Failure mechanism analysis of rainfall-induced landslide at Pingguang stream in Taiwan: mapping, investigation, and numerical simulation

Chia Ming Lo, Ching Fang Lee*, Wei Kai Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


On September 15, 2012, torrential rains carried by the peripheral circulation of Typhoon Sanba and the northeast monsoon induced a translational landslide near Pingguang Road in Xindian District of New Taipei City, Taiwan. The total volume of the landslide was ~162,000 m3. The sliding mass destroyed two houses across the stream and formed a landslide dam at the toe of the slope, constricting the stream. For the purpose of reducing sediment-relative hazard around mountainous area, the paper attempts to explore the dynamics and phenomenon of the landslide on dip slope. This study interpreted remote sensing images and terrestrial LiDAR scanning, conducted onsite surveys to obtain material parameters, and performed simulations using the discrete element method to reconstruction the post-event, in order to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the landslide process. Survey results revealed complex geological conditions with tension cracks spreading in all directions at source area. This facilitated the infiltration of surface runoff into weak surfaces and raised groundwater levels. Slope failure may occur along the stratum boundary once the intrinsic shear strength of regolith drops below a critical value. The results of numerical simulation reveal that at 80 s after the Pingguang stream landslide began, a maximum deposition depth of 20 m had been reached. The sliding mass cut off the stream and pushed the stream flow roughly 35 m to the southeast. Because the slope materials surrounding the study area and the landslide-inducing mechanisms are similar, the top of the slopes to the northwest of the study area requires close monitoring. Finally, a detailed potential landslide mapping and interpretation from the high-resolution digital elevation model also present to prevent further landslides. The investigation indicates that the occurrence of landslide is highly related to seepage effect of accumulated rainfall, toe erosion by surface runoff, and local unstable geological structure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1422
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Discrete element method
  • Landslide process
  • Mechanism
  • Terrestrial LiDAR
  • Translational landslide


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