, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1119–1130 | Cite as

Accumulation characteristics, mechanism, and identification of an ancient translational landslide in China

  • Yong Zhao
  • Mo XuEmail author
  • Jian Guo
  • Qiang Zhang
  • Hongmei Zhao
  • Xiaobing Kang
  • Qiang Xia
Original Paper


The fluctuation of the water level in a reservoir may induce various types of slope movements. Some of these movements are new, whereas others are old but reactivated. Many ancient landslide accumulations are distributed in the deep valleys of the eastern Qinghai–Tibet Plateau margin in China and will likely be reactivated after the completion of reservoirs and pose a risk to reservoirs, dams, facilities, and towns near mountainous areas. The Shuangjiaping ancient landslide, located in the Dadu River, Sichuan Province, China, is an example of this case. Since August 2010, the western part of the accumulation body has seen the gradual appearance of deformations. The Pubugou reservoir water level rises and inundates the front edge of the accumulation body, thus threatening the safety of the national highway G108 and 37 houses on it. This study is based on field work investigation, drilling work, aerial photography, and profile survey. The site-scale investigation shows that the deformation area is only a part of an ancient landslide accumulation, with an area of approximately 50.4 × 104 m2 and a volume of ca. 956 × 104 m3. Boundary and deposit characteristics of landslide accumulation are specified, which could be divided into four zones, namely, zones A and C, which are an avalanche accumulation area mainly composed of large blocks with diameter ranging from 1 to 3 m (some blocks have a diameter ranging from 5 to 10 m), zone B, a residual integrated rock mass accumulation area with “fake bedrock,” and zone D, a fine material accumulation area. A conceptual model is proposed to explain the mechanism and sliding process of this ancient landslide. The model includes translational sliding, stopping and hanging in air, avalanche accumulating, and transforming. The saltation of topography, material structure, and kinematic characteristics is the evidence used to identify the ancient landslide in deeply incised mountain areas. The current activity is found to be a surficial deposit displacement, and the whole landslide accumulation is stable or quasi-stable.


Reservoir Qinghai–Tibet Plateau Dadu River Accumulation characteristics Translational sliding Mechanism Identification 



We thank Wang Xuhong, Chengdu Institute of Survey, Design and Research, China Hydroelectric Adviser Group, for providing the opportunity to work on this landslide, especially these drilling data and aerial photographs. Full gratitude also goes to Professor Niek Rengers and the reviewers for their checking and revising for the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong Zhao
    • 1
  • Mo Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jian Guo
    • 1
  • Qiang Zhang
    • 1
  • Hongmei Zhao
    • 2
  • Xiaobing Kang
    • 1
  • Qiang Xia
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geoharzard Prevention and Geoenvironment ProtectionChengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina
  2. 2.Sichuan Research Academy of Environmental ScienceChengduChina

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