pp 1–18 | Cite as

Characteristics of landslides triggered by the 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquake, Northern Japan

  • Shuai Zhang
  • Ran Li
  • Fawu WangEmail author
  • Akinori Iio
Recent Landslides


On 6 September 2018, a Mj 6.7 (Mw 6.6) earthquake with a focal depth of approximately 37 km and maximum seismic intensity of 7.0 on the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) scale (corresponding to approximately X on the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale) struck the central and eastern Iburi regions of Hokkaido, Northern Japan, 1 day after the Typhoon Jebi passed through the region. Thousands of landslides were triggered and significant losses resulted from the earthquake sequence. A detailed landslide inventory map, including 5625 coseismic landslides, was delineated on the basis of 3307 published landslide sites. Most of the coseismic landslides are translational landslides of small to medium scale with high mobility and long run-out distance. Thirty-six people were killed by the landslides despite the afflicted area being sparsely populated. It is found that all the 5625 landslides spread in an elliptic area extending NNW/SSE, running approximately parallel to the strike of (active) faults in this region. The preferred aspect of the landslide-affected area is southerly, running nearly perpendicular to the NNW/SSE striking (active) faults. Most coseismic landslides are distributed in regions with seismic intensity of 7.0 to 8.0 (MMI Scale), with peak ground acceleration (PGA) of 0.4 to 0.7 g. Most of the coseismic landslides occurred at the elevation between 100 and 250 m, and the slope angle between 15° and 35°. Miocene sedimentary rock is the predominant bedrock type identified in the landslide area. Slope failures were triggered in stratified pyroclastic fall deposits, in the combination of strong seismic ground motion and intense antecedent precipitation. Sliding zone liquefaction phenomena were confirmed in the field investigation. The relationship between the old landslides (slope failures occurred prior to the Iburi earthquake) and the coseismic landslides is also discussed in this study.


Coseismic landslides Spatial distribution Controlling factors Sliding zone liquefaction Old landslides 



The authors express their sincere gratitude to Tetsuya INUI for providing useful information during field investigation. The authors gratefully acknowledge Zili DAI (Shimane University, Matsue, Japan) and Prakash DHUNGANA (Shimane University, Matsue, Japan) for their kind assistance in the field work. We are grateful for the support provided by the local government. Shuai ZHANG and Ran LI also acknowledged China Scholarship Council (CSC).

Funding information

This work was financed by Fundamental Research Grant (2017–2019) of Shimane University on “Development of prediction and mitigation technologies on natural disasters in subduction zone using San-in region as a research field”.


