Landslides triggered by the 2016 Mj 7.3 Kumamoto, Japan, earthquake

Chong Xu, Siyuan Ma, Zhibiao Tan, Chao Xie, Shinji Toda, Xueqiang Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study is to establish a detailed and complete inventory of the landslides triggered by the Mj 7.3 (Mw 7.0) Kumamoto, Japan, earthquake sequence of 15 April 2016 (16 April in JST). Based on high-resolution (0.5–2 m) optical satellite images, we delineated 3,467 individual landslides triggered by the earthquake, occupying an area of about 6.9 km2. Then they were validated by aerial photographs with very high-resolution (better than 0.5 m) and oblique field photos. Of them, 3,460 landslides are distributed in an elliptical area about 6000 km2, with a NE-SW directed 120-km-long long axis and a 60-km-long NW-SE trending short axis. Most of the landslides are shallow, disrupted falls and slides, with a few flow-type slides and rock and soil avalanches. The analysis of correlation between the landslides and several control factors shows the areas of elevation 1000–1200 m, stratum of Q3-Hvf, seismic intensity VIII and VIII+, and peak ground acceleration (PGA) 0.4–0.6 g register the highest landslide abundance. This study also discussed the relationship between the spatial pattern of the landslides and the seismotectonic structure featured by a strike-slip fault with a normal component and the volcanism in the study area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-564
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 1


  • Coseismic landslides
  • Earthquake
  • Spatial distribution
  • Visual interpretation


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