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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-432
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-432
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 Mar 2020

18 Mar 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

A model for interpreting the deformation mechanism of reservoir landslides in the Three Gorges Reservoir area, China

Zongxing Zou1, Huiming Tang1, Robert E. Criss2, Xinli Hu3, Chengren Xiong1, Qiong Wu3, and Yi Yuan4 Zongxing Zou et al.
  • 1Three Gorges Research Center for geo-hazards, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, 430074, China
  • 2Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, One Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, United States
  • 3Faculty of Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, 430074, China
  • 4Department of Land and Resources of Hubei Province, Wuhan, 430074, China

Abstract. Landslides whose slide surface is gentle near the toe and relatively steep in the middle and rear part are common in the Three Gorges Reservoir area, China. The mass that overlies the steep part of the slide surface is termed the driving section and that which overlies the gentle part of the slide surface is termed the locking section. A driving-locking model is presented to elucidate the deformation mechanism of reservoir landslides of this type, as exemplified by Shuping landslide. More than 13 years of field observations that include rainfall, reservoir level and deformation show that the deformation velocity of Shuping landslide depends strongly on the reservoir level but only slightly on rainfall. Seepage modelling shows that the landslide was destabilized shortly after the reservoir was first impounded to 135 m, which initiated a period of steady deformation from 2003 to 2006 that was driven by buoyancy forces on the locking section. Cyclical water-level fluctuations in subsequent years also affected slope stability, with annual jumps in displacement coinciding with drawdown periods that produce outward seepage forces. In contrast, the inward seepage force that results from rising reservoir levels stabilizes the slope, as indicated by decreased deformation velocity. Corrective transfer of earth mass from the driving section to the locking section successfully reduced the deformation of Shuping landslide, and is a feasible treatment for huge reservoir landslides in similar geological settings.

Zongxing Zou et al.

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Short summary
The evolutionary trend of deforming landslides and feasible treatments for huge reservoir landslides needs further study. A geomechanical model is presented to elucidate the deformation mechanism of reservoir landslides. The deformation process of Shuping landslide is well interpreted by the geomechanical model. A successful engineering treatment is applied in treating the Shuping landslide, providing references for treating other huge landslides in the Three Gorges Reservoir area.
The evolutionary trend of deforming landslides and feasible treatments for huge reservoir...
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