Stability analysis of rainfall-induced landslides: A case study of a hilly area in Bangladesh

  • Ripon Hore(PhD) Adjunct Faculty, East-West University and Senior Assistant Engineer, LGED, Bangladesh
Keywords: Antecedent rainfall, landslide, slope stability, suction, seepage, unsaturated soil.


Rainfall-induced landslides stand as the prevailing geohazard in tropical and subtropical regions. The ongoing global climatic changes have introduced a wave of anomalous rainfall events across the world. These abnormal weather patterns have triggered numerous landslide incidents, resulting in significant loss of life and property. To develop early warning systems for such threats to people in mountainous areas of Chittagong, Bangladesh, it requires an in-depth understanding of the geo-environmental properties of soil slopes under heavy rainfall. Historical records reveal that rainfall in total exceeding 150–250 mm has resulted in both localized slope collapses and debris floods. When it rains heavily, rainwater infiltrates initially unsaturated slopes, elevating the degree of saturation while decreasing soil suction. Consequently, the reduced shear strength along the critical slip surface diminishes the factor of safety (FoS), and slope failure occurs. As a result, studies of soil-water characteristics have been conducted, followed by laboratory testing at the impacted sites, and the study found that rainfall and soil type (fine-grained silt) were the most critical factors behind landslides. The mechanism of slope failure is also demonstrated using a simple numerical infiltration model and a slope stability equation. The soil characteristics, the saturated volumetric water content (θs), closely match the field water holding capacity (θf), with a minor difference of 4-8%, and the drainage condition at the bottom of the slope appear to be important factors. Application of these test results to an early warning system for landslides and flash floods is finally demonstrated based on some simplifying assumptions.


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