This page is not intended to be a substitute for professional geotechnical advice and should not be relied on as geotechnical advice by individuals or other professionals to make site-specific decisions. Always seek advice from professional geotechnical engineers.

A well-known soil engineer once emphasised, “The major causes of landslides in order of importance are water, water, and more water.”

Landslides are often caused by subsurface water flow and high moisture content in the soil. Lateral support removal, such as through stream erosion and canal, quarry, and reservoir cuts, can also trigger landslides. Other factors include natural disasters like earthquakes, underlying support removal like coal mining, lateral pressure, and intergranular forces, such as excess water pressure, buoyancy, and capillary tensions seepage forces.

How to prevent landslides

In order to minimise the risk of landslides, it is crucial to undertake comprehensive landslide risk assessments. BHM offers landslide risk assessment services that comply with the guidelines set out by the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) on Landslide Risk Assessments.

Controlling surface and subsurface water is crucial in reducing activating forces and increasing resisting forces or avoiding potential damaging locations. Identifying potential issues before or during the design process is important, as alternative areas can be considered. Other measures such as flattening slopes, lowering grades, completing excavations or blasting may also be necessary.

It is important to note that future construction may impact the stability of existing slopes. Geotechnical engineers are equipped to identify the potential landslide problems and develop plans to mitigate them.

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