Probabilistic analysis of a discrete element modelling of the runout behavior of the Jiweishan landslide

Bing Li, Wenping Gong, Huiming Tang, Zongxing Zou, Victor Mwango Bowa, C. Hsein Juang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Landslide is one of the most destructive geohazards around the world. The destruction of a landslide can be estimated from its deformation and runout behaviors, which might be simulated with numerical software such as particle flow code (PFC). In the PFC simulation of the runout behavior of a landslide, the results are dependent upon the particle-particle contact micro-parameters (e.g., contact modulus and friction coefficient). The calibration of the micro-parameters of the PFC models is a challenge and various uncertainties are involved. The uncertainty in the selection of the modelling parameters leads to uncertainty in the simulated runout behavior of the landslide. As a result, the damage potential of the landslide cannot be accurately evaluated. To this end, this paper presents a probabilistic analysis of the runout behavior of the Jiweishan landslide, in which the uncertainty in the selection of the particle-particle contact micro-parameters is explicitly considered. Here, the input micro-parameters are modeled as discrete random variables, the possible realizations of which are obtained through an orthogonal analysis of the PFC simulation-based uniaxial compression tests. The derived possible realizations of the micro-parameters are then adopted as the inputs to the built model of the landslide. With the results obtained from these PFC simulations, the runout behaviors of the Jiweishan landslide, such as the runout distance and the deposit thickness, are studied probabilistically. The results provide an improved estimate of the landslide runout behavior and further aid in making an informed risk assessment of the landslide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1120-1138
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2021


  • landslide
  • micro-parameters
  • particle flow code (PFC)
  • probabilistic analysis
  • runout behavior


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