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uk/resources/southern_leyte_2006_landslide_case
_study
by: Christopher Cartwright
First 357 words of the document:
INTRODUCTION
At about 10:30 in the morning on February 17, 2006, a cliff face of a ridge
straddling the
Philippine Fault collapsed in a combination rockslidedebris avalanche event,
translocating and subsequently burying Guinsaugon village in the town of Saint
Bernard,
but Guinsaugon was the worst hit community.
CAUSE
There was an initial suggestion that the cause of the landslide was logging and
mining
done in the area 3 decades ago. However, local government officials said that the
area
was well forested and deforestation logging activities were not the casual factor.
Experts came to the conclusion that torrential rains lasting 2 weeks before the
mudslide
was the main cause for the disaster. Rainfall amounting to over 200cm in 10 days
loosened the soil so much that the resulting sludge and rocks thundered down
the
slopes of nearby Mount Canabag, virtually disintegrating it. In addition, the
Philippine
institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded a magnitude 2.6 earthquake in
Southern Leyte just prior the landslide, and although the effects of this are
unclear, if the
soils of the slope were battered by rain for the passed 2 weeks, then any
movement
could have caused the mud to slide easily. A final cause that has said to be a
contributing factor were the coconut trees, which only had very shallow roots.
The
shallow rooted coconut tree would not be as effective at counteracting the
gravitational
pull of the rainfall, but yet would contribute to the weight of the slope.
View of the Southern Leyte's landslides Toe Landslide body from crown
EFFECTS
One of the main effects of the landslide was that a local elementary school was
buried
beneath mud when all the children were in school. At the time, the school had
246

students and 7 teachers and only 1 child and an adult was rescued immediately
after
the disaster occurred. There were no signs of life after the mudslide. Rescue
attempts
were made worse due to the thick mud and blocked roads, collapsed bridges and
Chris Cartwright AS Geography Column 5 2nd November 2009

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4723770.stm

What caused Philippines landslide?


BySarahBuckley
BBCNews

Thelandslideburiedanentirecommunity

Landslides, such as the one which has buried an entire community in the
central Philippines, are often blamed on logging.
This is because forest cover can play a vital role in maintaining land stability both by absorbing the rain that can cause it to slip, and by securing soil and other
vegetable matter to the bedrock with tree roots.
"Loss of forest cover does have a serious impact," said Beatrice Richards, head of
forest trade and policy at the WWF.
Logging was blamed for a similar disaster in December 2003, and Philippines
President Gloria Arroyo banned logging in December 2004.
Hugh Speechly, a forestry consultant who lived in the Philippines for 12 years,
said that in fact much of the logging in the country had already taken place.
"The Philippines has gone from a major timber producing country to one where
they import timber," he said, adding that in the 1930s, before it began serious
logging, the nation had several million hectares of forest cover, compared with
only about 600,000 untouched hectares today.

"Certainly in Leyte, a lot of the forest


cover has gone," he said.

Thissortofrainfallandlandslideactioninthe
Philippinesatthistimeofyearisquiteunusual
DavePetley,InternationalLandslideCentre

"Because of population pressures, people push more into the upland areas to
grow food and to do this they clear land."
In the case of Friday's events in Guinsaugon, Southern Leyte province, it seemed
unlikely that logging was to blame.
Local officials and eyewitnesses said the surrounding area was well forested, and
the governor's office said deforestation was not the causal factor this time,
despite having admitted that was the case in a devastating landslide in Leyte in
December 2003.
But Philippines Congressman Roger Mercado, who represents Southern Leyte, has
blamed the disaster, to some extent, on mining and logging in the area three
decades ago, Reuters news agency reported.
Rainfall
What experts did agree on was the probable impact of heavy rain in the area for
up to two weeks before the landslide.
"All these extreme disasters are
multicausal but there's usually some
single trigger at the last minute," said
Hazel Faulkner, senior research fellow at
the Flood Hazard Research Centre at
Middlesex University, London.
The area received about 200cm of rain
in the last 10 days, officials said.
LaNinaisthoughttohavetakenholdin2006
Heavy rain storms are frequent in the
Philippines, and was also thought to be the trigger for the December 2003
landslide.

But Mr Speechly said he was surprised by such weather in February.


He said that severe storms normally ran between June and December.
Prof Dave Petley, professor at the International Landslide Centre, Durham
University, agreed. "This sort of rainfall and landslide action in the Philippines at
this time of year is quite unusual," he said.
The Philippines weather bureau has said adverse conditions since November
might be linked to La Nina - a natural cyclical meteorological phenomenon which
strikes South East Asia in certain years, bringing heavy rainfall.

PHILIPPINESSTORMS

Prof Petley said the landslide statistics


in the region this year suggested 2006
was a La Nina year.

