Impact of rainstorm-triggered landslides on high turbidity in a mountain reservoir

Guan Wei Lin, Hongey Chen, Dave N. Petley, Ming Jame Horng, Shuei Ji Wu, Bin Chuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Typhoon-triggered landslides deliver huge amounts of sediment to the upstream channel of the Shihmen Reservoir in northern Taiwan. Observation data regarding landsliding, sediment discharge and water turbidity following five major typhoon events from 1985 to 2006 demonstrated that each time water turbidity in the reservoir area rapidly increased up to ten-fold from the river catchment drainage, and the weight of landslide debris exceeded total sediment discharge five-fold. The fact that huge amounts of landslide debris still remained on upstream slopes and water turbidity suddenly increased in the reservoir area but not in upstream channel implied that the increasing water turbidity in the Shihmen Reservoir was indirectly related to the large landslides occurring in the upstream catchment. The main cause of high turbidity in the reservoir area was that, during a typhoon event, high water discharge flowing into the reservoir scoured the fine fraction sediment at the bottom of the reservoir and formed hyperpycanl flow with high turbidity, which then ascended to contaminate the reservoir surface water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalEngineering Geology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan 10

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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