Geotechnical Aspects of 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, China

  • Ikuo Towhata
  • Yuan-Jun Jiang
Part of the Geotechnical, Geological and Earthquake Engineering book series (GGEE, volume 16)


The 2008 Wenchuan earthquake of China produced significant damage in the local community. Since the affected area was so vast, it became very difficult to apply previous experiences to the restoration of the community. The present paper concerns findings during technical visits to the damaged area and lessons for the future of the area. From the geotechnical viewpoints, this earthquake is characterized by many slope failures with a large range of size. Many landslide dams were formed as a consequence of big slope failures to be a threat to the downstream area. Smaller slope failures, that were much more in number, are important as well, because many local roads were destroyed by them and post-earthquake rescue and restoration activities were affected. It was interesting that different types of slope stabilization measures functioned to different extents, avoiding total collapse. Some retaining walls translated due to significant seismic earth pressure. Mountain slopes that were thus disturbed by strong seismic shaking will cause further problems in the coming decades. As have been experienced after big quakes at different places in the world, those slopes will produce further failures and debris flows, and affect safety of local communities and transportations. Finally, geotechnical problems other than slopes are discussed.


Debris Flow Wenchuan Earthquake Slope Failure Sichuan Province Sichuan Basin 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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