Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp 1412–1428 | Cite as

Earthquake-triggered landslides affecting a UNESCO Natural Site: the 2017 Jiuzhaigou Earthquake in the World National Park, China

  • Jiao Wang
  • Wen Jin
  • Yi-fei Cui
  • Wei-feng Zhang
  • Chun-hao Wu
  • Pasuto Alessandro


On August 8th, 2017, an Ms 7.0 magnitude earthquake occurred in Jiuzhaigou County, northern Sichuan Province, China. The Jiuzhaigou Valley World National Park was the most affected area due to the epicentre being located in the scenic area of the park. Understanding the distribution characteristics of landslides triggered by earthquakes to help protect the natural heritage sites in Jiuzhaigou Valley remains a scientific challenge. In this study, a relatively complete inventory of the coseismic landslides triggered by the earthquake was compiled through the interpretation of high-resolution images combined with a field investigation. The results indicate that coseismic landslides not only are concentrated in Rize Gulley, Danzu Gully and Zezhawa Gully in the study area but also occur in the front part of Shuzheng Gully along the road network (from the entrance of Jiuzhaigou Valley to Heye Village). The landslides predominantly occur on the east- and southeast-facing slopes in the study area, which is a result of the integrated action of the valley direction and fault movement direction. The back-slope effect and the slope structure caused the difference in coseismic landslide distribution within the three gullies (Danzu Gully, Rize Gully, and Zezhawa Gully) near the inferred fault. In addition, the topographic position index was used to analyse the impact of microlandforms on earthquake-triggered landslides by considering the effect of the slope angle. The study results reveal a higher concentration of landslides in the slope position class of the middle slope (30°-50°) in Jiuzhaigou Valley. These findings can provide scientific guidance for the protection of natural heritage sites and post-disaster reconstruction in Jiuzhaigou Valley.


Earthquake-triggered landslides Spatial distribution Landslide area ratio Slope position 


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This study has been financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41520104002), Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, CAS (Grant No. QYZDY-SSWDQC006) and International partnership program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. 131551KYSB20160002). The authors are also grateful for financial support from the Opening Fund of State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering (SKHL1609). Deep appreciation goes to Dr. Susmita and Dr. WU Sheng-nan for language proofreading of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface Process, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringThe Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong KongChina
  4. 4.Sino-Italian Laboratory on Geological and Hydrological HazardsChengduChina
  5. 5.National Research Council of Italy-Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological ProtectionPadovaItaly

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