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See detailGeophysical investigation and numerical modelling of unstable slopes: case-study of Kainama (Kyrgyzstan)
Danneels, Gaëlle ULg; Bourdeau, Céline ULg; Torgoev, I. et al

in Geophysical Journal International (2008), 175

The presence of massive Quaternary loess units at the eastern border of the Fergana Basin (Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia) makes this area particularly prone to the development of catastrophic loess earthflows ... [more ▼]

The presence of massive Quaternary loess units at the eastern border of the Fergana Basin (Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia) makes this area particularly prone to the development of catastrophic loess earthflows, causing damages and injuries almost every year. Efficient disaster management requires a good understanding of the main causes of these mass movements, that is, increased groundwater pressure and seismic shaking. This paper focuses on the Kainama earthflow, mainly composed of loess, which occurred in 2004 April. Its high velocity and the long run-out zone caused the destruction of 12 houses and the death of 33 people. In summer 2005, a field survey consisting of geophysical and seismological measurements was carried out along the adjacent slope. By combination and geostatistical analysis of these data, a reliable 3-D model of the geometry and properties of the subsurface layers, as shown in the first part of the paper, was created. The analysis of the seismological data allowed us to point out a correlation between the thickness of the loess cover and the measured resonance frequencies and associated amplification potential. The second part of this paper is focused on the study of the seismic response of the slope by numerical simulations, using a 2-D finite difference code named FLAC.Modelling of the seismic amplification potential along the slope confirmed the results obtained from the seismological survey—strong amplifications at the crest and bottom of the slope where there is a thick loess cover and almost no amplification in the middle part of the slope. Furthermore, dynamic slope stability analyses were conducted to assess the influence of local amplifications and increased groundwater pressures on the slope failure. The results of the dynamic modelling, although preliminary, show that a combination of seismic and hydrologic origin (pore pressure build-up during the seismic shaking) is the most probable scenario responsible for the 2004 failure. [less ▲]

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See detailSite effects modelling applied to the slope affected by the Suusamyr earthquake (Kyrgyzstan, 1992)
Bourdeau, Céline ULg; Havenith, Hans-Balder ULg

in Engineering Geology (2008), 97

In 1992, a large magnitude earthquake (Ms=7.3) hit the northern part of the Kyrgyz Tien Shan range where it triggered rockslides and many debris slides or flows. One of these mass movements occurred on ... [more ▼]

In 1992, a large magnitude earthquake (Ms=7.3) hit the northern part of the Kyrgyz Tien Shan range where it triggered rockslides and many debris slides or flows. One of these mass movements occurred on the Chet–Korumdy ridge located in the Suusamyr Basin. It consists of a multi-rotational debris slump in its upper part that turned into a debris flow in its lower part. Involving arenitic material overlying silty clays, it has a volume of about 0.5 to 1.106 m3, a maximum thickness of 40mand a run-out of 200 m. The field observations and measurements carried out on this slope suggest that local amplification effects could have contributed to the initiation of the seismic failure. To test this hypothesis in the lack of instrumental evidence of local ground-motion recordings, we conducted a sensitivity study of site effects based on a numerical analysis in the visco-elastic domain with a twodimensional finite difference code. Varying the topography and the geology of the investigated slope, topographic site effects are found to be less important than geological site effects which are controlled by the contrast of impedance between the surface materials and the bedrock. The geometry of the low-velocity surface layer has also an influence on site effects, which is often difficult to be distinguished from pure topographic effects. Considering all modelling results, we conclude that site amplifications alone cannot have triggered the Suusamyr landslide during the 1992 earthquake. The static slope stability analyses done in previous studies revealed that the Suusamyr failure neither can have a purely static origin. Even if the water table is very high within the arenite layer, only a minor failure develops in the lower part of the slope. Therefore, we believe that the triggering of the Suusamyr landslide is a consequence of pore pressure build up in areas characterized by significant ground-motion amplifications. [less ▲]

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See detailNumerical modelling of seismic slope stability
Bourdeau, Céline ULg; Havenith, Hans-Balder ULg; Fleurisson, J. A. et al

in Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences (2004), 104

Earthquake ground-motions recorded worldwide have shown that many morphological and geological structures (topography, sedimentary basin) are prone to amplify the seismic shaking (San Fernando, 1971 ... [more ▼]

Earthquake ground-motions recorded worldwide have shown that many morphological and geological structures (topography, sedimentary basin) are prone to amplify the seismic shaking (San Fernando, 1971 [Davis and West 1973] Irpinia, 1980 [Del Pezzo et al. 1983]). This phenomenon, called site effects, was again recently observed in El Salvador when, on the 13th of January 2001, the country was struck by a M=7.6 earthquake. Indeed, while horizontal accelerations on a rock site at Berlin, 80 km from the epicentre, did not exceed 0.23 g, they reached 0.6 g at Armenia, 110 km from the epicentre. Armenia is located on a small hill underlaid by a few meters thick pyroclastic deposits. Both the local topography and the presence of surface layers are likely to have caused the observed amplification effects, which are supposed to have contributed to the triggering of some of the hundreds of landslides related to this seismic event (Murphy et al. 2002). In order to better characterize the way site effects may influence the triggering of landslides along slopes, 2D numerical elastic and elasto-plastic models were developed. Various geometrical, geological and seismic conditions were analysed and the dynamic behaviour of the slope under these conditions was studied in terms of creation and location of a sliding surface. Preliminary results suggest that the size of modelled slope failures is dependent on site effects. [less ▲]

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