Kinematics and 3-D internal deformation of granular slopes: Analogue models and natural landslides

Zhina Liu, Hemin A. Koyi, Jan O.H. Swantesson, Faramarz Nilfouroushan, Yuriy Reshetyuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study uses results from a series of analogue models, and field observations, scanned data and sections of natural landslides to investigate the kinematics and internal deformation during the failure of an unstable slope. The models simulate collapse of granular slopes and focus on the spatial and temporal distribution of their internal structures. Using a series of systematically designed models, we have studied the effect of friction and deformability of the runout base on internal deformation within a granular slope. The results of these different models show that the collapse of granular slopes resulted in different-generation extensional faults at the back of the slope, and contractional structures (overturned folds, sheath folds and thrusts) at the toe of the slope. The failure surfaces and the volume of the failure mass changed both spatially and temporally. Younger failure surfaces formed in the back of the older ones by incorporating additional new material from the head of the slope. Our model results also show that the nature of the runout base has a significant influence on the runout distance, topography and internal deformation of a granular slope. Model results are compared with natural landslides where local profiles were dug in order to decipher the internal structures of the failure mass. The natural cases show similar structural distribution at the head and toe of the failure mass. As in model results, our field observations indicate the presence of at least two generations of failure surfaces where the older ones are steeper.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)27-42
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Analogue models
  • Granular slopes
  • Internal deformation
  • Landslides
  • Runout base


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