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Problems in predicting the mobility of slow-moving landslides

, : Problems in predicting the mobility of slow-moving landslides. Engineering Geology 91(1): 46-55

This paper discusses problems in predicting the mobility of slow-moving landslides. Three case studies are presented here where research has been carried out by the Utrecht University: The La Valette landslide complex in the French Alps, the La Mure landslide in the French pre-Alps near Grenoble and the Hau landslide in Switzerland. To predict field velocities of these slow-moving landslides the viscosity parameters of the material of these landslides were determined by strain-controlled tests in a ring shear apparatus based on Bishop's design at Utrecht University. The viscosity parameters from the laboratory proved to be 10 to 1000 times lower than viscosities obtained from back analyses on the observed velocities in the field. This discrepancy may be explained by the development of negative pore pressures when the plastic material slides over a rigid, wavy slip surface and/or by convergent flow effects. The associated gain in strength results in a higher apparent viscosity. A more detailed analysis is made for the movements of the La Valette landslide. Observed velocities at the La Valette landslide are difficult to describe by one parameter set as the response to a change in groundwater level is not the same during a rise or fall in the piezometric level. This deviation may be explained by rapid changes in total stresses and consequently changes in pore pressure under (partly) undrained conditions. The emerging hysteresis with local and temporal variations in pore pressure makes it difficult to predict in detail the moving pattern of landslides.


DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2006.12.012

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