To further the understanding of the mechanics of landslide flow, we present a model that predicts many of the observed attributes of landslides. The model is based on an integration of the hyperbolic differential equations for stress and velocity fields in a two-dimensional, inclined, semi-infinite half-space of Coulomb plastic material under elevated pore pressure and gravity.
Our landslide model predicts commonly observed features. For example, compressive (passive), plug, or extending (active) flow will occur under appropriate longitudinal strain rates. Also, the model predicts that longitudinal stresses increase elliptically with depth to the basal slide plane, and that stress and velocity characteristics, surfaces along which discontinuities in stress and velocity are propagated, are coincident. Finally, the model shows how thrust and normal faults develop at the landslide surface in compressive and extending flow.