, Volume 15, Issue 12, pp 2357–2372 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal analysis of a fatal landslide inventory in China from 1950 to 2016

  • Qigen Lin
  • Ying Wang
Original Paper


Landslides result in severe casualties every year in China. However, there are few historical fatal landslide catalogs available to quantitatively assess the impact as well as the temporal and spatial patterns of landslides. The Fatal Landslide Event Inventory of China (FLEIC), which spans from 1950 to 2016, was compiled based on multiple data sources. The inventory contains 1911 non-seismically triggered landslides, which resulted in a total of 28,139 deaths in China during 1950–2016. The occurrence frequency of fatal landslides presented significantly different trends for different grades of events. Very large fatal landslide events (fatalities > = 30) were on the rise during 1950–1999 and declined from 2000 to 2016. The decreasing trend after 2000 can be attributed to the increase in landslide mitigation investments. The small and medium-sized fatal landslide events (fatalities < 10) showed a significant increasing trend between 1950 and 2016, especially during the period of 2000–2016. This significant increasing trend is partly due to the improvement of the availability of landslide data online and may also be related to other factors including an increase in extreme precipitation events, the effects of land urbanization, and so on. This suggested that the inherent incompleteness of the landslide time series should be considered when analyzing. The fatal landslides mainly occurred between April and September (82.15%), which is consistent with the monthly precipitation variation in China. Spatially, most of the fatal landslides occurred in 14 provinces: five southwestern provinces (Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Guizhou, and Chongqing), five southeastern provinces (Hunan, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang), Shaanxi and Shanxi, Hubei and Gansu. These 14 provinces account for 86% of the total fatal landslides and their associated fatalities. The spatial association between the fatal landslide density and possible influencing factors was assessed based on a geographical detector method. The results showed that the interacting factors between the precipitation and topography, soil, lithology, vegetation and population density are more closely related to the spatial distribution of fatal landslides than each individual factor.


Fatal landslide Inventory Spatiotemporal patterns China Geographical detector method 



This work was supported primarily by the National Key Research and Development Program of China [No. 2016YFA0602403, No. 2017YFC1502505] and the National Natural Science Funds [41271544]. Acknowledgement for the data support from “National Earth System Science Data Sharing Infrastructure, National Science & Technology Infrastructure of China. (” and Data Center for Resources and Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (RESDC). Finally, we would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers and the handing editor for their valuable comments and suggestions, which helped to improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10346_2018_1037_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (34 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 34 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster of Ministry of EducationBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource EcologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency ManagementBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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