchitta, 1987) and Mercury (Malin & Dzurisin, 1978). Landslides and mass movements have been observed also on planetary bodies characterized by extremely low gravity, as for example asteroids’ surfaces of Vesta and Ceres (Otto et al., 2013; Schmidt et al., 2017). The behaviour of mass movements on these bodies is poorly studied due to the difficulties of recreating low-gravity experimental conditions or identifying satisfactory analogues for the involved materials. In fact, the overall dimensions and morphology of the resulting deposits (area, width and length) are often the only features that can be studied and compared between different sites or planetary bodies, due to the limitations in DEMs resolution and suitable imagery.  In particular, plots of the H/L ratio (drop height/runout length) provide a proxy for the average friction coefficient and have been the subject of many comparative investigations.

With the aim of providing a more consistent picture of the possible outcomes of landslides and other mass movements we hereby describe a fully parametric numerical framework based on ESyS-Particle software  (Abe et al., 2004; Tancredi et al., 2012), which has been specifically designed to explore the outcomes of fragmenting grain flow under different model assumptions. The framework has been designed to leverage modern distributed computing technologies to increase the number of simulations that can be executed in parallel, and to maximize the usage of already-available computing hardware. Preliminary results and the limitations are also presented and discussed.

This framework will support the parametrization of numerical models for the upcoming observations of mass-movements of the future JUICE-JANUS camera observations on Jupiter Icy Moons.

Acknowledgements: The activity has been realized under the ASI-INAF contract 2018-25-HH.0.

How to cite: Penasa, L., Lucchetti, A., Pozzobon, R., Munaretto, G., Pajola, M., and Rossi, C.: A Discrete Elements Modelling Framework for the Parametric Study of Landslides in Low Gravity Environments, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11400,, 2022.