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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 18, issue 4 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1223-1231, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 26 Apr 2018

Research article | 26 Apr 2018

Factors influencing development of cracking–sliding failures of loess across the eastern Huangtu Plateau of China

Yanrong Li1, Jiarui Mao2, Xiqiong Xiang2, and Ping Mo1 Yanrong Li et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Taiyuan University of Technology, Taiyuan, 030024, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Karst Environment and Geohazard Prevention, Ministry of Land and Resources, Guizhou University, Guiyang, 550025, China

Abstract. Loess is a porous, weakly cemented, and unsaturated Quaternary sediment deposited by the wind in arid and semiarid regions. Loess is widely and thickly distributed in China, making the Huangtu Plateau the largest bulk accumulation of loess on Earth. However, the fragile geoenvironment in the loess areas of China causes frequent and various geohazards, such as cracking–sliding failure (beng-hua in Chinese), which is a typical geohazard that causes the largest number of casualties each year. This study investigates the main influencing factors and development patterns of cracking–sliding failure of loess to help prevent its occurrence and reduce losses effectively. The following conclusions are derived from this study: (1) cracking–sliding failures mostly take place in rectilinear slopes, convex slopes, slopes with gradients greater than 60°, slopes with heights of 5 to 40m, and slopes mostly exposed to sunlight with aspects of 180 to 270°; (2) cracking–sliding failures occur mostly from 10pm to 4am and mainly in the rainy season (July to September) and in the freeze-thaw season (March to April); and (3) highly intense human activities in the region correspond to a high possibility of cracking–sliding failures.

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