, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 815–828 | Cite as

Investigation of the initiation of shallow failure in widely graded loose soil slopes considering interstitial flow and surface runoff

  • Yifei Cui
  • Yao JiangEmail author
  • Chaoxu GuoEmail author
Technical Note


Wide-grade loose soils (WGLS) are common source materials for denuding hillslopes, mobilizing sediments, and causing geo-hazards. Although the effects of interstitial flow process on the shallow failure of WGLS materials are widely studied during rainfall, the combined effects of interstitial flow and surface runoff processes remain poorly understood. This in turn limits our ability to better understand the effects of fluid flow on the mechanical response of hillslope soils. In this study, flume model test was performed under rainfall infiltration and surface runoff conditions to further study the initiation process of WGLS failure. Based on the experimental results, a new mathematical model was then explored by incorporating hydrodynamic theory considering the surface runoff and fine particle migration effect. Experimental results shown that no significant slope failure was triggered only under the rainfall infiltration condition, but the slope materials could transform into continuous surface erosion under the thin surface runoff condition. Meanwhile, the back calculations and analyses of the mathematical model shown that the established model here proved to be better suited for describing WGLS failure.


Wide-grade loose soils Shallow failure Surface runoff Interstitial flow Debris flow initiation Flume test 



The authors would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments that substantially improved this paper.


This study was funded by the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (no. QYZDY-SSW-DQC006), the National Nature Science Foundation of China (no. 41790432), and the Research Grants Council of the Government of Hong Kong SAR (no. T22-603/15-N). Yifei Cui is grateful for financial support from the Opening Fund of State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering (SKHL1609). Yao Jiang acknowledges support from the CAS Pioneer Hundred Talents Program. Chaoxu Guo acknowledges support from the Fujian province Science Foundation for Young Scientists (grant number 2017J05074).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringThe Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyKowloonHong Kong SAR
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface Process/Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)ChengduChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Green Building TechnologyFujian Academy of Building ResearchFuzhouChina

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