28 September 2016

Rizhao rockslide: a narrow escape in a new public park in Shandong, China

Posted by dr-dave

Rizhao rockslide in Shangdong

The city of Rizhao in Shangdong, Eastern China has had an exceptionally lucky escape this week when a rockslide occurred in a new public park, shortly before it was due to open.  The location is Phoenix Mountain in the centre of the city; the Park was due to open “later this month”.  The rockslide itself is somewhat dramatic, as this image from The Nanfang shows:-

rizhao rockslide

The rockslide at Rizhao in Shandong, via The Nanfang

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A view of the rockslide from a different angle looks no less dramatic:

Rizhao rockslide

The rockslide at Rizhao in Shandong, via The Nanfang

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According to the article, this slope had been turned into a rock climbing facility, and the area to the right of the landslide shows evidence of extensive slope engineering.  I assume that this extended into the area that has failed, although  it is not possible to say what it looked like.  The failure itself appears to have been structurally controlled.  Note the very large boulder sizes.  Needless to say, if this landslide had occurred a month later the impact could have been very dramatic, with losses on the slope, in the park and in the parking area.  The article makes some interesting observations about cause:

Zhang Bao, director of Lanshan District emergency services, said a preliminary investigation has determined that the landslide was a natural phenomenon, and not man made. However, Zhang did not answer questions as to why the park facilities are located so close to the mountain, or if any studies or investigations were conducted prior to the construction of the rock climbing facility.

That is a courageous conclusion in an area that has clearly had extensive slope works.  Unfortunately as yet I have been unable to precisely locate this massif on Google Earth, so as yet cannot give an indication as to what this site was like before they works were undertaken.  My best guess (and it is no more than that) is that it is this site, the image is from last year:

Rizhao rockslide

Google Earth image of the possible location of the Rizhao rockslide