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Simulating Infiltration Processes into Fractured and Swelling Soils as Triggering Factors of Landslides


The influence of rainfall in triggering landslides is a widely discussed topic in scientific literature. The slope stability of fractured surface soils is often influenced by the soil suction. Rainfall, infiltrating into soil fractures, causes the decrease in soil suction and shear strength, which can trigger the collapse of surface soil horizons. Water flow through fractured soils can also be affected by soil swelling and by capillary barrier effects in the case of low permeable soil overlying a more permeable one. These conditions are rarely investigated by the existing models, especially from the point of view of rainfall triggering surface landslides. For this purpose, we have developed a dual-porosity model that simulates water flow through fractured swelling soils overlying a more permeable soil. The model has been applied to a soil profile consisting of a thin layer of fractured loamy soil above a coarse sand layer, in order to investigate the influence of different rainfall intensities on the infiltration process, and on the distribution of the pore pressure that affects slope stability. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013.

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