Acute Sensitivity of Landslide Rates to Initial Soil Porosity

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2000-10-20
Authors
Iverson, Richard
Reid, M.
LaHusen, R.
Logan, M.
Mann, J.
Brien, D.
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Iverson, Neal
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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

The Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences offers majors in three areas: Geology (traditional, environmental, or hydrogeology, for work as a surveyor or in mineral exploration), Meteorology (studies in global atmosphere, weather technology, and modeling for work as a meteorologist), and Earth Sciences (interdisciplinary mixture of geology, meteorology, and other natural sciences, with option of teacher-licensure).

History
The Department of Geology and Mining was founded in 1898. In 1902 its name changed to the Department of Geology. In 1965 its name changed to the Department of Earth Science. In 1977 its name changed to the Department of Earth Sciences. In 1989 its name changed to the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences.

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1898-present

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  • Department of Geology and Mining (1898-1902)
  • Department of Geology (1902-1965)
  • Department of Earth Science (1965-1977)
  • Department of Earth Sciences (1977-1989)

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Abstract

Some landslides move imperceptibly downslope, whereas others accelerate catastrophically. Experimental landslides triggered by rising pore water pressure moved at sharply contrasting rates due to small differences in initial porosity. Wet sandy soil with porosity of about 0.5 contracted during slope failure, partially liquefied, and accelerated within 1 second to speeds over 1 meter per second. The same soil with porosity of about 0.4 dilated during failure and slipped episodically at rates averaging 0.002 meter per second. Repeated slip episodes were induced by gradually rising pore water pressure and were arrested by pore dilation and attendant pore pressure decline.

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This article is from Science 290 (2000): 513, doi:10.1126/science.290.5491.513.

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