Investigating slow-moving landslides in the Zhouqu region of China using InSAR time series

Zhang, Yi; Meng, Xingmin; Jordan, Colm; Novellino, Alessandro; Dijkstra, Tom; Chen, Guan. 2018 Investigating slow-moving landslides in the Zhouqu region of China using InSAR time series. Landslides, 15 (7). 1299-1315.

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In the Zhouqu region (Gansu, China), landslide distribution and activity exploits geological weaknesses in the fault-controlled belt of low-grade metamorphic rocks of the Bailong valley and severely impacts lives and livelihoods in this region. Landslides reactivated by the Wenchuan 2008 earthquake and debris flows triggered by rainfall, such as the 2010 Zhouqu debris flow, have caused more than 1700 casualties and estimated economic losses of some US$0.4 billion. Earthflows presently cover some 79% of the total landslide area and have exerted a strong influence on landscape dynamics and evolution in this region. In this study, we use multi-temporal Advanced Land Observing Satellite and Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (ALOS PALSAR) data and time series interferometric synthetic aperture radar to investigate slow-moving landslides in a mountainous region with steep topography for the period December 2007–August 2010 using the Small Baseline Subsets (SBAS) technique. This enabled the identification of 11 active earthflows, 19 active landslides with deformation rates exceeding 100 mm/year and 20 new instabilities added into the pre-existing landslide inventory map. The activity of these earthflows and landslides exhibits seasonal variations and accelerated deformation following the Wenchuan earthquake. Time series analysis of the Suoertou earthflow reveals that seasonal velocity changes are characterized by comparatively rapid acceleration and gradual deceleration with distinct kinematic zones with different mean velocities, although velocity changes appear to occur synchronously along the landslide body over seasonal timescales. The observations suggest that the post-seismic effects (acceleration period) on landslide deformation last some 6–7 months.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1612-510X
Date made live: 27 Sep 2018 13:45 +0 (UTC)

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