This blog provides a commentary on landslide events occurring worldwide, including the landslides themselves, latest research, and conferences and meetings. The blog is written on a personal basis by Dave Petley, who is the Wilson Professor of Hazard and Risk in the Department of Geography at Durham University in the United Kingdom.

This blog is a personal project that does not seek to represent Durham University.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Another landslide on a reservoir flank - Yesa in Spain

In the last few days I have posted a couple of times about a landslide on the banks of the reservoir from the Laxiwa Dam in China.  It hs been brought to my attention that there is another interesting, but this time in Europe, at Yesa in Spain.  The dam, which is located at 42.615N, 1.183E, has an interesting history.  A concrete dam was constructed some years ago, with impoundment being undertaken in 1959.  However, in recent years a new, much larger, dam has been proposed for the site.  There is a description of the proposed project (NB PDF) - the structure is a 117 m high, concrete-faced gravel dam - but this has not yet been built.

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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Landslides and large dams - there may be trouble ahead...

Yesterday I posted for the second time on the extraordinary landslide problem that has developed at the Laxiwa HEP station in China.  The wider question that goes with this is the degree to which this is an isolated problem, or could it be that this is an indication of a larger issue?  Later this year there is a conference in Italy to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vajont landslide disaster, at which I am presenting a keynote lecture.  The paper that I have written focuses on an analysis of landslides associated with large dams over the last ten years.  The paper is out in October and I don't pre-publish my work.  However, I thought it would be interesting in the context of Laxiwa to show two maps.  The first is the global distribution of large dams - this is from the UN GrandD database, which provides information of large dams worldwide, mapped onto a global digital elevation model using ArcMap:

View the remainder of this post on the AGU home of the Landslide Blog by clicking here

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

How to survive a landslide

Various news reports suggest that a couple in Alaska had a very lucky escape from a landslide on Sunday.  The best news report that I have come across is on Alaska Public Media, which also has this image of the landslide (credited to Kevin Knox):
Alaska Public Radio / Kevin Knox
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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Landslide hazards in the aftermath of the Lushan earthquake in Sichuan

A number of Chinese media outlets have articles about the threats posed by landslides in the aftermath of the 20th May 2013 Lushan earthquake in Sichuan Province.  It is clear from the imagery (such as the image below) that landslides have represented a very significant component of the costs of this earthquake, although at present it is not clear just how many of the deaths were caused by mass movements.  The next major threat is the upcoming rainy season - just weeks away - which will inevitably cause a combination of further first time failures and debris flows of released materials. Ya'an, the County in which Lushan sits, is nicknamed "the city of rain".   

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

More information on the disastrous mining-induced landslide in Tibet a fortnight ago

Questions continue to be asked about what I have been calling the Jiama/Gyama Mine landslide in Tibet.  First, it should be noted that this is a misnomer - the event should correctly be called the Tseri Mountain landslide I think, so from here-on in this will be how I refer to it.  Anyway, I thought I'd highlight three sources of information about the landslide that are all very helpful.  Note that all have been compiled independently from my own analysis
1. An interpretative report about the landslide by Adrian Moon
Adrian Moon, who regularly contributes this blog, has written an analysis of the landslide.  This is a very impressive piece of work.  He has given me permission to make it available, so I have uploaded it onto Slideshare and have embedded it below.  You should be able to read it below, but if not click here.  Adrian also asked me to acknowledge the input of his colleagues Robert Barnett, Professor of Contemporary Tibetan Studies, Columbia University and Yeshi Dorje at the Voice of America Tibetan Service.

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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Is the Bingham Canyon copper mine landslide the most expensive single mass movement in history?

Further news is emerging about the landslide at Bingham Canyon copper mine last week.  The transparency of all involved is impressive to behold, and is a remarkable contrast to the much more costly in human terms landslide at the Jiama mine in Tibet.  I thoroughly recommend that you visit the Kennecott Utah Copper flickr site, which has some wonderful images of the landslide.  I cannot post them here, but do take a look.

In landslide terms this event was a major success, with one substantial caveat, in that detailed monitoring allowed the event to be predicted, which meant that the mining operations were stopped and the mine was evacuated prior to the event.  The mine was using slope deformation radar systems provided by the Italian Company IDS, which can detect movement in the walls of the mine.  Interpretation of the movement patterns can be used to forecast and even predict a failure event - indeed this is an area that our research group at Durham has worked upon in some depth.  The caveat of course is that the size and travel distance of the landslide does not seem to have been anticipated.  Indeed Rio Tinto released a market report that said:

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Friday, 12 April 2013

The unusually large Bingham Canyon Mine landslide - an impressive example of prediction using monitoring

On Wednesday evening an extremely large - and in the case this is no exaggeration - landslide occurred in the Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah, USA.  According to various news reports, the deforming slope was identified some months ago and monitored intensively.  An increasing rate of strain in the hours before failure indicated that a collapse was imminent, and the mining company released a warning about the landslide in advance.  The upshot is that although it has caused considerable damage to the mine, there are no casualties.

The scale is impressive.  There is a fabulous gallery of images of the landslide on the website.  These are two of them:

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Friday, 5 April 2013

Landslides in Portugal, including a new landslide video

Portugal News reports that heavy rainfall in the last few days across the country has induced landslides and floods, with  the district of Santarem being worst hit.  The most interesting landslide occurred at GuimarĂ£es, where the ring road was severed by a landslide.  On Youtube there is a dramatic video that shows the early stages of this failure but not the main landslide event.  There are some very good images of the aftermath at the end of the video.  It is worth watching:

View this video  on the AGU home of this blog by clicking here.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Caveat Emptor part 2 - the end game

Back in October I highlighted the case of a house in Torquay in Devon that was being affected by landslides.  This is rather a sad story in many ways - the house was bought for a knock-down, but not insubstantial, price, apparently unseen, before the most recent problems began.  The buyer has now suffered very high levels of loss as the house has been destroyed.  The Daily Mail yesterday ran a photo story about the house, which has subsequently suffered a series of landslide events.  The result is that it is possible to put together a sequence of photos of the loss of the house:

The house in question (from the Daily Mail):

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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

More information about the Brazil riverbank failure landslide

The Brazil riverbank landslide, which killed six people last week, is an intriguing event.  In the comments from my post yesterday, Raphael Rocha kindly provided detailed information about the landslide (including a correction to the location).  This certainly justifies a separate post
One of the links that he provided was to this site, which has an image of the area of land that collapsed:

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