Effect of Unsaturated Soil Properties on the Intensity-Duration Threshold for Rainfall Triggered Landslides

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Kenanoğlu M. B. , Ahmadi-Adli M., Toker N. K. , Huvaj N.

TEKNIK DERGI, vol.30, pp.9009-9027, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.18400/tekderg.414884
  • Title of Journal : TEKNIK DERGI
  • Page Numbers: pp.9009-9027
  • Keywords: Unsaturated soil, rainfall triggered landslide, intensity-duration threshold, soil water characteristic curve, suction, SHALLOW LANDSLIDES, SLOPE STABILITY, MODEL, PREDICTION


Rainfall triggered landslides are one of the most common natural hazards in many countries throughout the world, as well as in Turkey. This study investigates the effect of unsaturated soil properties on landslide-triggering rainfall intensity-duration threshold. In addition to the time to failure, the suction (negative pore water pressure) distribution in the slope, the shape and depth of the failure surface are also evaluated. Properties of soil-water characteristic curve which affect the distribution of suction in the soil in response to changes in water content are varied in a parametric study. Effects of air entry value (relates to particle size), desaturation rate (relates to uniformity of particle size distribution), saturated volumetric water content (relates to void ratio) and residual volumetric water content (relates to fines content and characteristics) are evaluated by determining the intensity-duration threshold numerically by carrying out infiltration and slope stability calculations, using finite element and limit equilibrium methods, respectively. The variation of unsaturated soil properties is found to significantly alter the landslide mechanism/the cause of failure (ranging from mere surface erosion to groundwater level rise in response to complete infiltration), and consequent intensity-duration thresholds for the same slope geometry. Among the parameters considered, air entry value appears to be the most influential parameter. The effects of the slope angle and initial moisture condition on threshold rainfall intensity-duration are also investigated. This study could be useful for creating the basis and mechanical understanding for future research on early warning systems for rainfall triggered landslides.