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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 Sep 2020

14 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NPG.

Size distribution law of earthquake-triggered landslides in different seismic intensity zones

Yidan Huang1,2,3 and Lingkan Yao1,2,3 Yidan Huang and Lingkan Yao
  • 1School of Civil Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, 610031, China
  • 2MOE Key Laboratory of High-speed Railway Engineering, Chengdu 610031, China
  • 3Road and Railway Engineering Research Institute, Sichuan Key Laboratory of Seismic Engineering and Technology, Chengdu 610031, China

Abstract. The Ms 8.0 Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 and Ms 7.0 Lushan earthquake in 2013 produced thousands of landslides in the southern region of the Longmen Mountains in China. We conducted field investigations and analyzed remote sensing data to determine the distribution law of earthquake-triggered landslides. The results show a strong negative power-law relationship between the size and frequency of landslides in VII, VIII, and IX seismic intensity zones, a weak power law in the X seismic intensity zone, and a lognormal distribution in the XI seismic intensity zone. Landslide density increases with increasing seismic intensity. A sand pile cellular automata model was built under the conceptual framework of self-organized criticality theory to simulate earthquake-induced landslides. Data from the simulations demonstrate that with increasing disturbance intensity, the dynamical mechanism of the sand pile model changes from a strong power law to a weak power law and then to a lognormal distribution. Results from shaking table experiments of a one-sided slope sand pile show that for peak ground acceleration (PGA) in the range of 0.075 g–0.125 g, the relation between the amount and frequency of sand follows a negative power law. For PGA between 0.15 g and 0.25 g, the relation obeys a lognormal distribution. This verifies that the above-mentioned distribution of earthquake-induced landslides should be a universal law from a physical viewpoint and may apply to other areas. This new perspective may be used to guide development of an inventory of earthquake-triggered landslides and provide a scientific basis for their prediction.

Yidan Huang and Lingkan Yao

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Yidan Huang and Lingkan Yao

Yidan Huang and Lingkan Yao


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Earthquakes have triggered numerous landslides, and much progress has been made in their study. But so far, the dynamics behavior of slope disasters is still lack of understanding, such as “Is there a definite energy and spacial distribution of earthquake-induced landslides? Do giant landslides and small landslides follow different formation mechanisms?”. In this study, we attempts to answer these questions from the point of view of the Self-Organized Critical (SOC) theory.
Earthquakes have triggered numerous landslides, and much progress has been made in their study....