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Phys Rev Lett. 2009 Oct 30;103(18):188301. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

Quick clay and landslides of clayey soils.

Author information

1
van der Waals-Zeeman Institute, University of Amsterdam, Valckenierstraat 65, 1018XE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

We study the rheology of quick clay, an unstable soil responsible for many landslides. We show that above a critical stress the material starts flowing abruptly with a very large viscosity decrease caused by the flow. This leads to avalanche behavior that accounts for the instability of quick clay soils. Reproducing landslides on a small scale in the laboratory shows that an additional factor that determines the violence of the slides is the inhomogeneity of the flow. We propose a simple yield stress model capable of reproducing the laboratory landslide data, allowing us to relate landslides to the measured rheology.

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