Abstract

Nowadays, there is an increasing interest for realistic spring-block models capable of addressing precursor phenomena in catastrophic earthquake-induced landslides. By pre-defining the constitutive law between externally applied stress and induced local strain increments, the dynamic behaviour of the rock/soil slope can be studied by means of the distribution of slip events at the interface between the soil and the bedrock. It is shown that by relaxing the assumption of constant of externally applied stress rate and local strain increments, a robust 2D spring-block model can be formulated for studying triggered landslides. A cellular automaton is built in order to examine the dynamic behaviour and the stability of rock/soil slopes during the initiation of a landslide. The type and nature of the failure plane, as well as the triggering mechanism is studied. The different dynamic evolution modes of the slope can be mapped to specific shape parameters of the corresponding distributions of the incremental displacements. The proposed spring-block model can be used in order to understand, predict and minimize the impact of catastrophic landslides triggered by earthquakes.

Introduction

Earthquakes have long been introduced as one of the major cause of landslides. Earthquake induced landslides are of great importance because they can cause considerable damage and life casualties. Existing analyses can provide landslide concentration, i.e. the number of landslide sources per square kilometer of surface area, as well as the distance from the earthquake source, which is related to the strength of shaking, the slope steepness, which is connected to shear stress, and finally the rock type, which is referred to material strength (Keefer, 1984). In spite of their great importance in social and economic life, earthquake-induced landslides are still considered as an open geotechnical problem. The dependence of the number and distribution of landslides on earthquake magnitude and ground shaking intensities is a crucial factor for the description and determination of the phenomenon. The hazardous types of earthquake-induced landslides, the most susceptible geologic materials and the reactivation of landslides originally triggered by nonseismic activity are some important topics for areas affected by landslides. Most of these areas present an irregular and asymmetric shape with respect to epicenters and fault ruptures, and also show a strong correlation with magnitude (Keefer, 1984, 2000). The number of landslides caused by an earthquake generally increases with increasing earthquake magnitude. Keefer (1984) presented a magnitude scale in order to quantify the number of earthquake-induced landslides. Malamud et al. (2004) have proposed an independent landslide-event magnitude scale on the earthquakes, based on the logarithm of the total landslides number associated with an event. The aforementioned studies try to relate the landslide magnitude scale to the visible effects of the triggering mechanisms.

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