Landslide processes and the stress field of the Earth's crust according to data on earthquake source mechanisms (on the example of the Tien Shan)

Category: 15-2
Z.A. Kalmetyeva, B.D. Moldobekov, I.A.Torgoev, I.I.Volkhin




UDC 551/550


Z.A. Kalmetyeva(1), B.D. Moldobekov(1), I.A.Torgoev(2), I.I.Volkhin(3)
(1) Central-Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 
(2) Engineering Center “GEOPRIBOR” NAS KR, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
(3) Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Abstract. Comparative analysis of spatial-temporal distribution of background earthquakes (М³2) and landslides was carried out in two earthquake and landslide-active areas in Kyrgyzstan: the Northern Tien Shan (mountains surrounding of the Chu valley) and the Western Tien Shan (northeast surrounding of the Fergana valley). Data on the active faults, regimes of modern tectonic movements and earthquake source mechanisms were analyzed to estimate the geodynamic conditions of the studied area. Atmospheric precipitations data were also taken into consideration.

            The findings allow us to assume that landslide activity is an independent deformation process of a certain scale.

            It was established that the locations of major landslides and dense clusters of background earthquake epicenters do not coincide; landslide locations are mostly determined by deep structure of the crust and are confined to the edges of the principal structure of the modern crustal uplift; the activation of the background seismicity and landslides occurs synchronously when the direction of the compression axis suddenly deviates from the horizontal.

            Dependence of landslide activity on the amount of atmospheric precipitations is obvious. However, this factor should be considered rather as a condition for decreasing slope stability rather than the cause of landslide processes.


Keywords: landslides, earthquakes, earthquake source mechanism, compression axis, active faults, regime of the modern movements, precipitations.



Burtman V.S., Tyan’-Shan’ i vysokaya Aziya: Geodinamika v kainozoe (Tien Shan and High Asia: Geodynamics in kaynazoy), Moscow: GEOS, 2012.

Chedia O.K., Morfostructury i noveishii tektonogenez Tyan’-Shanya (Morphological structure and the newest tectogenesis Tien Shan), Frunze: Ilim, 1986.

Erohin S.A., Bidenko Z.S, Tolomush B.O., and Zaripov GK., Karta obval’no-opolznevoi opasnosti Chuiskoi oblasti (Map of landslide hazard of the Chui oblast), scale 1: 200000, Bishkek: UGKR, 2006.

Grin T.P. and Kalmet’eva Z.A., Determination of velocity and depth of earthquakes in detailed seismological observations, Geologo-geofizicheskaya kharakteristika seismogennykh zon Kirgizii (Geological and geophysical characteristics of seismogenic zones in Kyrgyzstan), Frunze: Ilim, 1978

Ghose S., Hamburger M.W., Ammon Ch.J. Source parameters of moderate-sized earthquakes in the Tien-Shan, Central Asia from regional moment tensor inversion, Geophys. Res. Lett,. 1998, vol. 25, No. 16, pp. 3181–3184. <s></s>

Havenith H.B., Torgoev I., Meleshko A., Aleshin Y., Torgoev A., Dannels G. Landslides in the  Mailuu-Suu valley, Kyrgyzstan – hazards and impacts , J. Landslides, 2006, vol. 3, N 2, pp. 137–147.

Ibatulin H.W., Monitoring opolznei v Kirgistane (Monitoring of landslides in Kyrgyzstan), Bishkek: MES, 2011.

Kalmeteva Z. and Moldobekov B. The analysis of landslide activity in seismic regions // Proceedings of International Conference. “Environmental Geosciences and Engineering Survey for Territory Protection and Population Safety”. EngeoPro-2011. Moscow, Russia. 2011, pp. 77–81.

Kalmetieva Z.A., Mellors R., Sabitova T.M., Earthquake focal mechanisms and velocity structure of the lithosphere of the Tien Shan, Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium "Geodynamics of intracontinental orogens and geo-environmental problems", 15-20 June 2008; Bishkek: IRC-GPG, 2009.

Kalmetieva Z.A., Kostyuk A.D., Myaleshka A.V., and Sychev N.A., On the relationship between landslides and earthquakes, Math. National Academy of Sciences, 2010, No. 4, pp. 19-27.

Kal’met’eva, Z.A., Mikolaichuk, A.V., Moldobekov, B.D., et al., Atlas zemletryasenii Kyrgyzstana (Atlas of the Earthquakes of Kyrgyzstan), Bishkek: TsAIIZ, 2009.

Kalmet’eva Z.A., Moldobekov B.D., Torgoev I.A., and Volhin I.I., Landslide processes and the stress field of the earth's crust according to the earthquake focal mechanisms, Proceedings of the Third Conf. "Tectonophysics and topical issues of the Earth Sciences", 8-12 October 2012, vol. 2, Moscow: IPE RAS, 2012.

Kostyuk A.D., The study of the contemporary deformations of the North Tien Shan crust according to the earthquake focal mechanisms and space geodesy, Cand. Sci. (Phys. and Math.) Dissertation, Moscow: IPE RAS, 2009.

Meleshko A.V., Usupaev Sh.E., Torgoev I.A. Modern Landslides of Kyrgyzstan: retrospective analysis of their development at representative sites, Abstracts of NATO Advanced Research Workshop: “Massive Rock Slope Failure: New Models for Hazard Assesssment”. Italy. June 16-21, Celano, Abruzzo, 2002, pp. 97.

Mikolaichuk A.V., Sobel E., Gubrenko M.V., and Lobanchenko A.N., Structural evolution of the northern margin of Tien Shan orogen, Math. National Academy of Sciences, 2003, No. 4, pp. 50-58.

Niyazov R.A., Opolzni Uzbekistana (Landslides in Uzbekistan (development trends at the turn of the XXI century)), Tashkent: GIDROINGEO, 2009.  

Sadybakasov I.S., Neotektonika vysokoi Azii (Neotectonics of the High Asia), Moscow: Science, 1990.

Sycheva N.A., Investigation of the features of earthquake focal mechanisms and seismotectonic deformations of the Northern Tien Shan according to the KNET Digital Seismic Network, Cand. Sci. (Phys. and Math.) Dissertation, Moscow: IPE RAS, 2005.

Zubovich A.V., Wang X., Scherba Yu.G., Schelochkov G.G., Reilinger R., Reigber Ch., Mosienko O.I., Molnar P., Michajljow W., Makarov V.I., Li J., Kuzikov S.I., Herring T.A., Hamburger W., Hager B.H., Dang Ya., Bragin V.D., and Beisenbaev R.T., GPS velocity field for the Tien Shan and surrounding regions, Tectonics, 2010, vol. 29. TC6014, doi: 10.1029/2010TC002772.