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Centennial-scale process activity in a complex landslide body in the Qilian Mountains, northeast Tibetan Plateau, China

Authors
Zhang, Yong
Liang, Eryuan
Shao, Xuemei
Published in Catena. 2019, vol. 179, p. 29-38
Abstract Mass movements in China typically encompass landslides, rockfalls, and debris flows, and these processes affect almost 70% of all mountain areas of China. An improved understanding of geomorphic process dynamics and their drivers and process histories are important prerequisites for a proper assessment and a sustainable management of mountain hazards. Tree rings have on varied occasions proven to be a reliable tool for the acquisition of data on past mountain hazards. Here we present the first reconstruction of past landslide activity on a slope in the Qilian Mountains, northeast Tibetan Plateau, China. To this end, a total of 543 Qilian juniper (Sabina przewalskii Kom.) samples were selected from 239 trees growing on or next to a complex landslide body, with the aim to reconstruct past landslide histories at the site. The dataset of disturbed trees was complemented with 174 increment cores from 84 reference Qilian juniper trees growing on three adjacent, yet undisturbed sites. Based on the dating of the samples and the interpretation of growth disturbances (GD) in the tree-ring series of affected trees, we provide the first reconstruction of past landslides as retrieved from a dendrogeomorphic record covering more than a millennium (956–2011 CE). Results show that the first detectable GD occurred as early as in 1042 CE, followed by seven major landslide reccurrences in 1703, 1816, 1848, 1863, 1913, 1970, and 1982. Comparison between our landslide record and a dendroclimatic precipitation reconstruction points to the crucial role of major, longer-term wet precipitation anomalies on landslide occurrence.
Keywords Tree ringLandslideAbnormal growthQilian Mountains
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ZHANG, Yong et al. Centennial-scale process activity in a complex landslide body in the Qilian Mountains, northeast Tibetan Plateau, China. In: Catena, 2019, vol. 179, p. 29-38. doi: 10.1016/j.catena.2019.03.036 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:122424

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Deposited on : 2019-09-02

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