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Hydrological control shift from river level to rainfall in the reactivated Guobu slope besides the Laxiwa hydropower station in China

September 1, 2021

Landslides are common geohazards associated with natural drivers such as precipitation, land degradation, toe erosion by rivers and wave attack, and ground shaking. On the other hand, human alterations such as inundation by water impoundment or rapid drawdown may also destabilize the surrounding slopes. The Guobu slope is an ancient rockslide on the banks of the Laxiwa hydropower station reservoir (China), which reactivated during the reservoir impoundment in 2009. We extracted three-dimensional surface displacements with azimuth and range radar interferometry using European Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel-1 and German Aerospace Center's TerraSAR-X data during 20152019. The upper part of the Guobu rockslide is characterized by toppling and is mostly subsiding with maximum rates over 0.4 m/yr and 0.7 m/yr in the vertical and horizontal directions, respectively. During filling of the reservoir prior to 2014, there was a long-wavelength in-phase response between rising reservoir level and GPS-observed increased slope movements. After the reservoir water level stabilized from 2015 to 2019, the slide movement became seasonal and we see a correlation between rainfall and landslide movement. These observations suggest that the slide motion is now primarily controlled by rainfall. The spatiotemporal landslide displacements allow us to estimate the hydraulic diffusivity of the rock mass, to be on the order (~1.05 × 10‐7 m2/s) and the thickness of the moving rock mass (~200 m). Our results demonstrate that InSAR is a useful tool for monitoring the rockslide movement as a function of seasonal precipitation.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Hydrological control shift from river level to rainfall in the reactivated Guobu slope besides the Laxiwa hydropower station in China
DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2021.112664
Authors Xuguo Shi, Xie Hu, Nicholas Sitar, Robert Kayen, Shengwen Qi, Houjun Jiang, Xudong Wang
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Remote Sensing of Environment
Series Number
Index ID 70225763
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center