Reducing landslide risk in Sichuan Province, China

Category Other
Group GSI.IR
Location International Geological Congress,oslo 2008
Author Bobrowsky, Peter۱; Yin, Yueping۲; Zheng, Wanmo۲; Li, Xiaochun۲; Singhroy, Vern۳; Wang, Baolin۱; Couture, Réjean۱
Holding Date 23 September 2008

During the past decade the annual loss of life in China that is attributed to landslides has decreased dramatically from a high of 1573 in 1998 to 682 in 2005. Although the total numbers remain high relative to other areas around the world, the trend in reducing mortality is a consequence of the adoption of a proactive strategy that includes landslide mapping, monitoring and public communication. Hazard mapping indicates that the eastern Tibetan Plateau region of the country remains one of the most landslide susceptible areas in China. A long history of active tectonism, combined with unique geomorphic conditions including deeply incised valleys, steep slopes, unstable deposits, plus anthropogenic activities and climatic extremes contribute to conditions for active landsliding. Cooperative studies by the China Geological Survey and the Geological Survey of Canada have focussed on the detailed analysis of large failures in the Sichuan Province area. Building on the successful existing monitoring efforts by China which includes traditional mapping, D-GPS, inclinometers, extensometers, rain gauges, and piezometers, the addition of InSAR technology which is based on Canada’s RADARSAT provides an important tool to enhance our understanding of the nature and extent of landslides in the area. Here we discuss landslides in Danba County, with special attention given to the Jiaju landslide; an important cultural setting of national relevance. Installation of 10 corner reflectors and image analysis over several months exemplifies the importance of using remote satellite based technology to evaluate slope instability over a large area. The implication surrounding a broader application of this technology to reduce the risk of landslides in China is obvious when it is used in combinations with other methods of analysis.