, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 9–23 | Cite as

Heavy-rainfall-induced catastrophic rockslide-debris flow at Sanxicun, Dujiangyan, after the Wenchuan Ms 8.0 earthquake

  • Yueping Yin
  • Yuliang Cheng
  • Jingtao Liang
  • Wenpei Wang
Original Paper


This paper uses the catastrophic rockslide at Sanxicun village in Dujianyan city as an example to investigate the formation mechanism of a rapid and long run-out rockslide-debris flow of fractured/cracked slope, under the application of a rare heavy rainfall in July 2013. The slope site could be affected by the Wenchuan Ms 8.0 Earthquake in 2008. The sliding involved the thick fractured and layered rockmass with a gentle dip plane at Sanxicun. It had the following formation process: (1) toppling due to shear failure at a high-level position, (2) shoveling the accumulative layer below, (3) forming of debris flow of the highly weathered bottom rockmass, and (4) flooding downward along valley. The debris flow destroyed 11 houses and killed 166 people. The run-out distance was about 1200 m, and the accumulative volume was 1.9 × 106 m3. The rockslide can be divided into sliding source, shear-shoveling, and flow accumulative regions. The stability of this fractured rock slope and the sliding processes are discussed at four stages of cracking, creeping, separating, and residual accumulating, under the applications of hydrostatic pressure and uplift pressure. This research also investigates the safety factors under different situations. The double rheological model (F-V model) of the DAN-W software is utilized to simulate the kinematic and dynamic processes of the shear-shoveling region and debris flow. After the shear failure occurred at a high-level position of rock, the rockslide moved for approximately 47 s downward along the valley with a maximum velocity of 35 m/s. This is a typical rapid and long run-out rockslide. Finally, this paper concludes that the identification of the potential geological hazards at the Wenchuan mountain area is crucial to prevent catastrophic rockslide triggered by heavy rainfall. The identified geological hazards should be properly considered in the town planning of the reconstruction works.


Wenchuan Ms 8.0 earthquake Heavy rainfall Rockslide Debris flow 



The authors express a gratitude to Professor Zhongqi Yue from Hong Kong University for his time on English editing of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yueping Yin
    • 1
  • Yuliang Cheng
    • 2
  • Jingtao Liang
    • 2
  • Wenpei Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.China Institute of Geo-Environmental MonitoringBeijingChina
  2. 2.Sichuan Geological SurveyChengduChina

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