Seismic triggering of landslides, Part A: Field evidence from the Northern Tien Shan
Abstract. Landslides triggered by strong earthquakes often caused most of the global damage and most of all casualties related to the events, such as shown by the M = 7.7 Peru earthquake in 1970, by the M = 7.6 El Salvador earthquake in 2001 or by the M = 7.4 Khait (Tajikistan) earthquake in 1949. The obvious impact of a landslide on the population is directly related to its movement. Yet, prediction of future failure potential and hence future risk to population is necessary in order to avoid further catastrophes and involves the analyses of the origin of seismic instability. The seismic landslide potential is mainly determined by the interaction between the regional seismic hazard and local geological conditions. At a local scale, seismic factors interfering with geological conditions can produce site-specific ground motions. The influence of such Site Effects on instability is the principal topic of this paper, which is divided into two parts, A and B. The present Part A is concerned with the correlation of field data with observed instability phenomena. Field data were obtained on mainly three landslide sites in the Northern Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia. Geophysical prospecting, earthquake recordings, geological observation, trenching and geotechnical tests were the main investigation tools. The collected information gives an insight in the geological background of the slope failure and allows us to roughly infer failure mechanisms from field evidence. A detailed analysis of the susceptibility of a mechanism to specific geological conditions will be shown in Part B.