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Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute Of Technology, Surat.

Applied Mechanics Department

Forensic Analysis of Landslides

Presented By :
Sayali S. Gosavi

Guided By :
Dr. Satyajit Patel


1. To understand the nature and causative factors of landslides, their

characteristics, classifications, triggering mechanisms, and effects.

2. To establish theoretical framework of forensic analysis of landslides.

3. To study various methodologies used in forensic analysis of



• Landslide = The movement of a mass of rock, debris or earth down

the slope.
• It is a downward or outward movement of soil, rock or vegetation
under the influence of gravity.
• Landslide refers to several forms of mass wasting that include a wide
range of ground movements.

Causes Of Landslide
• Landslides occur when the slope changes from a stable to an
unstable condition.

Category Slope angle

Cliff > 80°
Precipitous 50°-80°
Very steep or steep 20°-50°
Moderate slope 6°-20°
Gentle slope 1°-6°
Flat terrain < 1° 4
Natural Causes
• Groundwater pressure acting to destabilize the slope

• Loss of vertical vegetative structure

• Erosion of the toe of a slope by rivers or ocean waves

• Weakening of a slope through saturation by snow melting, glaciers melting or heavy rain

• Earthquakes adding loads to barely stable slope

• Earthquake-caused liquefaction destabilizing slopes

• Volcanic eruptions
Anthropogenic Causes

 Deforestation, cultivation and construction, which destabilize the already fragile slopes.

 Vibrations from machinery or traffic

 Blasting

 Earthwork which alters the shape of a slope, or which imposes new loads on an existing

 In shallow soils, the removal of deep-rooted vegetation that binds colluvium to bedrock

 Construction, agricultural activities which change the amount of water infiltrating the soil.
Factors Affecting Landslide Classification

1) Type of movement
6) Geological conditions
2) Involved material
7) Morphological characteristics
3) Activity
8) Geographical location
4) Movement velocity
9) Topographical criteria
5) The age of the movement
10) Type of climate

11) Causes of the movements 7

Types Of Landslides
Type of movement Type of material
Bedrock Engineering soils
Predominantly fine Predominantly coarse
Falls Rockfall Earth fall Debris fall
Topples Rock topple Earth topple Debris topple
Slides Rotational Rock slump Earth slump Debris slump
Translational Few units Rock block slide Earth block slide Debris block slide
Many units Rock slide Earth slide Debris slide
Lateral spreads Rock spread Earth spread Debris spread
Flows Rock flow Earth flow Debris flow
Rock avalanche Debris avalanche
(Deep creep) (Soil creep)
Complex and compound Combination in time and/or space of two or more principal
types of movement
Rotational Slides Translational Slides Rock Fall Rock Toppling

Lateral Spreading Debris Flow Velocity Comparison Of Mass Movement

Effects Of Landslides

• Lead to economic decline

• Decimation of infrastructure
• Loss of life
• Affects beauty of landscapes
• Impacts river ecosystems

Forensic Analysis Of Landslides

• It is a series of different exploration procedures aimed at characterization

of subsurface conditions necessary to understand the mechanics of slope
failure defined by kinematic landslide model and to develop appropriate
engineering remedial measures.

Steps Involved In Analysis

1) Preliminary work -
 Study of archival materials
 Terrain reconnaissance
 Talk to local people
 Conceptual engineering, geological model

2) Landslide investigation -
 Engineering geological mapping
 Longitudinal and cross sections
 Boreholes, trial pits, rock and soil sampling, field tests,
 Laboratory tests

3) Finding the depth of rupture surface-
4) Monitoring -
 Monitoring of deformation
 Monitoring of hydro-geological features, GWL and pore
pressure fluctuation, spring yield
 Measurement of stress
 Indirect methods -geophysics

5) Methods of prognosis -
 Spatial prognosis
 Prognosis of mechanisms and dimension of failure
 Time prognosis

Methodologies Of Slope Stability Analysis
1. Bishop’s Method of Slices- It is used when the slope consists of different
soil layers with varying c and ɸ values.

• Driving forces = ∑T; Resisting force = ∑cL + tan ɸ∑N

• Factor of safety = Resisting Force / Driving Force

• Laboratory tests required- soil classification tests , compaction tests etc.

2. Back Analysis of The Failed Slope –

• Factor of safety =unity.

• To determine the shear strength parameters of the slope at failure,

the method proposed by Duncan and Stark (1992) is used. This
method enables the estimation of friction angle from the known
values of plasticity index and hence one can back-calculate the
cohesion parameter at the moment of failure.
• Known parameters:
Factor of safety =1,
Length of failure surface,
Plasticity Index
• Unknown parameters:
Friction angle, cohesion.

Factor of safety = 1 = cL + tan ɸ ∑N / ∑T

• Using FLAC 2D one can determine the pre-slide shear strength
parameters of the slope. It is understood that stable slopes have
factor of safety greater than 1 and in most natural soil slopes the
conventional factor of safety assumed for stable slope is 1.5 or
greater than 1.5

• Mohr coulomb model is used as material model in the analysis.

• Comparing pre-slide and failure state strength parameters one can

conclude cause of failure. 20
Statistical Approach For Mechanically Stabilized Earth
(MSE) Structures Reinforced With Geosynthetics

Most Probable Factors A rating scale (rs) of 0 (negligible) to 5

Causing MSE Failures (extremely considerable) was used to indicate
the likelihood of the failure having been
triggered by a particular cause.

Generic causes and
observed technical
errors of MSE failure

Summary and Conclusions
• In today’s litigious society the failure of a geotechnical engineering project brings
together the engineering and legal professions to resolve the conflict of responsibility
for the failure.

• Rainfall events have been the major triggering factors of landslides in many areas.

• In most of the cases initial steps are almost same in the analysis. The main aim is to find
the cause of instability of slopes. There are various methods available for stability
analysis of slopes. Based on severity of damage caused by landslides, analysis is to be
performed by selecting a proper method. 23
Summary and Conclusions

• To validate the results obtained by method of slope stability various software

programs can be used. Analysis performed using software confirms the accuracy of
slope stability methods.

• The statistical approach has been used extensively for decades in forensic studies,
because it can be used to summarize or interpret sophisticated information and is the
means of communicating the results of observations to engineers.
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