Sequential processes in a landslide hazard at a slate quarry in Okayama, Japan

Hiroshi Suwa, T. Mizuno, S. Suzuki, Y. Yamamoto, K. Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The 12 March 2001 landslide at a slate quarry in Okayama, Japan killed three workers. Composite studies based on field surveys of the landslide slope, interviews with local residents and quarry workers, and inspections of hydrological and seismological data have been used to clarify the causes of this slide and its movements. The results indicate that the landslide was enabled firstly by the steepness of the slope, which had been undercut by river; secondly, the structure was that of a dip-slope that was prone to deep-seated slides along bedding planes; thirdly, numerous joints and faults were present. Surprisingly, rainfall, earthquakes, and explosions do not appear to have played any role in the triggering of this slide. The interviews demonstrated that the frequency of precursory failures increased over a period of several hours before the 12 March 2001 landslide. Inspection of the seismograph records and the eyewitness evidence both indicate that the main part of the landslide consisted of two phases of slope failure within 23 s. After the slide, the frequency of the failures gradually decreased with time over a period of several days. Three new terms are proposed for landslides: foreslide, mainslide, and afterslide, following the terms foreshock, main shock, and aftershock used in seismology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Dip-slope
  • Landslide
  • Precursor
  • Progressive failure
  • Quarry
  • Undercut slope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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