17 December 2018
Luopu Village: an interesting landslide triggered by a M=5.7 earthquake in Sichuan yesterday
At 12:46 pm local time yesterday (Sunday 16th December 2018) a shallow (12 km) M=5.7 earthquake struck Sichuan Province in China. This earthquake, which Xinhua reports had an epicentre at 28.24, 104.95, is not reported to have caused any loss of life, although at least 16 people were injured. At present the impact of the earthquake is unclear – it is likely to have caused damage over a comparatively small area, but ECNS has a very interesting image of a landslide apparently triggered by the earthquake:-
This appears to be a large rock topple, possibly with a sliding component (is there an inclined basal surface extending from the toe of the cliff?). Movement appears to have occurred in massive limestone blocks. The detachment surface at the rear of the landslide appears to be an existing joint, and is heavily weathered.
China News also tweeted a video taken in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, which appears to show the dust plume generated by a landslide:
It is not clear as to whether this is the same location as the landslide highlighted above. Later on the video also shows some substantial boulders blocking a rural road:-
Whilst widespread damage from n earthquake of this magnitude is unlikely, local high peak ground accelerations can occur. In an area with rugged terrain such as this, some landslides are probably inevitable.