Geological characteristics of landslides triggered by the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake in Mt. Aso volcano, Japan

  • Kun SongEmail author
  • Fawu Wang
  • Zili Dai
  • Akinori Iio
  • Osamu Osaka
  • Seiji Sakata
Original Article


On 16 April 2016, a Mw 7.0 earthquake occurred in Kumamoto city, Japan. The main shock induced two large landslides, namely the Aso Bridge landslide and the Aso Volcanological Laboratory landslide. Their topographical and geological conditions and motion features were investigated by using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and portable dynamic cone penetration tests (PPTs). The Aso Bridge landslide lies between elevations of 385 m and 725 m, with a total estimated volume of about 1,980,000 m3. The main body is composed of cohesive soil with lapilli and block. The Aso Volcanological Laboratory landslide lies on a slope between 483 m to 582 m, and the total volume is about 81,000 m3, with an average thickness of 4.5 m. The main body is composed of Kusasenrigahama volcanic pumice tephra beds. The material compositions and deposits of both landslides have low cohesion and easily induced shear failure for the two landslides. The sliding distance of the Aso Bridge landslide was long, the sliding direction almost unchanged from the scarp to the toe, and the sliding speed was rapid. The sliding distance of the Aso Volcanological Laboratory landslide, however, was short, the sliding direction changed from the N-direction at the scarp to the NW-direction at the toe, and the sliding speed was slow.


Kumamoto earthquake Investigation Landslide Geological characteristics Motion features 



This work was partially supported by a fund for exploratory research from Shimane University (principal researcher: Atsushi Kamei) and the National Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province (2015CFB358, principal researcher: Kun Song). The first author also acknowledges Hubei Province and China Three Gorges University for supporting the research at Shimane University, Japan. The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr. Jingsen Cai (University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA) for providing language help.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hubei Key Laboratory of Disaster Prevention and MitigationChina Three Gorges UniversityYichangChina
  2. 2.Department of GeoscienceShimane UniversityMatsueJapan
  3. 3.Nihonkai Technical Consultants Co., Ltd.MatsueJapan
  4. 4.Shimaken Consultant Co., Ltd.IzumoJapan

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