The “long” runout rock avalanche in Pusa, China, on August 28, 2017: a preliminary report
On August 28, 2017, a large rock avalanche occurred in Pusa, a village in the County of Nayong (Guizhou Province, China). About 500,000 m3 of rock detached from a mountain ridge, slid over debris from earlier landslides and buried several buildings. The rock mass, heavily fragmented, eventually formed a deposit of 800,000 m3, up to 4 m thick. Twenty-six fatalities and 9 people missing were reported. Based on site investigation, live footage, UAV photography, GBSAR monitoring, historical records and remote sensing imagery, we describe characteristics of failure and runout of the avalanche. Extensive coal mining under the slope had probably weakened and fractured the rock mass, enhancing climate-induced weathering. Failure was anticipated by cracks opening and minor rockfalls in the past decade, which intensified in the last rainy season.
KeywordsRock avalanche Landslide Long runout Failure mechanism Failure precursor
This research was financially supported by the National Science Fund for Outstanding Young Scholars of China (Grant No. 41622206), the Funds for Creative Research Groups of China (Grant No. 41521002), the Fund for International Cooperation (NSFC-RCUK_NERC) (Grant No.41661134010), the Guizhou Land Resources Department Fund, Landslide risk assessment in Guizhou. After the occurrence of the August 28, 2017, Pusa landslide, the State Council, the Ministry of Land and Resources and governmental departments at all levels in Guizhou Province put great efforts in the emergency rescue operations, secondary hazard relief and geological surveying and monitoring. The preliminary results presented in this paper would not be obtained without quick data acquisition, which was facilitated greatly by the efforts of staff members from different departments, to whom we express our sincere appreciation. We thank the Guizhou Geological Hazard Emergency Guidance Centre, the Guizhou Geological Environment Monitoring Institute, the No. 106 and No. 108 Geological brigades of the Guizhou Bureau of Coal Geology and other units for the basic data collection. We thank Prof. Xiuwei Liu and Dr. Yangchun Li from the Guizhou Geological Hazard Emergency Guidance Center, Prof. Guoxuan Zhao from the Guizhou Bureau of Coal Geology and Dr. Caiyuan Hu from the Guizhou Geological Environment Monitoring Institute for providing valuable information immediately after the event.
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