Effect of Dry-wet Cycle on the Formation of Loess Slope Spalling Hazards

Yuyu Zhang, Wanjun Ye


This paper investigates the effect of dry-wet cycle process on the formation of loess slope spalling hazards. Based on the CT scan tests and macroscopic fissures analysis, the fissure variation law of loess samples under different dry-wet cycle times were determined. Through the laboratory direct shear tests, the variation law of shear strength, cohesion and angle of internal friction of loess samples under different dry-wet cycle times and different dry-wet cycle water content variation ranges were discussed. The results show that the natural water contents of Luo-chuan loess were higher than Tong-chuan loess due to it’s higher contents of clay particles. With the increase of dry-wet cycle times, the internal fissure numbers of loess samples increased dramatically. The value of shear strength and cohesion of loess samples in two different areas decreased dramatically due to the increase of dry-wet cycle times. Higher water content variation ranges of dry-wet cycles leaded to lower shear strength of loess samples under the same dry-wet cycle times. Loess slope spalling hazards often happened due to the decrease of shear strength and the occurrence of internal fissures in loess induced by the dry-wet cycle process.


Loess Slope; Slope Spalling Hazards; Dry-wet Cycle; CT Scan; Direct Shear Test.


L.Z Wu, Y. Zhou, P. Sun, J.S. Shi, G.G. Liu, L.Y. Bai. “Laboratory characterization of rainfall-induced loess slope failure”. Catena. 150 (November 2016): 1-8. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2016.11.002.

Derbyshire, E. Meng, X. M, Dijkstra, T.A. “Landslides in the Thick Loess Terrain of North-West China. Engineering Geology”. 59 (January 2001): 201-202. DOI: 10.1016/S0013-7952(00)00067-3.

Wang, H.B., Zhou, B., Wu, S.R., Shi, J.S. “Characteristic analysis of large-scale loess landslides: a case study in Baoji City of Loess Plateau of Northwest of China”. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. 11 ( July 2011): 1829-1837. DOI: 10.5194/nhess-11-1829-2011.

Peng J.B, Fan, Z. J, Wu D., Zhuang J.Q. “Heavy rainfall triggered loess-mudstone landslide and subsequent debris flow in Tianshui, China”. Engineering Geology. 186 (August 2014): 79-90. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enggeo.2014.08.015.

Wang, G,H., Zhang, D.X., Furuya, G., Yang, J. “Pore-pressure generation and fluidization in a loess landslide triggered by the 1920 Haiyuan earthquake, China: a case study”. Engineering Geology, 174 (March 2014) : 46-45. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enggeo.2014.03.006.

Zhang, M.S., Liu, J. “Controlling factors of loess landslides in western China”. Environment Earth Sciences, 59 (2010): 1671-1680. DOI: 10.1007/s12665-009-0149-7.

Wang, J.J, Liang, J.Y., Zhang, H.P., Wu, Y. “A loess landslide induced by excavation and rainfall”. Landslides. 11 (February 2014): 14-152. DOI: 10.1007/s10346-013-0418-0.

Shi, J.S, Wu L.Z, Wu S.R., Li B., Wang, T., Xin, P. “Analysis of the causes of large-scale loess landslide in Baoji, China”. Geomorphology. 264 (January 2016): 109-117. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2016.04.013.

Anderson S.A., Sitar N. “Analysis of rainfall-induced debris flows”. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering”. 121 (July 1995): 544-552. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9410(1995)121:7(544).

Sorbino G., Nicotera, M.V. “Unsaturated soil mechanics in rainfall-induced flow landslides”. Engineering Geology. 165 (October 2013):105-132. DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2012.10.008.

Xu L, Qiao X.J, Wu C.X, Dai F.C. “Cause of landslide recurrence in a loess platform with respect to hydrological processess”. Natural Hazards. 64 (2012): 1657-1670. DOI: 10.1007/s11069-012-0326-y.

Pranshoo Solanki, Musharraf Zaman. “Effect of wet-dry cycling on the mechanical properties of stabilize subgrade soils”. 6 (February 2014): 250-256. Geotechnical Special Publication. Doi: 10.1061/9780784413272.351.

Xing rong Liu, Zi juan Wang. “Macro/Microtesting and Damage and Degradation of Sandstones under Dry-Wet Cycles”. Advances in Materials. 1 (Janaury 2016): 1-16. DOI: 10.1155/2016/7013032.

Jie Xiao, He-ping Yang, Jun-hui Zhang, Xian-yuan Tang. “Surficial Failure of Expansive Soil Cutting Slope and Its Flexible Support Treatment Technology”. Applied Mechanics and Materials. 35 (2018): 30-42. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1609608.

Ai Bing Jin, Fu Geng Deng. “Research on Stability Mechanism of Fissured Loess Slope Influenced by Rainfall and Evaporation”. 170 (May 2012): 380-385. DOI: 10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMM.170-173.380.

H. Rahardjo, E. C. Leong. “Effect of antecedent rainfall on pore-water pressure distribution characteristics in residual soil slopes under tropical rainfall”. Hydrological Processes. 22 (February 2018): 506-523. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6880.

S.E. Cho, S.R. Lee. “Instability of unsaturated soil slopes due to infiltration”. Computers and Geotechnics. 28 (April 2001): 185-208. DOI: 10.1016/S0266-352X(00)00027-6.

Ren-ming Ma, Chongfa Cai. “Evaluation of soil aggregate microstructure and stability under wetting and drying cycles in two Ultisols using synchrotron-based X-ray micro-computed tomography”. Soil and Tillage Research. 149 (June 2015): 120-125. DOI: 10.1016/j.still.2014.12.016.

Pires, L.F., Cooper. Micromorphological analysis to characterize structure modifications of soil samples submitted to wetting and drying cycles. Catena. 72 (January 2008): 297-304. DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2007.06.003/.

Tripathy, S., Kanakapura, S., Rao, S. Cyclic swell-shrink behavior of a compacted expansive soil. Geotechnical and Geological Engineering. 27 (February 2009): 89-103. DOI: 10.1007/s10706-008-9214-3.

Goh, S.G., Rahardjo, H., Leong, E.C. Shear strength equations for unsaturated soil under drying and wetting. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. 136 (April 2010): 594-606. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0000261.

Tang, C.S., Cui, Y.J., Shi, B., Tang, A.M., Liu, C. Desiccation and cracking behavior of clay layer from slurry state under wetting-drying cycles. Geoderma. 166 (October 2011): 111-118. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2011.07.018.

Chen, R., Ng, C.W.W. Impact of wetting-drying cycle on hydro-mechanical behavior of an unsaturated compacted clay. Applied Clay Science. 86 (December 2013): 38-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.clay.2013.09.018.

Zha, F.S., Liu, J.J., Xu, L., Cui, K.R. Journal of Central South University. Effect of cyclic drying and wetting on engineering properties of heavy metal contaminated soils solidified/stabilized with fly ash. 20 (July 2013): 1947-1952.

Moayed, R.Z., Lahiji, B.P., Daghigh, Y. Effect of wetting-drying cycles on CBR values of Silty subgrade soil of karaj railway. Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. 18 (September 2013): 1321-1324.

Goh, H.R, E.C. Shear strength of unsaturated soils under multiple drying-wetting cycles. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. 140 (February 2014):90-108. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001032.

Tang C.S., Wang D.Y., Shi B. Effect of wetting-drying cycles on profile mechanical behavior of soils with different initial conditions. Catena. 139(April 2016): 105-116. DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2015.12.015.

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.28991/cej-0309133


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Yuyu Zhang

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.