Tsao-ling rockslides, Taiwan

Ju Jiang Hung, Chyi Tyi Lee, Ming Lang Lin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

29 Scopus citations


On the mountainous island of Taiwan, where earthquakes and typhoons are common, many landslide disasters occur. The Tsao-Ling rockslides are perhaps the bestknown landslides in Taiwan. Between 1862 and 1979, four large catastrophic rockslides occurred on the southwest slope of Mount Tsao-Ling. These multimillion cubic meter mass movements created substantial landslide dams on the Ching-Shui River, which flows at the toe of the Tsao-Ling slope. The failures of these landslide dams resulted in additional catastrophes, which, in three cases, occurred years after the rockslide event. On December 17,1941, a rockslide involving a mass movement of more than 80 × 10 6 m 3 occurred on the dip slope forming the southwest flank of Mount Tsao-Ling, triggered by a strong earthquake. On August 10,1942, heavy rain caused another rockslide on the same slope, and more than 100 × 10 6 m 3 of rock slid down the Tsao-Ling dip slope. The Ching-Shui River was dammed with rock debris. The landslide dam (140-200 m high, 4800 m wide at base) was overtopped on May 18, 1951 and 120 × 10 6 m 3 of impounded water was suddenly released. More than 100 human lives were lost. On August 15, 1979, heavy rain caused a breakaway failure from the lower part of the remaining slope. The slide mass collided with the original debris dam and the Ching-Shui River was once again dammed. The landslide dam was overtopped on August 24,1979. From 1980 to 1993, intensive investigations in the greater Tsao-Ling area were undertaken. We conclude that a further rockslide involving a mass movement of 50 × 10 6 m 3 or so is possible.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCatastrophic Landslides
Subtitle of host publicationEffects, Occurrence, and Mechanisms
PublisherGeological Society of America
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)0813741157, 9780813741154
StatePublished - 2002

Publication series

NameGSA Reviews in Engineering Geology
ISSN (Print)0080-2018


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