  1. Arita K, Ikawa T, Ito T, Yamamoto A, Saito M, Nishida Y, Satoh H, Kimura G, Watanabe T, Ikawa T, Kuroda T (1998) Crustal structure and tectonics of the Hidaka Collision Zone, Hokkaido (Japan), revealed by vibroseis seismic reflection and gravity surveys. Tectonophysics 290(3–4):197–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chigira M, Yagi H (2006) Geological and geomorphological characteristics of landslides triggered by the 2004 Mid Niigata prefecture earthquake in Japan. Eng Geol 82(4):202–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Collins BD, Kayen R, Tanaka Y (2012) Spatial distribution of landslides triggered from the 2007 Niigata Chuetsu–Oki Japan Earthquake. Eng Geol 127:14–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dai F, Xu C, Yao X, Xu L, Tu X, Gong Q (2011) Spatial distribution of landslides triggered by the 2008 Ms 8.0 Wenchuan earthquake, China. J Asian Earth Sci 40(4):883–895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fukuoka H, Sassa K, Scarascia-Mugnozza G (1997) Distribution of landslides triggered by the 1995 Hyogo-ken Nanbu earthquake and long runout mechanism of the Takarazuka golf course landslide. J Phy Earth 45(2):83–90Google Scholar
  6. Gnyawali KR, Maka S, Adhikari BR, Chamlagain D, Duwal S, Dhungana AR (2016) Spatial implications of earthquake induced landslides triggered by the April 25 Gorkha earthquake Mw 7.8: preliminary analysis and findings. International conference on earthquake engineering and post disaster reconstruction planning 24–26 April, 2016, Bhaktapur. Nepal:50–58Google Scholar
  7. Gorum T, Fan X, van Westen CJ, Huang RQ, Xu Q, Tang C, Wang G (2011) Distribution pattern of earthquake-induced landslides triggered by the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Geomorphology 133(3–4):152–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Guo C, Montgomery DR, Zhang Y, Wang K, Yang Z (2015) Quantitative assessment of landslide susceptibility along the Xianshuihe fault zone, Tibetan Plateau, China. Geomorphology 248:93–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guzzetti F, Malamud BD, Turcotte DL, Reichenbach P (2002) Power-law correlations of landslide areas in central Italy. Earth Planet Sci Lett 195(3–4):169–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Harp EL, Jibson RW (1996) Landslides triggered by the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake. Bull Seismol Soc Am 86(1B):S319–S332Google Scholar
  11. Hirose W, Kawakami G, Kase Y, Ishimaru S, Koshimizu K, Koyasu H, Takahashi R (2018) Preliminary report of slope movements at Atsuma Town and its surrounding areas caused by the 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake. Rep Geol Sur Hokkaido 90:33–44Google Scholar
  12. Hovius N, Stark CP, Allen PA (1997) Sediment flux from a mountain belt derived by landslide mapping. Geology 25(3):231–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Keefer DK (1998) The Loma Prieta, California, earthquake of October 17, 1989: landslides. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1551-C 185 ppGoogle Scholar
  14. Keefer DK (2000) Statistical analysis of an earthquake-induced landslide distribution—the 1989 Loma Prieta, California event. Eng Geol 58(3–4):231–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Keefer DK (2002) Investigating landslides caused by earthquakes–a historical review. Surv Geophys 23(6):473–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Khazai B, Sitar N (2003) Evaluation of factors controlling earthquake-induced landslides caused by Chi-Chi earthquake and comparison with the Northridge and Loma Prieta events. Eng Geol 71(1–2):79–95Google Scholar
  17. Kimura G (1983) Collision tectonics in Hokkaido and Sakhalin. Accretion tectonics in the Circum-Pacific regions:123–134Google Scholar
  18. Kimura G (1994) The latest Cretaceous-early Paleogene rapid growth of accretionary complex and exhumation of high pressure series metamorphic rocks in northwestern Pacific margin. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 99(B11):22147–22164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Malamud BD, Turcotte DL, Guzzetti F, Reichenbach P (2004) Landslides, earthquakes, and erosion. Earth Planet Sci Lett 229(1–2):45–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Meunier P, Hovius N, Haines JA (2008) Topographic site effects and the location of earthquake induced landslides. Earth Planet Sci Lett 275(3–4):221–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nakagawa M, Amma-Miyasaka M, Miura D, Usewa S (2018) Tephrostratigraphy in Ishikari Lowland, Southwestern Hokkaido: eruption history of the Shikotsu-Toya volcanic field. J Geol Soc Jpn 124(7):473–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Okamura Y, Tsujino T, Arai K, Sasaki T, Satake K, Joshima M (2008) Fore arc structure and plate boundary earthquake sources along the southwestern Kuril subduction zone. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 113(B6)Google Scholar
