GIS-based three-dimensional slope stability analysis considering rainfall infiltration

Ning Jia, Zhaohui Yang, Mowen Xie, Yasuhiro Mitani, Jianxing Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Rainfall-induced landslides are a major cause of slope failure in mountainous areas. As rainfall begins to infiltrate a slope the wetting front advances into the soil and reduces its shear strength. Slope failures occur when the reduced shear strength becomes less than the resisting shear strength needed for equilibrium. These areas of instability are usually located near the ground surface where pore-water pressure changes rapidly during infiltration. The wetting front depth in a slope plays an important role in slope stability. In this study a well-known infiltration model, the Green and Ampt model, is integrated into three GIS-based three-dimensional limit equilibrium methods to assess the impact of rainfall on slope stability. This infiltration model can predict the depth of the wetting front during steady and unsteady rainfall. The applied three-dimensional methods are modified according to different positions of the wetting front to reflect the influence of rainfall on slope stability. This approach is capable of calculating safety factors corresponding to individual rainfall events and is also capable of predicting the corresponding failure time. The accuracy of the presented study has been verified by simulating the failure process of a real landslide triggered by a rainstorm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-931
Number of pages13
JournalBulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 27 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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