Landslide Risk Management

General Public Quiz

This module is directed towards members of the general public of Australia, with particular relevance to those interested in the potential impact of landslide events upon themselves, or upon their property.

This module is particularly to provide a broad introduction to the philosophy and concepts embedded within the broad topic of risk management as it applies to landslides within Australia.

This module is applicable to you if you:

  • Are involved with a building development within a local government area that is prone to landslide events (of one form or another) and are required to have a landslide risk assessment conducted prior to gaining building approval; or
  • Are adjacent to (beside, above or below) a proposed development which requires a landslide risk assessment prior to its approval, and you are therefore an interested party; or
  • You are aware of landslide hazards within public property; or
  • You are interested in the topic in general terms;

The format of this module is a series of questions to step you through the concepts involved in Landslide Risk management (LRM) and to familiarise you with the terminology and jargon that you may encounter.

Question 1 of 10

1. What is a landslide?

  • uncontrolled downhill movement of soil
  • uncontrolled downhill movement of rock
  • all or any of the above

Landslides can be of many types and involve most natural materials.

1. What is a landslide?

What is a landslide?

Other explanations exist, such as that offered by the United States Geological Survey, USGS (2008) uses the following explanation: “Geologists, engineers, and other professional often rely on unique and slightly different definitions of landslides. This diversity in definitions reflects the complex nature of the many disciplines associated with studying landslide phenomena. For our purposes, landslide is a general term used to describe the downslope movement of soil, rock and organic materials under the effects of gravity and also landform that results from such movement.” (however, does not mention the impact of groundwater and surface storm water upon instability of slopes, which should not be underestimated). The basic landslide types are: fall, topple, slide, spread or flow.

Ref: US Geological Survey (2008) “The Landslide handbook: a guide to understanding landslides”, Circular 1325, United States Geological Survey and geological Survey of Canada, LM Highland & P Bobrowsky (eds).

There are some excellent video resources on a site called The Landslide Blog posted by Dr David Petley

In particular he has a past blog listing 20 best landslide videos which are all pretty impressive and exciting as far as landslides go!

Landslide videos

USGS website

USGS The Landslide Handbook – a guide to understanding landslides

Maierato, Italy February 2010

Maierato, Italy February 2010

Wales Rockfall, 2011

Nara Prefecture, Japan, 2004

Landslides occur in many types of materials and are of various types:

The US Transport Research Board (1978) notes that “The factors of geology, topography, and climate that interact to cause landslides are the same regardless of the use to which man puts a given piece of land. The methods for examination of landslides are equally applicable to problems in all kinds of natural or human environment. And the known methods for prevention or correction of landslides are, within economic limits, independent of the use to which the land is put.”

[US Transport Research Board (1978) “Landslides: analysis & control”, Special Report 176, National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, Schuster RL & Krizek RJ (eds)]