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Effects of rainwater softening on red mudstone of deep-seated landslide, Southwest China

Title: Effects of rainwater softening on red mudstone of deep-seated landslide, Southwest China

Author: Zhang, S (Zhang, Shuai); Xu, Q (Xu, Qiang)* ; Hu, ZM (Hu, Zeming)

Journal: Engineering Geology

Volume: 204 Page:1-13

DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2016.01.013

Year: APR 8 2016


Red mudstone landslides are widespread in southwest of China. The development and distribution of deep-seated landsides with slow inclination are closely related to the special soft rock properties of the red mudstone layers. Most previous studies focused on the failure mechanisms of rain-induced shallow landslides. Studies on deep-seated landslides in red layer zones are still limited. In order to ascertain the basic failure mechanisms of red layer landslides with a gentle inclination, a fatal landslide named as Shibangou landslide, which occurred in Sichuan, China, was investigated. This paper aims to (1) conduct laboratory tests on the reduction in shear strength of a red layer to identify the water-rock coupling effect; (2) investigate variations in the microscopic structure of the soft rock found within a red layer after rainfall infiltration; (3) discuss the failure mechanisms of red layer landslides with slow inclination. Results from shear test of mudstone from the Shibangou landslide revealed that there is a tendency that behavior of soft rock can be transferred to soil in different days of immersion. The delineation threshold of shear strength of the red layer is determined as 6 days of immersion. Microstructures of clay minerals become loose and porous due to the contacts between the particles transferred from the face-edges, face-face associations into edge-edge, and face-edge associations. Therefore, the intramolecular and cemented expansions of illite are the basic mechanisms which lead to structural damage, structural decay, and strength attenuation of soft rock in red layer under the condition of rainwater infiltration.

Key Words: Landslide; Slope stability; Rainfall; Red mudstone; Shear strength; Rock

Accession Number: WOS:000373540400001