Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 463–471 | Cite as

Landslide and basin self-organized criticality in the Lushan Hot Spring area

  • Chien-Yuan ChenEmail author


Defining a basin under a critical state (or a self-organized criticality) that has the potential to initiate landslides, debris flows, and subsequent sediment disasters, is a key issue for disaster prevention. The Lushan Hot Spring area in Nantou County, Taiwan, suffered serious sediment disasters after typhoons Sinlaku and Jangmi in 2008, and following Typhoon Morakot in 2009. The basin’s internal slope instability after the typhoons brought rain was examined using the landslide frequency-area distribution. The critical state indices attributed to landslide frequency-area distribution are discussed and the marginally unstable characteristics of the study area indicated. The landslides were interpreted from Spot 5 images before and after disastrous events. The results of the analysis show that the power-law landslide frequency-area curves in the basin for different rainfall-induced events tend to coincide with a single line. The temporal trend of the rainfall-induced landslide frequency-area distribution shows 1/f noise and scale invariance. A trend exists for landslide frequency-area distribution in log-log space for larger landslides controlled by the historical maximum accumulated rainfall brought by typhoons. The unstable state of the basin, including landslides, breached dams, and debris flows, are parts of the basin’s self-organizing processes. The critical state of landslide frequency-area distribution could be estimated by a critical exponent of 1.0. The distribution could be used for future estimation of the potential landslide magnitude for disaster mitigation and to identify the current state of a basin for management.


Landslide Debris flow Power law Self-organized criticality 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bak P, Tang C, Wiesenfeld K (1988) Self-organized criticality. Physical Review A 38: 364–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bak P (1996) How nature works: The science of self-organized criticality. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  3. Bovis MJ, Jakob M (2000) The July 29, 1998, debris flow and landslide dam at Capricorn Creek, Mount Meager Volcanic Complex, southern Coast Mountains, British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 37: 1321–1334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. CGS (2008) Central Geology Survey of Chinese Taipei. Reconnaissance report for the Lushan hot spring area in Nantou County after Typhoon Sinlaku, 24 September. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  5. Chen CY, Yu FC, Lin SC, et al. (2007) Discussion of landslide self-organized criticality and the initiation of debris flow. Earth Surface Processes and Landform 32: 197–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen CY (2009) Sedimentary impacts from landslides in the Tachia River Basin, Taiwan. Geomorphology 105: 355–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen CY, Chen LK, Yu FC, et al. (2010) Landslides affecting sedimentary characteristics of reservoir basin. Environmental Earth Science 59: 1693–1702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coulthard TJ, Van De Wiel MJ (2007) Quantifying fluvial non linearity and finding self organized criticality? Insights from simulations of river basin evolution. Geomorphology 91: 216–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. CWB (Central Weather Bureau of Chinese Taipei) (2009) (Accessed on 2009-03-21)
  10. Crosta GB, Negro PD, Frattini P (2003) Soil slips and debris flows on terraced slopes. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 3: 31–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Evans M, Hastings N, Peacock JB (2000) Statistical Distributions (3rd ed.). John Wiley: New York. p 221.Google Scholar
  12. Fonstad M, Marcus WA (2003) Self-organized criticality in riverbank systems. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 93: 281–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Guzzetti F, Malamud BD, Turcotte DL, et al. (2002) Power-law correlations of landslide areas in central Italy. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 195: 169–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Guzzetti F, Reichenbach P, Cardinali M, et al. (2005) Probabilistic landslide hazard assessment at the basin scale. Geomorphology 72: 272–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hergarten S, Neugebauer H, (1998) Self organized criticality in a landslide model. Geophysics Research Letters 25: 801–804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hertgarten S, Neugebauer H (2000) Self-organized criticality in two-variable models. Physical Review E 61: 2382–2385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hergarten S (2002) Self-Organized Criticality in Earth Systems, Springer-Verlag, p 272.Google Scholar
  18. Janico DE, Longjas A, Batac R, et al. (2008) Avalanche statistics of driven granular slides in a miniature mound. Geophysical Research Letters 35: L19403, doi: 10.1029/2008GL035567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Korup O (2005) Geomorphic hazard assessment of landslide dams in South Westland, New Zealand: Fundamental problems and approaches. Geomorphology 66: 167–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Malamud BD, Turcotte DL, Guzzetti F, et al. (2004) Landslide inventories and their statistical properties. Earth Surface Process and Landforms 29: 687–711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pelletier JD, Malamud BD, Blodgett T, et al. (1997) Scaleinvariance of soil moisture variability and its implications for the frequency-size distribution of landslide. Engineering Geology 48: 255–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Phillips JD (1999) Divergence, convergence, and selforganization in landscapes. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 89: 466–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Piegari E, Cataudella V, Di Maio R, et al. (2006) A cellular automaton for the factor of safety field in landslides modeling. Geophysical Research Letters 33: 1403-1–1403-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Piegari E, Maio RD, Milano L (2009) Characteristic scales in landslide modelling. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics 16: 515–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stark CP, Hovius N (2001) The characterization of landslide size distributions. Geophysics Research Letters 28: 1091–1094.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. SWCB (2001) Soil and Water Conservation Bureau. Report of Typhoon Toraji-induced landslides investigation and satellite image interpretation. Industrial Technology Research Institute. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  27. TaiPower (2008) (Accessed on 2009-09-17)
  28. Taiwan Fire Agency, Chinese Taipei (2009) (Accessed on 2009-05-01) ai]Turcotte DL, Malamud BD, Guzzetti F, et al. (2002) Selforganization, the cascade model, and natural hazards. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 99: 2530–2537.Google Scholar
  29. Water Resources Agency (2008) Hydrological Yearbook of Chinese Taipei, part I-Rainfall. (Accessed on 2009-10-27)

Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Water Resources EngineeringTaiwan Chiayi UniversityChiayiChinese Taipei

Personalised recommendations