Geotechnical characteristics of large rapid rock slides

Glastonbury, James; Fell, Robin
January 2010
Canadian Geotechnical Journal;Jan2010, Vol. 47 Issue 1, p116
Academic Journal
Based on the analysis of 51 case studies of large rapid rock slides, for a landslide to travel rapidly after failure there has to be a significant loss of strength on the basal surface of rupture, lateral margins, and (or) internally within the slide mass, or the factor of safety has to be maintained below 1.0 after failure by high groundwater pressures. Internally sheared compound slides and translational slides may all travel rapidly depending on their detailed geotechnical and geometric characteristics. The characteristics of these landslides that suggest an increased likelihood of rapid failure have been identified. All the rapid rock slides examined in this study involved relatively high-strength rock masses. Most cases were considered to be first-time landslides, largely involving brittleness on the basal rupture surface. However, there were some cases considered to be reactivated or active landslides on pre-sheared rupture surfaces. For this latter group, the loss of strength leading to rapid landsliding was associated with brittle internal deformation or lateral margins.


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