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    Solid earth sciences


    Mineralogical and physico-chemical properties of halloysite-bearing slip surface material from a landslide during the 2018 Eastern Iburi earthquake, Hokkaido

    Kameda J

    2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquake, shallow landslide, halloysite, zeta potential

    Irregular-to-hollow-spherical halloysite particles in the slip surface and their zeta potential

    Destructive landslides were triggered by the 6.7 Mw Eastern Iburi earthquake that struck southern Hokkaido, Japan, on 6 September 2018. Heavy rainfall on 4 September in addition to intermittent rainfall around the Iburi Tobu area saturated and weakened the slope-forming materials (mostly altered volcanoclastic soils), making them susceptible to failure because of the earthquake’s strong ground motion. Most of the shallow landslides exhibited long runouts along gentle hill slopes, with characteristic halloysite-bearing slip surface at the base of the volcanic soils. This study investigated the mineralogical and physico-chemical properties of the slip surface material with the aim of understanding weakening and post-failure behaviors during the landslides. Halloysite in the slip surface had irregular-to-hollow-spherical morphology with higher mesopore volumes than tubular halloysite, which is related to a high capacity for water retention after rainfall. To reproduce possible chemical changes in the slip surface during rainfall, the sample was immersed in varying amounts of rainwater; solution pH increased and ionic strength decreased with increasing water content. These findings, alongside electrophoretic analysis, suggest that rainwater infiltration could have increased the absolute zeta potential value of the slip surface material. It is suggested that rainfall before the earthquake enhanced the colloidal stability of halloysite particles within the slip surface, owing to an increase in electrostatic repulsion. This decreased the material’s cohesive strength, which might have led to destabilization of the slope during ground shaking generated by the earthquake, and subsequent high-mobility flow after failure.