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Landslides, Part 1 La Conchita slide, Jan 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Landslides, Part 1 La Conchita slide, Jan 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Landslides, Part 1 La Conchita slide, Jan 2005

2 Outline Definitions Factors important for mass movements
Timescales of movement Examples

3 What are mass movements?
Material moves downslope under force of gravity Occur throughout U.S. and the world Often triggered by earthquakes, volcanoes, rainstorms, human activities In U.S., average $1.5 billion, 25 deaths per year

4 Gravity: Key Force 1 lb rock Material on horizontal surface - no problem because no motion driven by gravity Gravity pulls with 1lb towards center

5 Gravity: Key Force Downslope component leads to slides
Just need some energy or trigger to get it started 1 lb rock Gravity force split into components perpendicular to surface, and parallel to surface

6 Factors Influencing Mass Movement
Nature of slope materials Steepness of slope Water content Slope stability

7 Angle of Repose Angle of Repose:
the maximum angle at which a pile of unconsolidated particles can rest, increases with grain size

8 Classification of mass movement is based on
dominant material, fluid content, and velocity of movement.

9 Creep Slowest motion, very widespread
Downhill motion of soil and uppermost bedrock layer, rates of few mm/year

10 How Creep Works Surface materials expand and contract, resulting in net motion downslope

11 Creep - Expansion and Contraction
Ways to get expansion: Water in pores freezes - expands in volume Abundance of clay minerals - absorb water easily Heating of ground surface Ways to get contraction: Thawing Drying Cooling

12 Evidence of Creep

13 Evidence of Creep

14 More Speed! More substantial, higher velocity movements - important for hazards Several internal and external factors important for increasing the odds of movement

15 External Factors: Steepen slope Remove support at base Waves, streams, people Add mass to top Sedimentation, human effects

16 Internal Factors Weak materials Water Decrease cohesion
Geologic conditions

17 Weak Materials Clays most common problem; very abundant
Sheetlike structure can absorb, release water Some clay minerals lead to large slope failures Quickclay: mix of clay, water, salt that can collapse from vibrations (blasts), rain Example: Canada

18 Water: Important for strengthening and weakening
Strengthens - surface tension Weakens by Pore pressure Adding weight Interaction with clays

19 Importance of Water Content
Saturated sand flows easily because of interstitial water Surface tension in damp sand increases cohesion Dry sand is bound only by friction

20 Other water weakening methods
Weight - excess water adds mass on the slope Clay interaction - can attach to clays because of positive/negative charges on water molecule

21 Decrease in Cohesion Occurs through erosion
Rocks expand as they reach surface (less pressure than at depth) Open fractures, allows water to enter

22 Geologic Conditions Slopes can be weak due to “pre-existing” geologic conditions Ancient slide surfaces Slope of rock layers relative to slope of hillside Structures such as joints, faults, clay layers in rocks

23 Rock Dip is Important Rock layers dip at angles less than hillslope - conditions ripe for failure

24 Triggers of Movements Immediate cause Long-term Rains Earthquakes
Thawing cycles Construction Long-term Gravity

25 Types of Faster Movements

26 Falls Hard rock splits along joints, weak zones
Detaches from cliff, free falls to ground Can shatter, leading to dust clouds Triggers: rain, frost, earthquakes


28 Rock fall - Yosemite 1996 162,000 ton mass fell off valley wall
Large tree kill, thick dust blanket 1 death

29 Slides Movement above failure surface Can be rotational Or translation
Curved slip surfaces Or translation Fail along planar surface

30 Rotational Slides Move down and out on curved slip surfaces (sometimes called slumps) Can trap water, lead to more instability


32 Rotational Slide Example
Rotational landslide in France

33 Translational Slide Move down and outward on ~planar surfaces of weakness Can be joints, faults, clay layers, etc Can go as Block slides Debris slides Lateral spreading

34 Next Time More slides and flows

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