Characteristics and formation mechanism of the July 25, 2013, Tianshui group-occurring geohazards

Original Article


A field investigation was conducted for the group-occurring mountain torrent geohazards that took place on July 25, 2013, in Tianshui City, China. The formation causes, range, development characteristics, and distribution laws of these geohazards were systematically revealed. In addition, a three-dimensional dynamic numerical continuum model was established to simulate the motion characteristics of the typical landslides in Tianshui City. The field investigation and simulation results show that the mountain torrent geohazards that occurred on July 25, 2013, had five major characteristics: universality and evident group occurrence, local outbreak, strong concealment, considerable potential damage, and a significant hazard chain mode. The hazards’ intensity was aggravated by the superposition effects of intense rainfall and earthquakes. Most of the landslide-prone slopes in these geohazards had a concave geometry. The landslides occurred mainly within a slope gradient range of 35°–45°; the most common slope angle was 40°. The loess landslides had a narrow-strip shape and ranged in width from several meters to 10 m and in length from 10 s of meters to 100 s of meters. These landslides were relatively small scale, with volumes from 10 to 100 s of cubic meters. The mean velocity, frontal velocity, total kinetic energy, and total potential energy of the typical landslide masses all increased sharply during the downslope motion and decreased gradually in the deposition zone. Entrainment was a very important factor in these landslide events, as it caused the mass of the hazard bodies to increase; the increased mass, together with a high motion velocity (30 m/s), enhanced the destructiveness of the hazard bodies.


Group-occurring geohazards Development characteristic Disaster formation mechanism Tianshui City 



This research was funded and supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos: 41530640, 41330858, 41302224) and the Sha’anxi Province Science and Technology Research and Development Program of China (Grant No: 2014KJXX-20). We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions in improving the manuscript. We thank LetPub ( for its linguistic assistance during the preparation of this manuscript.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory Base of Eco-hydraulic Engineering in AreaXi’an University of TechnologyXi’anChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for Geo-hazards in Loess Area, Ministry of Land and Resources, Xi’an Center of Geological SurveyChina Geological SurveyXi’anChina

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