24 July 2019
Shuicheng County: a very large, fatal landslide in Guizhou Province, China
A very large landslide occurred in Shuicheng County, in Liupanshui City, Guizhou in China on the evening of Tuesday 22nd July 2019. Xinhua is reporting that the known loss of life totals 13 people, but that about 32 further people remain missing. Eleven people have been rescued. In terms of losses this is the largest landslide of the 2019 Asian monsoon to date.
Xinhua estimates that the landslide has a volume of about 2 million cubic metres, which feels about right. The landslide appears to be primarily in deeply weathered regolith and soil rather than bedrock. Note the complex runout behaviour, which has followed existing drainage lines, leaving an island of unfailed material (with at least one building) in the middle of the slide.
There is a decent gallery of images from this landslide on the Caixin Global website. It includes this image of the upper regions of the landslide:-
In form this landslide resembles the May 2016 Aranayake landslide in Sri Lanka, which killed 127 people. In that case the landslide started as a comparatively small planar slide in the crown area, which then triggered failure and entrainment on the lower slopes. I would suggest that this might well be the case here.
The images appear to show the presence of reasonable amounts of water, although none of the reports that I have seen to date explicitly link the event to rainfall.
A further landslide occurred in Guizhou Province yesterday, in Hezhang County. This event is reported to have killed up to seven people.