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Landslide Mechanics

A proper understanding of Landslide Mechanics can reduce risk

Landslide MechanicsSoil and loose rock in almost all areas has a natural tendency to move, creep or “slide” incrementally over time. In effect, there are “landslides” occurring all around us, all the time. This slow movement of small amounts of soil over long periods of time does not pose any significant risks and is easily managed.

However, sometimes a situation arises in which soil and rock start to slide with increasing velocity, and as they move, they dislodge more material, so the volume of the slide increases exponentially as well. This type of high-velocity, high-volume movement is what most people think of when they hear the term “landslide”. This type of landslide can have a catastrophic effect on communities living in its path.

The field of landslide mechanics is primarily concerned with preventing or providing an early warning about possible landslides by collecting relevant data and implementing measures to better manage soil bodies in sensitive areas.  Landslide mechanics is a highly specialized field, requiring participants to have very specific knowledge and expertise.

Senior geotechnical specialist Kathy Kalenchuk has a Ph.D. focused on landslide mechanics.  With her expertise, MDEng offers services in natural slope instability assessment and mitigation design.  Our main focus of expertise is on large rock slopes, and our services include:

  • Landslide morphology mapping and geomechanical data collection for site investigation
  • Site characterization (rock mass classification, domain delineation, landslide activity zoning)
  • Interpretation of slope monitoring data, assessment of slope behaviour, and guidance for ground monitoring system layout and design
  • Analysis of slope kinematics and dynamics
  • Sophisticated two- and three-dimensional numerical modelling, with focus on defining geomechanical and geological factors controlling the nature of slope instability and calibrating (where data is available) to reproduce observed deformation patterns