Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 191–202 | Cite as

Model test of the influence of cyclic water level fluctuations on a landslide

  • Chun-can He
  • Xin-li HuEmail author
  • Chu Xu
  • Shuang-shuang Wu
  • Han Zhang
  • Chang Liu


Many landslides in reservoir areas continuously deform under cyclic water level fluctuations due to reservoir operations. In this paper, a landslide model, developed for a typical colluvial landslide in the Three Gorges Reservoir area, is used to study the effect of cyclic water level fluctuations on the landslide. Five cyclic water level fluctuations were implemented in the test, and the fluctuation rate in the last two fluctuations doubled over the first three fluctuations. The pore water pressure and lateral landslide profiles were obtained during the test. A measurement of the landslide soil loss was proposed to quantitatively evaluate the influence of water level fluctuations. The test results show that the first water level rising is most negative to the landslide among the five cycles. The fourth drawdown with a higher drawdown rate caused further large landslide deformation. An increase of the water level drawdown rate is much more unfavorable to the landslide than an increase of the water level rising rate. In addition, the landslide was found to have an adaptive ability to resist subsequent water level fluctuations after undergoing large deformation during a water level fluctuation. The landslide deformation and observations in the field were found to support the test results well.


Reservoir landslide Cyclic water level fluctuations Physical model test Landslide soil loss Adaptive ability 


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This study was funded by the Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (41630643), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC1501302), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) (CUGCJ1701).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina

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