Estimating weakening on hillslopes caused by strong earthquakes

Chuanjie Xi, Hakan Tanyas*, Luigi Lombardo, Kun He, Xiewen Hu, Randall W. Jibson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The weakening of hillslopes during strong earthquakes increases landsliding rates in post-seismic periods. However, very few studies have addressed the amount of coseismic reduction in shear strength of hillslope materials. This makes estimation of post-seismic landslide susceptibility challenging. Here we propose a method to quantify the maximum shear-strength reduction expected on seismically disturbed hillslopes. We focus on a subset of the area affected by the 2008 Mw 7.9 Wenchuan, China earthquake. We combine physical and data-driven modeling approaches. First, we back-analyze shear-strength reduction at locations where post-seismic landslides occurred. Second, we regress the estimated shear-strength reduction against peak ground acceleration, local relief, and topographic position index to extrapolate the shear-strength reduction over the entire study area. Our results show a maximum of 60%–75% reduction in near-surface shear strength over a peak ground acceleration range of 0.5–0.9 g. Reduction percentages can be generalized using a data-driven model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number81
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024




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