Suitability analysis for topographic factors in loess landslide research: a case study of Gangu County, China

  • Quanfu Niu
  • Xinghai Dang
  • Yuefeng Li
  • Yingxue Zhang
  • Xiaolin Lu
  • Wenxing Gao
Original Article


Loess Plateau is one of the ecologically fragile regions in China. It is one of the slippery strata of which landslides often developed. The formation and development of landslides are mainly affected by various natural environments, triggering factors, the vulnerability of landslide-bearing bodies, and topography has a controlling effect on landslides and determines landslide distribution. As important environmental elements, the selection and reclassification of topographic factors are the basis for loess landslide vulnerability map. In this study, our research suggests an effective workflow to select and analyze the topographic factors in the loess landslides. Nine hazard-formative environmental factors [e.g., slope, aspect, slope shape (SS), slope of slope (SOS), slope of aspect (SOA), surface amplitude (SA), surface roughness (SR), incision depth (ID) and elevation variation coefficient (EVC)] are prepared for landslide suitability analysis. The models of certainty factor, sensitivity index and correlation coefficient are combined to select and analyze the suitability of these factors. Four topographic factors (i.e., slope, SOS, SS and SR) were ultimately selected to carry out the landslide vulnerability mapping with other factors. Our results showed that most of the landslides were located in medium and high classes and accounting for 75.3%, and these places also coincided with higher economies and intense human activities. Our research also suggested that in situ measurements are necessary to determine how to reclassify these topographic factors and how many grades these topographic factors divided, which would further improve the reliability of landslide vulnerability map for the decision makers to deal with the possible future landslides in terms of safety and human activities.


Landslide Loess Topographic factor Model Suitability analysis 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41461084), the Natural Science Foundation of Gansu Province (145RJZA180). We also thank the Gansu Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information of China for the provision of DEM data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringLanzhou University of TechnologyLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology and Center for Spatial AnalysisUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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