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Integrated approach in studying rock and soil slope stability in a tropical and active tectonic country

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An integrated study on slope stability has been conducted in the high weathering zone of the tropical and active tectonic country, Indonesia. The research aims to introduce an integrated and comprehensive approach in studying the soil and rock slope stability. Geophysical methods, including two seismic refraction tomography (SRT) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) lines, were deployed to determine the slip zone of the landslide. Slope kinematic analysis and rock mass classification were performed on the slope surface for obtaining data of engineering geology combined with Standard Penetration Test (SPT) data collected next to the sloping road. The soil slope stability analysis was simulated by employing the Slope/W software to determine the factor of safety. The geophysical methods revealed three layers of rock and soil on top of the rock layer, showing the slip zone of the landslide. The kinematic analysis revealed the planar failure, which possibly occurred in Site B of Babarot—Gayo Lues road in Aceh Province due to the parallelism between slope and joint. The integrated data from the geophysical methods and in situ RMR indicate that the rock mass classification in sub-surface is classified as Very Good and Good Rock. It appears to be stable. The soil above the slope in sites A and B has 1.058 and 1.182 factor of safety, respectively; yet, it has less than 0.847, the factor of safety, when loaded by the earthquake and it is unstable.

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modified from Cameron et al. (1982)

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The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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The authors would like to deliver our higher appreciation to Alex Kaminsky for allowing us to use the ZONDST2D software for SRT. We are also grateful to Mr. Syafrizal, Mr. Muzakir, and all of the students helping the authors during data acquisition and also to World Class Professor (WCP) Program of Kemenristekdikti 2018.


Publication of this paper was made based on WCP Program in Universitas Syiah Kuala, Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education (RISTEKDIKTI) of Indonesia in 2018.

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IR, as data analysis on engineering geological data and manuscript preparation. TFF conducted rock and soil slope simulations and support on the interpretation of the results. NA and S, as geotechnical data analysis and interpretation. KI and EM as hydrologists for groundwater data analysis. KJ interpreted the seismic and geo-electrical data for slope stability.

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Correspondence to Ibnu Rusydy.

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Rusydy, I., Fathani, T.F., Al-Huda, N. et al. Integrated approach in studying rock and soil slope stability in a tropical and active tectonic country. Environ Earth Sci 80, 58 (2021).

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