The South Jingyang Plateau, with a total area of 70 km2, is located in Shaanxi Province, China. Since 1976, more than 50 landslides of different types have occurred repeatedly on the edge slopes of the plateau due to the start of diversion irrigation on the plateau, resulting in great loss of lives and property. To better understand the initiation and movement mechanisms of these loess landslides, we surveyed them and carried out a detailed investigation of a large landslide in the Xihetan area. Our field survey results revealed that although most of these landslides had a long runout with high mobility, most of the landslide materials originating from the edge slopes may have been in an unsaturated state when the landslide occurred. This suggests that the materials at the toe of the edge slope as well as on the travel path along the river terrace might have played a key role in landslide movement. To examine how the materials on the travel path were involved in the landsliding, we used a multichannel surface wave technique and surveyed shear wave velocity (V s ) profiles of the landslide deposits. We also examined the internal geometry of the deposits that outcropped on the right-side slope of the landslide foot. The longitudinal profile of V s along the direction of movement showed that terrace deposits near the toe of the edge slope may have been sheared upward, indicating that at the toe, the surface of rupture might be located inside the terrace deposits. The V s contours showed an A-shaped fold within the landslide deposits in the middle part of the travel path and became greater in the most distal toe part. The V s profile across the deposits showed a U-shaped belt, in which the soil layers have smaller V s . This belt may be the boundary between the sliding landslide debris and terrace deposits. The observed internal geometry of the landslide deposits indicates that a sliding surface developed within the sandy layer underlying the gravel layer. Therefore, we inferred that after failure, the displaced landslide materials overrode and sheared the terrace deposits along its main sliding direction, resulting in the formation of thrust folds within the terrace deposits, and greater V s on the distal toe part of the landslide.
Landslides – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 8, 2017
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