Transient water and sediment storage of the decaying landslide dams induced by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, China

Xuanmei Fan*, Cees J. van Westen, Oliver Korup, Tolga Gorum, Qiang Xu, Fuchu Dai, Runqiu Huang, Gonghui Wang

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Özet

Earthquake-triggered landslide dams are potentially dangerous disrupters of water and sediment flux in mountain rivers, and capable of releasing catastrophic outburst flows to downstream areas. We analyze an inventory of 828 landslide dams in the Longmen Shan mountains, China, triggered by the M w 7.9 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. This database is unique in that it is the largest of its kind attributable to a single regional-scale triggering event: 501 of the spatially clustered landslides fully blocked rivers, while the remainder only partially obstructed or diverted channels in steep watersheds of the hanging wall of the Yingxiu-Beichuan Fault Zone. The size distributions of the earthquake-triggered landslides, landslide dams, and associated lakes (a) can be modeled by an inverse gamma distribution; (b) show that moderate-size slope failures caused the majority of blockages; and (c) allow a detailed assessment of seismically induced river-blockage effects on regional water and sediment storage. Monte Carlo simulations based on volumetric scaling relationships for soil and bedrock failures respectively indicate that 14% (18%) of the estimated total coseismic landslide volume of 6.4 (14.6)×10 9m 3 was contained in landslide dams, representing only 1.4% of the >60,000 slope failures attributed to the earthquake. These dams have created storage capacity of ~0.6×10 9m 3 for incoming water and sediment. About 25% of the dams containing 2% of the total river-blocking debris volume failed one week after the earthquake; these figures had risen to 60% (~20%), and >90% (>90%) within one month, and one year, respectively, thus also emptying ~92% of the total potential water and sediment storage behind these dams within one year following the earthquake. Currently only ~0.08×10 9m 3 remain available as natural reservoirs for storing water and sediment, while ~0.19×10 9m 3, i.e. about a third of the total river-blocking debris volume, has been eroded by rivers. Dam volume and upstream catchment area control to first order the longevity of the barriers, and bivariate domain plots are consistent with the observation that most earthquake-triggered landslide dams were ephemeral. We conclude that the river-blocking portion of coseismic slope failures disproportionately modulates the post-seismic sediment flux in the Longmen Shan on annual to decadal timescales.

Orijinal dilİngilizce
Sayfa (başlangıç-bitiş)58-68
Sayfa sayısı11
DergiGeomorphology
Hacim171-172
DOI'lar
Yayın durumuYayınlandı - 15 Eki 2012
Harici olarak yayınlandıEvet

Finansman

This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of the People's Republic of China ( 41130745 ), in collaboration with the United Nations University – ITC School for Disaster Geo-Information Management, University of Twente, The Netherlands . O. Korup acknowledges support by the German Research Foundation (Heisenberg Program) . Helpful comments by David Alexander, Niels Hovius, and several anonymous reviewers improved earlier drafts. We thank Dr. Yijian Zeng, ITC, for his support on the size–frequency analysis, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), GeoEye foundation, and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for providing data.

FinansörlerFinansör numarası
ITC School for Disaster Geo-Information Management, University of Twente
National Natural Science Foundation of the People's Republic of China41130745
United Nations University
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science23380084, 21403002

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