This paper describes a general method for determining the amount of earthquake-induced landsliding that occurs in a seismically active region over time; this determination can be used as a quantitative measure of the long-term hazard from seismically triggered landslides as well as a measure of the importance of this process to regional slope-erosion rates and landscape evolution. The method uses data from historical earthquakes to relate total volume of landslide material dislodged by an earthquake to the magnitude, M, and seismic moment, M0, of the earthquake. From worldwide data, a linear-regression relation between landslide volume, V, and M0 is determined as: V = M0/1018.9(?? 0.13), where V is measured in m3 and M0 is in dyn-cm. To determine the amount of earthquake-generated landsliding over time, this relation is combined with data on seismic-moment release for a particular region, which may be derived from either earthquake-history or fault-slip data. The form of the M0-V relation allows the rate of production of earthquake-induced landslides over time to be determined from total rate of seismic-moment release without regard to the distribution of individual events, thus simplifying and generalizing the determination. Application of the method to twelve seismically active regions, with areas ranging from 13,275 to 2,308,000 km2, shows that erosion rates from earthquake-induced landslides vary significantly from region to region. Of the regions studied, the highest rates were determined for the island of Hawaii, New Zealand, western New Guinea, and the San Francisco Bay region of California. Significantly lower rates were determined for Iran, Tibet, the Sierra Nevada-Great Basin region of California, and central Japan (for the time period from 715 AD to the present). Intermediate rates were determined for Peru, southern California, onshore California, Turkey, and central Japan (for the time period from 1586 AD to the present). To determine the relative, long-term importance of seismically triggered landslides, these erosion rates are compared to erosion rates calculated for other slope processes and to rates calculated from fluvial sediment discharge. Comparisons with other slope processes indicate that earthquake-induced landslides are the predominant agents of slope erosion on the island of Hawaii, in the San Francisco Bay region, and in western New Guinea. For Hawaii, the San Francisco Bay region, and Sierra Nevada-Great Basin region of California, the erosion rates calculated for earthquake-induced landslides also exceed the regional erosion rates calculated from fluvial sediment discharge. ?? 1994.
Additional publication details
The importance of earthquake-induced landslides to long-term slope erosion and slope-failure hazards in seismically active regions