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Spatiotemporal characteristics of the Huangtupo landslide in the Three Gorges region (China) constrained by radar interferometry

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Zhenhong Li


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The Huangtupo landslide is one of the largest in the Three Gorges region, China. The county-seat town of Badong, located on the south shore between the Xiling and Wu gorges of the Yangtze River, was moved to this unstable slope prior to the construction of the Three Gorges Project, since the new Three Gorges reservoir completely submerged the location of the old city. The instability of the slope is affecting the new town by causing residential safety problems. The Huangtupo landslide provides scientists an opportunity to understand landslide response to fluctuating river water level and heavy rainfall episodes, which is essential to decide upon appropriate remediation measures. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) techniques provide a very useful tool for the study of superficial and spatially variable displacement phenomena. In this paper, three sets of radar data have been processed to investigate the Huangtupo landslide. Results show that maximum displacements are affecting the northwest zone of the slope corresponding to Riverside slumping mass I#. The other main landslide bodies (i.e. Riverside slumping mass II#, Substation landslide and Garden Spot landslide) exhibit a stable behaviour in agreement with in situ data, although some active areas have been recognized in the foot of the Substation landslide and Garden Spot landslide. InSAR has allowed us to study the kinematic behaviour of the landslide and to identify its active boundaries. Furthermore, the analysis of the InSAR displacement time-series has helped recognize the different displacement patterns on the slope and their relationships with various triggering factors. For those persistent scatterers, which exhibit long-term displacements, they can be decomposed into a creep model (controlled by geological conditions) and a superimposed recoverable term (dependent on external factors), which appears closely correlated with reservoir water level changes close to the river's edge. These results, combined with in situ data, provide a comprehensive analysis of the Huangtupo landslide, which is essential for its management.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tomas R, Li Z, Liu P, Singleton A, Hoey T, Cheng X

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geophysical Journal International

Year: 2014

Pages: 1-20

Print publication date: 21/02/2014

ISSN (print): 0956-540X

ISSN (electronic): 1365-246X

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggu017


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