Seismic response of a mountain ridge prone to landsliding

Claire Rault*, Wei An Chao, Céline Gelis, Arnaud Burtin, Jui Ming Chang, Odin Marc, Tz Shin Lai, Yih Min Wu, Niels Hovius, Patrick Meunier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


During an earthquake, site effects can play an important role in triggering landslides. To document the seismic response of steep hillslopes, we deployed broadband seismometers across a mountain ridge in Taiwan, in an area with a high earthquake-induced landslide hazard. The ridge has a simple, representative shape, and landslides have previously occurred there. Our seismometer array has recorded continuously during more than 1 yr, with both ambient-noise and regional moderate earthquakes as sources. Processing horizontal and vertical signal components, we show that the ridge has a complex response, which we attribute to the combined effects of the subsurface geology and the topographic geometry. Amplification and directionality of ground motion are observed both high and low on the ridge, giving rise to localized, elevated, earth-quake-induced landslide hazard. Our database contains earthquakes with mostly similar locations, making it difficult to determine the effect of earthquake back azimuth on the ridge response. A part of the ridge response, possibly due to topographic effects, seems to be explained by a model derived from a frequency scale curvature proxy at low frequency. If correct, this would be a promising first step toward improving local ground-motion estimation in mountain areas. However, the definition of appropriate scaling parameters of site effects based on geophysical measurements, for use in regional and global landslide hazard equations applicable to mountain areas with substantial regolith thickness, remains a significant challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3004-3020
Number of pages17
JournalBulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Seismic response of a mountain ridge prone to landsliding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this