The classification of damming landslides and landslide dams induced by the Wenchuan Earthquake

Xuanmei Fan, C.J. Van Westen, Chenxiao Tang, Qiang Xu, Runqiu Huang, Gonghui Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015. The devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake with a magnitude of Mw 7.9 was the largest seismic event in China in more than 50 years. It triggered numerous landslides over a broad area, some of which dammed rivers, posing severe threats to downstream settlements. The coseismic landslides are classified into rock/debris avalanches, debris flows, rock/debris slides and rock falls. A number of representative examples of each type and the corresponding landslide dam features were studied. According to dam composition material and sedimen-tological features, landslide dams were categorized into three types: dams mainly composed of large boulders and blocks; dams composed of unconsolidated fine debris; and dams with partly intact rock strata at the base topped by large boulders and blocks or soil with rock fragments, showing two-layered or three-layered depositional structure. This classification is linked to the typology of damming landslides and considered to be a preliminary indicator of dam stability. In addition, dam stability also largely depends on valley morphometry as well as landslide runout distance and mechanism. .
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngineering Geology for Society and Territory
Subtitle of host publicationLandslide Processes
EditorsG. Lollino, D. Giordan, G.B. Crosta, J. Corominas, R. Azzam, J. Wasowski, N. Sciarra
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-09057-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-09056-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
EventIAEG XII congress: Engineering Geology for Society and Territory - Torino, Italy
Duration: 15 Sep 201419 Sep 2014


ConferenceIAEG XII congress


  • Coseismic Landslides
  • Landslide Dams
  • Typology
  • Wenchuan Earthquake


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