Dec2004About1,800peoplekilledafteraseriesofstorms
innortheasternPhilippines
Dec2003Upto200peopledieinlandslidesinSouthern
Leyte
Nov1991TyphoonThelmastrikesLeytecausingfloods
thatdrownatleast5,000

The month of January in a typical year would normally see 60 landslide deaths
worldwide, whereas January this year saw 283 landslide fatalities, many in Asia,
he said.
A mild 2.6 magnitude earthquake which struck the area just before the landslip
may also have contributed to it, although it did not appear strong enough to have
triggered it on its own, experts said.
"The area could have really been ready for a landslide because of the amount of
rainfall and if there was a minor earthquake, it might have hastened it," Rene
Solidum, head of the Philippines government vulcanology office told reporters.
Another contributory factor could have been coconut trees in the area, which have
only shallow roots, the daughter of Governor Rosette Lerias told the BBC.
Ms Faulkner said she did not know the exact impact of such a crop on the area.
But she said that it could be argued that a more shallowly rooted tree would not
be as effective at counteracting the gravitational pull of the rainfall, and yet would
contribute to the weight on a slope.

http://soilenvironment.blogspot.jp/2009/08/causesofguinsaugonlandslide.html
Wednesday,August12,2009

The causes of the Guinsaugon landslide

On17February2006,
acatastrophiclandslideburiedthevillageofGuinsaugon,thesecondlargestvillageofSt.
Bernardtown(SouthernLeyte,Philippines)killingmorethanathousandresidentsand
displacingapproximately19,000people.Thelandslideoriginatedonanapproximately
800mhighescarpmentproducedbythePhilippineFaultthatbisectsLeyteandthemajor
islands ofthePhilippines.Inarecentarticlewhichsynthesizedthe papers presented
during an international conference in Leyte 2008 and published in the international
journalBulletinofEngineeringGeologyandtheEnvironment,Guthrieandcoworkers
(2009)arrivedatthefollowingconclusions:
"Theapproximately15millionm3landslidewasaresultofprogressivefailures and
tectonic weakening in a region made especially vulnerable by the interreaction of
geological/tectonic, climatic and cultural factors. In southern Leyte, geology and
tectonics(includinghistoricalseismicity,theprogressivedisintegrationoftherockmass,
thedevelopmentofsmectitelayersandthecontinuousdevelopmentandmovementof
shearswithinthePhilippineFaultZone)combineinsteepruggedterraintoproducea
series of massive landslides ([10 million m3) of which the Guinsaugon event is the
latest."
"Thepresenceofricepaddiesinthevalleybottomhadamajoreffectonthemobilityof
therockavalanche,whichincreasedthevulnerabilityofcommunitiesestablishedtotend
thesefields.Havingconsideredtheavailableevidence,itisconcludedthatthelandslide
wasnottriggeredbyaseismiceventthatoccurredseveralminutesafterwardandthatthe
recordedseismicsignaturewasnotatraceofthelandslideitself.Rather,itisconsidered
thattheearthquakecouldbearesultoftectonicunloadingafterthelandslideoccurred,or
completely

independent

of

the

landslide

event."
"Theroleofclimateis,insomerespects,similartothatoftheseismicevent.Intermsof

thetrigger,thestormrainfallthatoccurredseveraldayspriortothelandslideundoubtedly
raisedporewaterpressuresinthesourcerockmass.However,progressivefailurerelies
lessandlessonporewaterpressureasfailurebecomesimminent.Thedangerofrelying
ontriggerstoascertaintheprobabilityoffailureisexemplifiedbytheGuinsaugonevent;
inthelagtimebetweentheendoftheperiodofheavyrainfallandtheoccurrenceofthe
rockslidedebris avalanche, evacuated residents had returned to their homes. Possible
triggermechanismscanbeincidentaltothelandslideitself;however,theprogressive
development of a large failure often produces telltale signs that are observable by a
community

of

nonexperts."

Ourownfieldinvestigationshaveshowntwoimportantaspectsofthelandslidenotvery
welltakenupinthereport.Thefirstisabouttheroleofthethinlayersofmudstonein
betweenthicklayersofsandstone/siltstoneswhichcouldhaveservedaslubricantforthe
landsliding process. The other is the great possibility that the Guinsaugon village
developedonoldlandslidedebris.Thiswasclearlyshownbythefactthatthelowerhills
notaffectedbytherecentlandslideshowedcomparablematerialsasthelandslidearea.
Also, the behaviour of the stream tells us a very important information.
Itisverylikelythatthestreamwascoveredbylandslidedebrisinthepastwhichisthe
reasonwhyitchangeditscourseandappearedtogoaroundthecommunity.Earlysettlers
mayhavefoundthesligthtlyelevatedpartoftheareaconvenienttobuildtheirhouses
sinceitwaselevated(andthusnotpronetoflooding)butwithoutanyideathatitwasa
landslidedebris.Thetragiclandslidewaswaitingtohappen.Itwasjustamatteroftime.
Unfortunately, the people were not aware of this.

Theroleofthepaddy
fieldsasclaimedbythepaperneedsmorescientificinvestigation.Iamnotconvinced
thatitplayedamajorroleconsideringthefactthatthedebrisitselfwasalreadysaturated
withwater.Theclayeysoilmaterialfromthehillsideprobablyhadmoreinfluencedon
themovementofthedebristhanthepaddysoil.

Reference
R.H.Guthrie,S.G.Evans,S.G.Catane,M.A.H.Zarco,andR.M.SaturayJr.2009.
The17February2006rockslidedebrisavalancheatGuinsaugonPhilippines:a
synthesis.BulletinofEngineeringGeologyandtheEnvironment68:201213
PostedbyVictorB.Asio

at8:47PM
Labels:Guinsaugonlandslide