, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 649–659 | Cite as

Experimental and numerical investigations of a catastrophic long-runout landslide in Zhenxiong, Yunnan, southwestern China

  • Yueping Yin
  • Aiguo XingEmail author
  • Gonghui Wang
  • Zhen Feng
  • Bin Li
  • Yao Jiang
Original Paper


On 11 January 2013, a catastrophic landslide of ∼0.2 million m3 due to a prolonged low-intensity rainfall occurred in Zhenxiong, Yunnan, southwestern China. This landslide destroyed the village of Zhaojiagou and killed 46 people in the distal part of its path. The displaced landslide material traveled a horizontal distance of ∼800 m with a vertical drop of ∼280 m and stopped at 1520 m a.s.l. To examine the possible mechanism and behavior of the landslide from initiation to runout, the shear behavior of soil samples collected from the sliding surface and runout path was examined by means of ring shear tests. The test results show that the shear strength of sample from the sliding surface is less affected by shear rate while the shear rate has a negative effect on the shear strength of runout path material. It is suggested that the source and runout path materials follow the frictional and Voellmy rheology, respectively. Post-failure behavior of the landslide was modeled by using a DAN-W model, and the numerical results show that the selected rheological relationships and parameters based on the results of ring shear tests may provide good performance in modeling the Zhenxiong landslide.


Long-runout Ring shear tests Shear behavior Post-failure behavior Numerical modeling DAN-W model 



This study was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (No. 2012BAK10B01) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41272382 and 41372332). We are grateful to Prof. O. Hungr for supplying a copy of the DAN-W software.


