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Large earthquakes often cause widespread landsliding that alters landscapes and presents significant hazards to human safety and the built environment. For example, the 2008, Mw 7.9 Wenchuan, China earthquake triggered more than 56,000 landslides that killed about 20,000 people. Predicting the occurrence and nature of coseismic landslides remains elusive largely because limitations on laboratory apparatus and a lack of instrumental field observations have precluded understanding the basic response of geologic materials to seismically induced shearing. Coastal Oregon, USA is a region of numerous landslides and great subduction-zone earthquakes that recur every 300-500 yrs, the most recent of which occurred during January 1700. Reactivation of existing landslides during future great earthquakes could threaten human safety because many of these slides potentially impact tsunami evacuation and emergency response routes.
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Coseismic landslide reactivation characteristics determined from dynamic ring-shear testing