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Natural Hazards

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 1667–1682 | Cite as

Thaw-induced slope failures and susceptibility mapping in permafrost regions of the Qinghai–Tibet Engineering Corridor, China

  • Fujun NiuEmail author
  • Jing Luo
  • Zhanju Lin
  • Minhao Liu
  • Guoan Yin
Original Paper

Abstract

With recent climatic warming and enhanced human activities, slope failures related to permafrost degradation are widespread along the Qinghai–Tibet Engineering Corridor. Assessment and mapping of the slope failures are necessary to mitigate hazards and plan engineering activities. According to our field investigations, the occurrence of slope failures is mainly controlled by the slope gradient, ground-ice content, permafrost temperatures, surficial deposits, and slope aspect. Modeling conducted in ArcGIS™ was used to produce a slope failure susceptibility map for a representative region along the Qinghai–Tibet Railway from Wudaoliang to Fenghuo Mountain Pass. The study region was divided into four classes based on slope failure susceptibility: (1) unlikely, (2) low, (3) moderate, and (4) high. Areas classified as unlikely accounted for 10.76 % of the study region, while low susceptibility areas comprised 44.51 %. The moderate and high susceptibility zones comprised 21.79 and 22.94 %, respectively. The actual distribution of slope failures in the region was consistent with the modeled results, which demonstrates the utility of the assessment method for future hazard management and engineering planning.

Keywords

Permafrost Slope failure Susceptibility assessment Qinghai–Tibet Plateau 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Western Project Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX2-XB3-19), State Key Program for Basic Research of China (Grant No. 2012CB026101), National Sci-Tech Support Plan (2014BAG05B05), and National Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41030741 and 41121061). The authors also extend their appreciation to Mr. Brendan O’Neill for his help in English editing, and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fujun Niu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jing Luo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Zhanju Lin
    • 1
  • Minhao Liu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Guoan Yin
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Highway Construction and Maintenance Technology in Permafrost Region, Ministry of TransportFirst Highway Consultants Co. Ltd. of China Communications Construction CompanyXi’anChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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