Journal of Earth Science

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 646–661 | Cite as

Failure Mechanism and Stability Analysis of an Active Landslide in the Xiangjiaba Reservoir Area, Southwest China

  • Javed Iqbal
  • Fuchu Dai
  • Min Hong
  • Xinbin Tu
  • Qizhi Xie
Hydrogeology and Geo-hazards


Dam construction for hydropower development is a very important subject all around the world, especially in developing countries due to energy crises. Filling of reservoir lakes may trigger or reactivate landslides in reservoir area. Active landslides in populated districts in the Xiangjiaba Reservoir area have become a striking problem for residents, local government and construction engineers. The key objective of this study is to analyze the role of reservoir filling and fluctuation in the activation/reactivation of the landslide as well as the mechanism of landslide from microstructures of pre-sheared slip surface. A large active landslide with a total volume of 1.25 Mm3 at the left margin of Jinsha River in Pingshan County of Sichuan Province, Southwest China, was selected as a case study. Field investigation, field monitoring and laboratory tests were carried out to find out the failure mechanism and the stability of the active landslide. The shear strength test and stability analysis confirm that the water level fluctuations have an adverse effect on slope stability. It is obvious from microstructure analysis that the clay minerals contribute to down-slope movement at micro-scale as well as presence of expansive minerals (e.g., montmorillonite) decreases the strength of soil due to water level rise.

Key words

active landslide slope stability stability analysis microstructure montmorillonite 


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We greatly acknowledge the Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, for providing laboratories for geotechnical experiments. We extend our thanks to Prof. Muhammad Arif, Head of the Earth Sciences Department, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad, Pakistan, for useful suggestions on SEM analysis. The final publication is available at Springer via

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Copyright information

© China University of Geosciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesAbbottabad University of Sciences and TechnologyAbbottabadPakistan
  3. 3.Institute of Rock and Soil MechanicsChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  4. 4.Hydrochina Zhongnan Engineering CorporationChangshaChina

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