Articles | Volume 12, issue 3
Research article
01 Mar 2012
Research article |  | 01 Mar 2012

Model testing on rainfall-induced landslide of loose soil in Wenchuan earthquake region

H. Fang, P. Cui, L. Z. Pei, and X. J. Zhou

Abstract. This study investigates the formation process of rainfall-induced landslide for slopes composed of loose soil in the Wenchuan earthquake region. Experimental investigations have been performed on the landslide's formation and the variation of the controlling soil parameters under various artificial rainfall conditions. The landslide triggering mechanisms can be described in the following way. Firstly, the large porosity of the loose soil facilitated the infiltration of water, which increased the pore water pressure and reduced the shear strength of the soil significantly. In addition, the rainfalls probably caused the concentration of finer particles at a certain depth of the valley slopes. This concentration within the soil increased the pore water pressure significantly, and consequently reduced both the porosity ratio and permeability. Therefore, when the pore water pressure reached a critical state, the effective shear strength of the soil diminished, inducing the landslide's formation.