A thermo-mechanical model for the catastrophic collapse of large landslides

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In this work, a new thermo-mechanical model is developed, applicable to large-scale, deep-seated landslides consisting of a coherent mass sliding on a thin clayey layer. The considered time window is that of catastrophic acceleration, starting at incipient failure and ending when the acquired displacement and velocity are such that the sliding material begins to break up into pieces. The model accounts for temperature rise in the slip zone due to the heat produced by friction, leading to water expansion, thermoplastic collapse of the soil skeleton, and subsequent increase of pore water pressure. The model incorporates the processes of heat production and diffusion, pore pressure generation and diffusion, and an advanced constitutive law for the thermo-mechanical behavior of soil. An analysis of the Vajont landslide is presented as an example. A sensitivity analysis shows that friction softening is the mechanism most affecting the timescale of the final collapse of a slide, but also that the mechanism of thermal pressurization alone can cause a comparably catastrophic dynamic evolution. It is also shown that, all other factors being equal, thermo-mechanical collapse will cause thicker slides to accelerate faster than shallow ones. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cecinato, F; Zervos, A; Veveakis, E

Published Date

  • October 10, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 14

Start / End Page

  • 1507 - 1535

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-9853

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0363-9061

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/nag.963

Citation Source

  • Scopus