5 January 2015

Erlang village, Guizhou: a deadly rockslide in China

Posted by Dave Petley

Erlang Village, Xishui County, Guizhou

The Chinese media is reporting that a large rockslide occurred at Erlang Village in Xishui County within Guizhou Province in SW China.  The landslide reportedly occurred at 3:40 pm on Sunday, covering a major highway that links Chengdu and Zunyi City in Guizhou.  It is known that at least 3 people have been killed, but search efforts continue in the fear that there may be further vehicles buried beneath the debris.

The best overview of the landslide, which reportedly has a volume of 80,000 cubic metres, that I have found to date is on the Now News website (in Chinese):


Whilst the image is not particularly good, this looks to be about as good an example of a rockslide on a pre-existing discontinuity (bedding plane?) as you are ever likely to see.

CRI English has some rather better images of the aftermath:




The difficulty of recovering the potentially-buried victims is easy to appreciate.  My suspicion is that the concrete structures seen in the images are the grid works associated with rockbolts or ground anchors, in place to stabilise the slope.  If so then these works have not been successful, so it would be interesting to know why this slope failure has occurred.