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The Varnes classification of landslide types, an update

Abstract

The goal of this article is to revise several aspects of the well-known classification of landslides, developed by Varnes (1978). The primary recommendation is to modify the definition of landslide-forming materials, to provide compatibility with accepted geotechnical and geological terminology of rocks and soils. Other, less important modifications of the classification system are suggested, resulting from recent developments of the landslide science. The modified Varnes classification of landslides has 32 landslide types, each of which is backed by a formal definition. The definitions should facilitate backward compatibility of the system as well as possible translation to other languages. Complex landslides are not included as a separate category type, but composite types can be constructed by the user of the classification by combining two or more type names, if advantageous.

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Acknowledgments

The initiative aimed at revising the landslide classification was launched in 2006 by the former Chair of JTC-1, Professor Robin Fell. He took an active part in early discussions that led to the drafting of this paper. The latest draft of the paper benefitted from constructive suggestions provided by M. Church, J. Corominas, D. Cruden, A.P. Dykes, H. Einstein, P. Flentje, F. Guadagno, W. Lacerda, V. Merrien-Soukatcheff, R. Poisel, K. Sassa, G. Scarascia-Mugnozza, S. Löw, A. Strom, K. Turner, H.N. Wong, and Y.P Yin. An Associate Editor and two reviewers provided further constructive comments.

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Hungr, O., Leroueil, S. & Picarelli, L. The Varnes classification of landslide types, an update. Landslides 11, 167–194 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10346-013-0436-y

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Keywords

  • Classification of landslides
  • Typology
  • Materials
  • Mechanisms
  • Engineering geology
  • Geotechnical engineering