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Finite-hillslope analysis of landslides triggered by excess pore water pressure: the roles of atmospheric pressure and rainfall infiltration during typhoons

Abstract : Landslides are often triggered by catastrophic events, among which earthquakes and rainfall are the most depicted. However, very few studies have focused on the effect of atmospheric pressure on slope stability, even though weather events such as typhoons are associated with significant atmospheric pressure changes. Indeed, both atmospheric pressure changes and rainfall-induced groundwater level changes can generate large pore pressure changes. In this paper, we assess the respective impacts of atmospheric effects and rainfall over the stability of a hillslope. An analytical model of transient groundwater dynamics is developed to compute slope stability for finite hillslopes. Slope stability is evaluated through a safety factor based on the Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion. Both rainfall infiltration and atmospheric pressure variations, which impact slope stability by modifying the pore pressure of the media, are described by diffusion equations. The models were then forced by weather data from different typhoons that were recorded over Taiwan. While rainfall infiltration can induce pore pressure change up to hundreds of kilopascal, its effects are delayed in time due to flow and diffusion. To the contrary, atmospheric pressure change induces pore pressure changes not exceeding a few kilopascal, which propagates instantaneously through the skeleton before diffusion leads to an effective decay of pore pressure. Moreover, the effect of rainfall infiltration on slope stability decreases towards the toe of the hillslope and is cancelled where the water table reaches the surface, leaving atmospheric pressure change as the main driver of slope instability. This study allows for a better insight of slope stability through pore pressure analysis, and shows that atmospheric effects should not always be neglected.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 11, 2022 - 1:32:08 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 21, 2022 - 3:19:21 AM

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Lucas Pelascini, Philippe Steer, Maxime Mouyen, Laurent Longuevergne. Finite-hillslope analysis of landslides triggered by excess pore water pressure: the roles of atmospheric pressure and rainfall infiltration during typhoons. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 2022, 22 (10), pp.3125 - 3141. ⟨10.5194/nhess-22-3125-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03810408⟩

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