Landslide seismic magnitude

C. H. Lin, J. C. Jan, H. C. Pu, Y. Tu, C. C. Chen, Y. M. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Landslides have become one of the most deadly natural disasters on earth, not only due to a significant increase in extreme climate change caused by global warming, but also rapid economic development in topographic relief areas. How to detect landslides using a real-time system has become an important question for reducing possible landslide impacts on human society. However, traditional detection of landslides, either through direct surveys in the field or remote sensing images obtained via aircraft or satellites, is highly time consuming. Here we analyze very long period seismic signals (20-50 s) generated by large landslides such as Typhoon Morakot, which passed though Taiwan in August 2009. In addition to successfully locating 109 large landslides, we define landslide seismic magnitude based on an empirical formula: Lm = log(A) + 0.55 log(δ) + 2.44, where A is the maximum displacement (μm) recorded at one seismic station and δ is its distance (km) from the landslide. We conclude that both the location and seismic magnitude of large landslides can be rapidly estimated from broadband seismic networks for both academic and applied purposes, similar to earthquake monitoring. We suggest a real-time algorithm be set up for routine monitoring of landslides in places where they pose a frequent threat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-127
Number of pages6
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Hsiaolin landslide
  • Landslide
  • Landslide prevention
  • Seismic b-value
  • Seismic magnitude


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