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A Late Pleistocene river-damming landslide, Minjiang River, China

  • L. Z. Wu
  • D. J. ZhaoEmail author
  • J. D. Zhu
  • J. B. Peng
  • Y. Zhou
Recent Landslides


An ancient, large-scale, river-damming landslide in Koushan Village, Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, located in the upstream of the Minjiang River, had a large influence on the valley evolution of the Minjiang River. Our investigation estimated that the landslide volume was 1.5 billion m3. The elevation of the scarp is 2700 m, 1000 m above the present accumulation of the landslide. The residual dam is comparatively complete, with calcium cementation. The highest point of the dam is 221 m higher than the Minjiang River. The dammed lake extends for 38 km and reaches as far as Maoxian County. The investigation results indicate that an earthquake was probably the main cause of the landslide. The damming mechanism was associated with rock avalanches. These rock avalanches subsequently blocked the Minjiang River. The dam exhibits multi-stage breaching, which can be divided into overflow erosion and rapid cutting stages. The 14C dating results indicate that the landslide occurred at least 22,000 years ago and that the dam was breached at least 11,700 years ago.


Koushan ancient landslide River-damming landslide Dam breach Minjiang River 



The research reported in this paper was supported by the Funds for the Major Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41790441), the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2018YFC1504702), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41672282), and the State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment Prevention Independent Research Project (No. SKLGP2017Z003).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment ProtectionChengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina
  2. 2.College of Earth ScienceChengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina
  3. 3.College of Geological Engineering and GeomaticsChang’an UniversityXi’anChina

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