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Comparison of the landslides triggered by the 2013 Lushan earthquake with those triggered by the strong 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in areas with high seismic intensities

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The epicenters of the 2013 Lushan earthquake and the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake were both in the Longmen Mountains, in areas with similar geographical, geological, and geomorphological conditions. However, there are some differences between the landslides triggered by the two earthquakes. Correlations between the occurrence of landslides and geological parameters such as the distance from the seismogenic fault, seismic intensity, elevation, and lithology were analyzed with the aid of field investigations. Firstly, more landslides were triggered by each earthquake close to the seismogenic fault and in areas with higher seismic intensities, although there were also obvious differences between the landslides generated by the two earthquakes. Secondly, the earthquakes showed different correlations between the number of landslides and elevation, and this difference was closely related to the effects of seismic amplification and peak ground acceleration. Nevertheless, the effect of seismic amplification during the Lushan earthquake was not significant at elevations of >2,000 m due to a reduction in earthquake magnitude at such elevations. Thirdly, there was no obvious correlation between the number of landslides and the age of the rock (young or old lithology) for each earthquake. Indeed, differences between the distributions of landslides across different lithologies were actually due to the coincidental clustering of young or old strata around the rupture zone of the seismogenic fault; these rock masses were extremely fractured and they underwent strong shaking. Finally, the author hopes that the results of the present research will aid further research into the landslides triggered by the two earthquakes.

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This work was funded by the China Geological Survey, and supported by the Opening Fund of Key Laboratory of Western Mineral Resources and Geological Engineering of Ministry of Education (Chang’an University) (no. 2013G1502008). I thank Yibi Zhao, Tianyu Liu, Jiangbing Guan, Haokun Qin, Ning Zhang, Wei Yao, Zhixu Wang, Jie Gao, Jianping Zhou, Jianzhong Ma, Bo Zhang, and Jidong Guo for their field work in Lushan County, Baoxing County and Tianquan County shortly after the earthquake. I also thank LetPub for its linguistic assistance during the preparation of this manuscript. Finally, I would like to thank the Editor-in-Chief Martin and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

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Correspondence to Genlong Wang.

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Wang, G. Comparison of the landslides triggered by the 2013 Lushan earthquake with those triggered by the strong 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in areas with high seismic intensities. Bull Eng Geol Environ 74, 77–89 (2015).

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