  1. Boultbee N (2005) Characterization of the Zymoetz River rock avalanche, M.Sc. thesis. Simon Fraser University, BurnabyGoogle Scholar
  2. Bromhead EN (1992) Stability of slopes, 2nd edn. Surrey University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen H, Lee CF (2003) A dynamic model for rainfall-induced landslides on natural slopes. Geomorphology 51(4):269–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crosta GB, Imposimato S, Roddeman DG (2003) Numerical modeling of large landslides stability and runout. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 3(6):523–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Denlinger RP, Iverson RM (2004) Granular avalanches across irregular three-dimensional terrain: 1. Theory and computation. J Geophys Res Earth Surf 109(F1):1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Evans SG, Hungr O, Clague JJ (2001) Dynamics of the 1984 rock avalanche and associated distal debris flow on Mount Cayley, British Columbia, Canada; implications for landslide hazard assessment on dissected volcanoes. Eng Geol 61:29–51Google Scholar
  7. Huang Y, Zhang WJ, Xu Q, Xie P, Hao L (2012) Run-out analysis of flow-like landslides triggered by the Ms 8.0 2008 Wenchuan earthquake using smoothed particle hydrodynamics. Landslides 9(2):275–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hungr O (1995) A model for the runout analysis of rapid flow slides, debris flows, and avalanches. Can Geotech J 32(4):610–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hungr O (2009) Numerical modeling of the motion of rapid, flow-like landslides for hazard assessment. KSCE J Civ Eng 13(4):281–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ishihara K (1993) Liquefaction and flow failure during earthquakes. Geotechnique 43(3):349–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Liu W, He SM, Li XB, Xu Q (2015) Two-dimensional landslide dynamic simulation based on a velocity-weakening friction law. Landslides. doi: 10.1007/s10346-015-0632-z Google Scholar
  12. McDougall S, Hungr O (2004) A model for the analysis of rapid landslide motion across three-dimensional terrain. Can Geotech J 41(6):1084–1097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Pastor M, Blanc T, Haddad B, Petrone S, Sanchez Morles M, Drempetic V, IssIer D, Crosta GB, Cascini L, Sorbino G, Cuomo S (2014) Application of a SPH depth-integrated model to landslide run-out analysis. Landslides 11:793–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pirulli M, Mangeney A (2008) Results of back-analysis of the propagation of rock avalanches as a function of the assumed rheology. Rock Mech Rock Eng 41(1):59–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Poisel R, Preh A, Hungr O (2008) Run out of landslides-continuum mechanics versus discontinuum mechanics models. Geomech Tunnelling 1(5):358–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pudasaini SP, Miller SA (2013) The hypermobility of huge landslides and avalanches. Eng Geol 157:124–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Saito R, Sassa K, Fukuoka H (2007) Effects of shear rate on the internal friction angle of silica sand and bentonite mixture samples. J Jpn Landslide Soc 44(1):33–38 (in Japanese)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Sassa K (1988) Geotechnical model for the motion of landslides. In: Proc. 5th International Symposium on Landslides, “landslides”, vol 1. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 37–56Google Scholar
  19. Sassa K, Fukuoka H, Wang GH, Ishikawa N (2004) Undrained dynamic-loading ring-shear apparatus and its application to landslide dynamics. Landslides 1(1):7–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sassa K, Nagai O, Solidum R, Yamazaki Y, Ohta H (2010) An integrated model simulating the initiation and motion of earthquake and rain induced rapid landslides and its application to the 2006 Leyte landslide. Landslides 7(3):219–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Savage SB, Hutter K (1989) The motion of a finite mass of granular material down a rough incline. J Fluid Mech 199:177–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sladen JA, D’Hollander RD, Krahn J (1985) The liquefaction of sands, a collapse surface approach. Can Geotech J 22(4):564–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tika TE, Vaughan PR, Lemos L (1996) Fast shearing of pre-existing shear zone in soil. Geotechnique 46(2):197–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tiwari B, Marui H (2004) Objective oriented multistage ring shear test for shear strength of landslide soil. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 130(2):217–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Vaid YP, Chung EKF, Kuerbis RH (1990) Stress path and steady state. Can Geotech J 27:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wang GH, Sassa K (2003) Pore-pressure generation and movement of rainfall-induced landslides: effects of grain size and fine-particle content. Eng Geol 69(1-2):109–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wang GH, Sassa K, Fukuoka H, Tada T (2007) Experimental study on the shearing behaviour of saturated silty soils based on ring-shear tests. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 133(3):319–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wang GH, Suemine A, Schulz WH (2010) Shear-rate-dependent strength control on the dynamics of rainfall-triggered landslides, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. Earth Surf Process Landf 35(4):407–416Google Scholar
  29. Wang GH, Suemine A, Zhang FY, Hata Y, Fukuoka H, Kamai T (2014) Some long-runout landslides triggered by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Geomorphology 208:11–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Xing AG, Wang GH, Li B, Jiang Y, Feng Z, Kamai T (2015a) Long runout mechanism and landsliding behaviour of a large catastrophic landslide triggered by a heavy rainfall in Guanling, Guizhou, China. Can Geotech J 52(7):971–981CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Xing AG, Wang GH, Yin YP, Tang C, Xu ZM, Li WL (2015b) Investigation and dynamic analysis of a catastrophic rock avalanche on September 23, 1991, Zhaotong, China. Landslides. doi: 10.1007/s10346-015-0617-y Google Scholar
  32. Xu Q, Fan XM, Dong XJ (2012) Characteristics and formation mechanism of a catastrophic rainfall–induced rock avalanche–mud flow in Sichuan, China, 2010. Landslides 9(1):143–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yin YP, Sun P, Zhu JL, Yang SY (2011) Research on catastrophic rock avalanche at Guanling, Guizhou, China. Landslides 8(4):517–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yin YP, Cheng YL, Liang JT, Wang WP (2015) Heavy-rainfall-induced catastrophic rockslide-debris flow at Sanxicun, Dujiangyan, after the Wenchuan Ms 8.0 earthquake. Landslides. doi: 10.1007/s10346-015-0554-9 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yueping Yin
    • 1
  • Aiguo Xing
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gonghui Wang
    • 3
  • Zhen Feng
    • 4
  • Bin Li
    • 4
  • Yao Jiang
    • 3
  1. 1.China Institute of Geo-Environment MonitoringBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Ocean EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Research Center on Landslides, Disaster Prevention Research InstituteKyoto UniversityUjiJapan
  4. 4.Institute of GeomechanicsChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations