Discrete element modeling of the Hongshiyan landslide triggered by the 2014 Ms 6.5 Ludian earthquake in Yunnan, China

  • Wei Chao LiEmail author
  • Gang Deng
  • Wen Cao
  • Chong Xu
  • Jian Chen
  • Min Lee Lee
Original Article


The Hongshiyan landslide was triggered by the Ms 6.5 Ludian earthquake in 2014 with more than 1200 × 104 m3 of rocks displaced. The landslide deposited entirely on the valley floor, and the landslide dam was eventually converted to a hydraulic structure for a permanent disposal. Despite the importance of material compositions to the slope stability and internal stability of a landslide dam, it was practically not viable and costly to explore the deeply buried materials in field. A 2D discrete element modeling (PFC2D code) was performed in this study to investigate the kinematic behavior of the Hongshiyan landslide. The study aims to provide insights into the material compositions of the landslide dam for future stability evaluations. The simulation results showed that for the landslide sitting in a deep V-shaped valley with constrained movement and steep slip surface gradient, the kinematic behavior was more sensitive to the bond strength (strength of intact rock mass) than the residual friction coefficient (residual friction of detached rock mass). The simulation results also suggested that the rock blocks were scarcely decomposed during sliding, as the material compositions of the landslide dam was primarily controlled by the development of joints and fissures prior to the failure.


Earthquake-triggered landslide Landslide dam Discrete element method Kinematic behavior Hongshiyan landslide Ludian Earthquake 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial supports from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grants 2018YFC1505004 and 2017YFC0404803), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 41571012), and State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin (SKL2018ZY09).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Chao Li
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gang Deng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wen Cao
    • 3
  • Chong Xu
    • 4
  • Jian Chen
    • 5
  • Min Lee Lee
    • 6
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River BasinBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Geotechnical EngineeringChina Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower ResearchBeijingChina
  3. 3.Tianjin Urban Construction Design InstituteTianjinChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Active Tectonics and VolcanoInstitute of Geology, China Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  5. 5.School of Engineering and TechnologyChina University of Geosciences (Beijing)BeijingChina
  6. 6.Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Science and EngineeringUniversity of Nottingham MalaysiaSelangorMalaysia

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