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Distribution and Susceptibility Assessment of Collapses and Landslides in the Riparian Zone of the Xiaowan Reservoir

Zhong, Ronghua, He, Daming, Hu, Jinming, Duan, Xingwu, Huang, Jiangcheng, Cheng, Xupeng
Chinese geographical science 2019 v.29 no.1 pp. 70-85
Internet, Silurian period, altitude, dams (hydrology), energy, landslides, mountains, remote sensing, riparian areas, rivers, surface area, water power, China
The southwest alpine gorge region is the major state base of hydropower energy development in China and hence planned many cascading hydropower stations. After the reservoir impoundment, the intense water level fluctuations under the interaction of cascade dams operating and the mountainous flooding, usually cause bank collapse, landslide and debris flow hazards. The Xiaowan reservoir (XWR), for example, as the ‘dragon head’ meg reservoir located in the middle mainstream of Lancang River, have resulted in a series of geohazards during its building and operating. In this study, we investigated the number and surface area of collapses and landslides (CLs) occurred in the water level fluctuations zone (WLFZ) of XWR using remote sensing images of Gaofen-1 and Google Earth; evaluated the CLs susceptibility using information value method. The results presented that the total WLFZ area of 87.03 km² and 804 CLs masses with a total area of 1.98 km² were identified in the riparian zone of XWR. CLs mainly occurred at an elevation of 1190–1240 m, and the CLs density increased with an increase in altitude. The WLFZ with a slope gradient of 25°–45° is the main CLs distribution area that accounts for more than half of the total CLs area. The susceptibility assessment revealed that high and very high susceptibility zones are generally distributed along zones with an elevation of 1210–1240 m, a slope degree of 25°–45° and a slope aspect perpendicular to the direction of Lancang River. Furthermore, these susceptible zones are close in distance to the dam site and tend to be in the riparian zones with the formation lithology of Silurian strata. These results provide a valuable contribution to prevent and control geohazards in the XWR area. Moreover, this study offers a constructive sample of geohazards assessment in the riparian zone of large reservoirs throughout the mountains of southwest China.