Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 261–269 | Cite as

Multiphysics hillslope processes triggering landslides

  • Ronaldo I. Borja
  • Xiaoyu Liu
  • Joshua A. White
Research Paper


In 1996, a portion of a highly instrumented experimental catchment in the Oregon coast range failed as a large debris flow from heavy rain. For the first time, we quantify the 3-D multiphysical aspects that triggered this event, including the coupled sediment deformation-fluid flow processes responsible for mobilizing the slope failure. Our analysis is based on a hydromechanical continuum model that accounts for the loss of sediment strength due to increased saturation as well as the frictional drag exerted by the moving fluid. Our studies highlight the dominant role that bedrock topography and rainfall history played in defining the failure mechanism, as indicated by the location of the scarp zone that was accurately predicted by our 3-D continuum model.


Hillslopes Landslides Multiphysics Slope stability Unsaturated soil 



The authors are grateful to Drs. Keith Loague and Brian Ebel for numerous discussions pertaining to the CB1 catchment, and to the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive reviews. This work was supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) under Contract Numbers CMMI-0824440 and CMMI-0936421 to Stanford University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronaldo I. Borja
    • 1
  • Xiaoyu Liu
    • 1
  • Joshua A. White
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Computational Geosciences GroupLawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLivermoreUSA

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