We measured displacement, pore-water pressure, and climatic conditions for 3 years at the continuously moving Slumgullion landslide in Colorado, USA. The landslide accelerated when pore-water pressure increased within the landslide body, but this occurred as pore-water pressure decreased along the landslide margin. The decrease probably occurred in response to shear-induced soil dilation at rates greater than pore-pressure diffusion and likely increased resistance to shear displacement and resulted in landslide deceleration. This dilative strengthening has been experimentally observed and explained theoretically, but not previously identified during field studies. Although landslide displacement should have exceeded that required to achieve critical-state density of shear boundaries, observed relocation of these boundaries indicates that shearing is episodic at fixed locations, so it permits renewed dilative strengthening when "fresh" soil is sheared. Thus, dilatant strengthening may be a considerable mechanism controlling landslide velocity, even for landslides that have continuously moved great distances. ?? Springer-Verlag 2009.
Additional publication details
Relations between hydrology and velocity of a continuously moving landslide-evidence of pore-pressure feedback regulating landslide motion?