A Model for Low-Drag Landslides

by Dagang Zhang, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,
Mostafa A. Foda, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,

Abstract: Field observations and experimental records indicate that the primary mode of motion of many large landslides is that of sliding rather than flowing. Most of the shear during sliding is concentrated at the base of the slide, with little or no mixing taking place away from the base. This sliding motion may generate strong pressure waves at the interface between the quasi-static deforming granular mass and the grain-inertia dominated rapid granular flow, thus inducing a Kelvin-Helmholtz type instability mechanism for large landslides. The generated instability waves will force favorable phase shifts between the overburden pressure and the sliding velocity, leading to a net reduction in the total power loss due to friction. The analysis confirms field observation that a large sliding granular mass can deposit in a very long and thin layer such that the nose moves through a surprisingly long distance.

Subject Headings: Wave pressure | Granular materials | Landslides | Wave velocity | Dynamic pressure | Motion (dynamics) | Sliding effects | Wave generation

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