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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 5 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 1257-1267, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Brief communication 23 May 2014

Brief communication | 23 May 2014

Brief Communication: Landslides triggered by the Ms = 7.0 Lushan earthquake, China

X. L. Chen1, L. Yu1, M. M. Wang2, C. X. Lin3, C. G. Liu4, and J. Y. Li1 X. L. Chen et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Active Tectonics and Volcano, Institute of Geology, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, 100029, China
  • 2Earthquake Administration of Sichuan Province, Chengdu, 610041, China
  • 3Beijing Institute of Geology, Beijing, 100120, China
  • 4China Earthquake Networks Center, Beijing, 100045, China

Abstract. Earthquake-triggered landslides have drawn much attention around the world because of the severe hazards they pose. The 20 April 2013 Ms = 7.0 Lushan Earthquake, which occurred in the Longmen Shan region in Sichuan province, China, triggered more than 1000 landslides throughout an area of about 2200 km2, and completely blocked many roads and exacerbated overall transportation problems in the mountainous terrain. Preliminary landslide inventory is complied immediately following the earthquake, mainly based on the high-resolution remote sensing images. At the same time, the distribution of these landslides is statistically investigated to determine how the occurrence of landslides correlates with distance from the earthquake epicenter, slope steepness, seismic intensity and rock type. Statistic analysis is conducted using landslide point density (LPD), which is defined as the number of landslides per square kilometer. It is found that LPD has a strong positive correlation with slope gradients and a negative-exponential decline with the distance from the epicenter. The higher LPD values occur in younger strata systems like Quaternary and Tertiary sediments in the study area. Spatially, the triggered landslides are controlled by the causative faults and mainly concentrated around the epicenter. All the landslides are located within the area with seismic intensity ≥ VII and in line with seismic intensity. Generally, LPD value decreases with increasing distance from the epicenter, and sometimes landslides are densely distributed along the roads in the mountainous region. Also, this study reveals that the empirical relationship between distance and seismic magnitude is more suitable for estimating the landslide concentration area during the Lushan earthquake compared to other methods.

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