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Failure characteristics and mechanism of a rain-triggered landslide in the northern longwall of Fushun west open pit, China


A rainfall-induced landslide occurred in the north highwall of the Fushun west open pit at 5:00 (UTC + 8) on July 26, 2016, in China. The landslide was about 3.1 × 106 m3 and caused considerable destruction of houses, roads, and railways. Field investigations, laboratory tests, and numerical analyses have been performed to explore the failure characteristics and formation mechanism of the landslide. The landslide was divided into three parts: the crack area, the sliding body area, and the accumulation area. The X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscope techniques were used to reveal the mineral composition and microstructure of the landslide material. Then, a conceptual model of the landslide mechanism was constructed and the process of the landslide was divided into four stages: unloading and cracking stage; sliding and partial locking stage; shearing out and failure stage; and flowing and accumulating stage. A combined seepage and stability analysis was performed to explore the mechanism of the landslide by numerical simulation. The relationship of volumetric water content and hydraulic conductivity to matric suction was established to describe the hydraulic characteristics of the slope material under infiltration. The results show that the maximum matric suction in the slope decreases continually with the increase of rainfall intensity and duration, and the north highwall will not be stable after 7.2 h for 16 mm/h of rainfall. The original slope was stable and heavy rainfall triggered the landslide, and the obtained critical failure surface matched the field survey closely. The findings improved understanding of the failure mechanism and process of rainfall-induced landslides may be used for evaluating the stability of slopes and early identification for both active and inactive open-pit mines.

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This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Plan (No. 2017YFC1503103) and the National Natural Science Fund of China (No. 51574245) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2021YJSNY16). We would like to express our gratitude to the editors and reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments.


Shu-wei Sun was supported by the National Key Research and Development Plan (no. 2017YFC1503103) and the National Natural Science Fund of China (no. 51574245) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2021YJSNY16).

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All authors contributed to this study. Shu-wei Sun designed the research study. Shu-wei Sun and Liu Liu analyzed the field data. Shu-wei Sun and Liu Liu wrote this paper. Jia-bing Hu and Hui Ding reviewed the manuscript. All authors gave final approval for publication.

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Correspondence to Liu Liu.

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Sun, Sw., Liu, L., Hu, Jb. et al. Failure characteristics and mechanism of a rain-triggered landslide in the northern longwall of Fushun west open pit, China. Landslides (2022).

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  • Rainfall-induced landslides
  • Open-pit slope
  • Fushun west opencast
  • Failure mechanism
  • Transient seepage analysis
  • Slope stability analysis