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Analysis of physical testing of rainfall-induced soil slope failures

Wu, L. Z., Huang, R. Q., Xu, Q., Zhang, L. M., Li, H. L.
Environmental earth sciences 2015 v.73 no.12 pp. 8519-8531
deformation, landslides, rain, rain intensity, soil, water content
Rainfall is a significant factor that triggers slope failures around the world. This paper reports a series of physical tests, which were conducted to simulate rain-induced slope failures. The experiments dealt with two scenarios including (1) rainwater infiltration into the slope and (2) slope failures induced by artificial rainfall with different initial conditions. Slope deformation and slope failures were observed and possible mechanisms were interpreted based on the experimental results. The results confirm the hypothesis that pore-water pressure and water content in a loose soil slope change rapidly and that water infiltration into cracks in the slope has a great impact on landslide development. The observed slope failures can be divided into three types: overall sliding failure, partial sliding failure and flow slide. The effect of slope gradient, rainfall intensity and distribution of initial suction on the slope deformation and failure process are also summarized for possible applications under the similar conditions.