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04.07.2019 | Original Paper

Integrated experiments on field monitoring and hydro-mechanical modeling for determination of a triggering threshold of rainfall-induced shallow landslides. A case study in Ren River catchment, China

Zeitschrift:
Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment
Autoren:
Xinsheng Wei, Wen Fan, Yanbo Cao, Xiaoqing Chai, Massimiliano Bordoni, Claudia Meisina, Jun Li

Abstract

Understanding the hydrological mechanism of rainfall-induced shallow landslides is critical to make reliable predictive assessments and to reduce risks of economic loss and fatalities. An integrated approach was identified by combining the field-based monitored hydrological data with a hydro-mechanical analysis, which can be utilized to better understand seasonal hydrological features in shallow soils and the corresponding triggering mechanism of rainfall induced shallow landslides, with the aim of setting up an improved landslide early warning system. A hydrological monitoring system on a representative slope that was experiencing frequent local shallow failures in the Ren River catchment was constructed to provide available seasonal hydrological features with regard to time trends in volumetric water content and pore water pressure in shallow soils. A transition of vertical downward flow from unsaturated to near-saturated conditions has been fully detected since the significant saturation degree and associated pore pressure varies with vertical depths. Consequently, the triggering mechanism of shallow landslides should be associated with the combined effects of dissipation of matrix suction in the upper unsaturated zone and increased positive pore pressure due to the generation of a temporal perched water table in the deeper saturated zone. This process was confirmed through the field evidence and a back analysis on the long-term hydrological evolution of slope soil using a calibrated one-dimensional hydrological model. Antecedent hydrological conditions were also found to have an effect on rainfall intensity–duration thresholds in the landslide early warning system based on a hydro-mechanical analysis, with the aim of improving the accuracy of the model’s predictive ability. The results indicated that this research promoted the effectiveness of a landslide early warning system through a hydro-mechanical analysis based on capturing the real hydrological features of a landslide.

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