  23. Ozaki M, Taku K (2014) 1:200,000 land geological map in the Ishikari depression and its surrounding area with explanatory note. Seamless Geoinformation of coastal zone “southern coastal zone of the Ishikari depression”, seamless geological map of costal zone S-4, Geological Survey of Japan ALSTGoogle Scholar
  24. Papathanassiou G, Valkaniotis S, Ganas A, Pavlides S (2013) GIS-based statistical analysis of the spatial distribution of earthquake-induced landslides in the island of Lefkada, Ionian Islands, Greece. Landslides 10(6):771–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Qi S, Xu Q, Lan H, Zhang B, Liu J (2010) Spatial distribution analysis of landslides triggered by 2008.5.12 Wenchuan Earthquake, China. Eng Geol 116(1–2):95–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sassa K, Fukuoka H, GA S-M (1996) Earthquake-induced-landslides: distribution, motion and mechanisms. Soils Found 36(Special):53–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sassa K, Fukuoka H, Wang F, Wang G (2005) Dynamic properties of earthquake-induced large-scale rapid landslides within past landslide masses. Landslide 2(2):125–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stark CP, Hovius N (2001) The characterization of landslide size distributions. Geophys Res Lett 28(6):1091–1094CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tajika J, Ohtsu S, Inui T (2016) Interior structure and sliding process of landslide body composed of stratified pyroclastic fall deposits at the Apporo 1 archaeological site, southeastern margin of the Ishikari Lowland, Hokkaido, North Japan. J Geol Soc Jpn 122(1):23–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Takashima R, Nishi H, Yoshida T (2002) Geology, petrology and tectonic setting of the Late Jurassic ophiolite in Hokkaido, Japan. J Asian Earth Sci 21(2):197–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tamaki M, Kusumoto S, Itoh Y (2010) Formation and deformation processes of late Paleogene sedimentary basins in southern central Hokkaido, Japan: paleomagnetic and numerical modeling approach. Island Arc 19(2):243–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wang FW (1999) An experimental study on grain crushing and excess pore pressure generation during shearing of sandy soils: a key factor for rapid landslide motion. PhD thesis of Kyoto University. Kyoto University Research Information Repository:119Google Scholar
  33. Wang WN, Nakamura H, Tsuchiya S, CHEN CC (2002) Distributions of landslides triggered by the Chi-chi Earthquake in Central Taiwan on September 21, 1999. Landslides 38(4):318–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang H, Sassa K, Xu W (2007) Analysis of a spatial distribution of landslides triggered by the 2004 Chuetsu earthquakes of Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Nat Hazards 41(1):43–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Whitehouse IE, Griffiths GA (1983) Frequency and hazard of large rock avalanches in the central Southern Alps, New Zealand. Geology 11(6):331–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Xu Q, Zhang S, Li W (2011) Spatial distribution of large-scale landslides induced by the 5.12 Wenchuan earthquake. J Mt Sci 8(2):246–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Xu C, Xu X, Yao X, Dai F (2014) Three (nearly) complete inventories of landslides triggered by the May 12, 2008 Wenchuan Mw 7.9 earthquake of China and their spatial distribution statistical analysis. Landslides 11(3):441–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Xu C, Ma S, Tan Z (2018) Landslides triggered by the 2016 Mj 7.3 Kumamoto, Japan, earthquake. Landslides 15(3):551–564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yamagishi H, Yamazaki F (2018) Landslides by the 2018 Hokkaido Iburi-Tobu Earthquake on September 6. Landslides 15(12):2521–2524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yin Y, Wang FW, Sun P (2009) Landslide hazards triggered by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, Sichuan, China. Landslides 6(2):139–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhang Y, Yao X, Xiong T, Ma Y, Hu D, Yang N, Guo C (2010) Rapid identification and emergency investigation of surface ruptures and geohazards induced by the Ms 7.1 Yushu Earthquake. ACTA Geol Sin-Engl 84(6):1315–1327Google Scholar
  42. Zhang Y, Dong S, Hou C, Guo C, Yao X, Li B, Du J, Zhang J (2013) Geohazards induced by the Lushan Ms7. 0 earthquake in Sichuan Province, Southwest China: typical examples, types and distributional characteristics. ACTA Geol Sin-Engl 87(3):646–657Google Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth ScienceShimane UniversityMatsueJapan

Personalised recommendations