21 January 2011
A symposium on seismically-induced landslides to mark the third anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake
Posted by Dave Petley
The 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China remains the defining landslide event of the last three decades. To commemorate this event, the State Key Laboratory of Geo-hazard Prevention (SKLGP) at the Chengdu University of Technology are organising a symposium entitled:
An International Symposium on Earthquake Induced Landslides and Disaster Mitigation at the 3rd Anniversary of the Wenchuan Earthquake
This will take place in Chengdu, China from 11th to 15th May 2011, including two days of presentations and two days of field excursions to the earthquake-affected areas. Abstracts are due on 10th March 2011. Further details are available from: [email protected] or from the pdf linked here: 11_01 Chengdu conference
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Field work in California’s Coast Range and Transverse Range constantly brings me to locations where massive deep-seated landslides have literally moved mountains in the past several thousand years. These features are much more massive than any landslides that have occurred during our embarrassingly brief “historical” times. Nothing like them has occurred during abnormally wet rainy seasons, and nothing like them has occurred during our most severe earthquakes. After much research and pondering I have come to the conclusion (theory) that these massive deep-seated slope failures most likely occurred during those rare combinations of events when a strong earthquake occurs at the same time that groundwater levels are elevated by unusually intense rainstorm events.
As I mentioned, California’s historical record is quite short. Perhaps in a region with longer historical records this theory could be tested.