Managing Landslide Dam Failure Risks


Limin Zhang
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Kowloon, Hong Kong


The failure of a large dam can be disastrous. For example, the failure of the Banqiao dam in Henan, China, in August 1975 resulted in the loss of over 26,000 lives; the failure of the South Fork dam in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1,889 killed 2,209 people. Natural dams formed by landslides are particularly short lived and prone to failure. Particularly, a strong earthquake can lead to many landslide dams. For example, the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 triggered more than 60,000 landslides, over 250 of them blocked rivers and formed risky landslide dams.

April 12, 2020