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Géoline 2005 – Lyon, France – 23 - 25 , May/Mai 2005

Landslide hazard zonation in Mianeh-Tabriz Railway

Iranian Railway Company, track and building department

1. Introduction
The basis of civilized societies relied on extensive engineering structures network which are called
country's infrastructure or lifelines. Welfare and survival of communities depend on safty and
performance of these infrastructure facilities.
One of the most important of our country’s infrastructure is transportation system (road , railroad ,
subway, port and airport) that the railroad system has significant importance. Development and
improvement of countries are evaluated by infrastructural index and also lifelines are the most
invaluable national investments. For this reason, there are some main current activities for developing
the interior and international transportation system in our country such as constructing and developing
the roads, highways and railroads. Iran, considering its topography mainly mountainous, tectonics and
seismicity due to situating in Alpine Earthquake belt, has, mainly, natural condition for creating
extensive instabilities .
One of the most important natural events is landslides in Iran that results in economic damages to
roads, railroads, pipelines, electricity lines and also telecommunication lines, etc., annually.
Earthquake occurring, in addition to direct influence on railroad and its related structures causes that
slopes be instable and also slides increase. So landslide hazard zonation in the region being studied,
is more impressive to select the best line and design the secure route.
It should be noted that the carried out risk zonation method for linear structure including road and
railway, for the first time carried out for one of the Iranian track. It is hoped that this paper could be
impressive to performance of this international corridor and also could be useful for researching about
other lines and constructing rail tracks in Iran.

2. General specifications of range

West Azerbaijan is in northwestward of Iran and its area is about 65.000 Km . This area is neighbor
with Armenia and Azerbaijan from north and also in southward is neighbor with Zanjan and west
0 0
Azerbaijan provinces. The area being researched is an area between 37 15 - 38 15 latitude and
0 0
46 - 47 45 longitude.
Its mountainous situation, seismic activities, its active plate tectonics, rainfall , high humidity and
special lithology property, that are mainly motive rock units, have created suitable conditions for
landslide, that is near distance with regard to railroad plan.
SAHAND Mountain in west north that has 3707 m height is most important ruggedness in this area.

3. Specifications and advantages of plan

If the railroad Mianeh-Bostan abad-Tabriz is constructed (that in this research is studied), at 200 km
length, the distance of Tehran – Tabriz railroad will be shortened about 100 km and additionally
shortening this line for passenger trains, the distance for transit freight trains of Asian countries and
borders of Persian Gulf to Europe and vice versa is shortened about 100 km. Of course shortening the
line results in decreasing the time of passenger trains about 4 hours and for freight trains about 5
hours. The Mianeh-Tabriz line has more tunnels and bridges because of its mountainous situation.
Total length of its tunnels is estimated about 6 km and total length of its bridges is about 4 km that the
SHIBLI tunnel is the longest tunnel and its length is about 2900 m.

4. The stages of study

Landslide hazard zonation in each area must be done according to special conditions of that area and
it could not be considered as a general way in other areas unless the areas have same conditions. So
regarding to above and specifications of area, landslide hazard zonation is done as follows.
First stage includes data collection such as providing aerial photographs and satellite images, geology
and topography maps (by 1:50000 scale) and review the previous studies.
Géoline 2005 – Lyon, France – 23rd - 25th, May/Mai 2005

In the second stage, according to the special conditions of amplitude and field studies and registration
of particulars of old and new landslides, the main and impressive factors for instability of hillsides are
studied and evaluated.
Regarding to extent and scale of plan area, and using the aerial photographs and satellite pictures, the
most important factors of instability of slopes are as: slopes gradient angle, lithology, structural factors,
stream water and earthquake.
For this, an area with 2.5 km width from both sides of the railway line with dimensions 1×1 km being
griding. in the next stage the data layers include geography maps, slope, channel, fault and
acceleration due to earthquake are provided.
In the third stage, according to geology and seismotectonic conditions and also the linearing of route
and the conditions of this linear structure and its technical erections (bridges, tunnels, cuttings), all
different way of landslide hazard zonation are evaluated and viewed and the best procedure is

5. Review of the main factors related to slope instabilities

As above mentioned, the effective factors in instability of slopes in this area, include five main factors
that are mentioned as follows.

5-1 Gradient angle of hillsides:

Gradient angle is a main factor to create failure in hillsides and it changes natural and artificial.
Increasing gradient angles cause to raise the shear stress. So slopes classification in route of railroad
is shown in table (1).

Surface extension
S.Rate Gradient angle Classification

1 80 <15 S1
2 8 16 - 25 S2
3 3 26 - 35 S3
4 1.7 36 - 45 S4
5 7.3 >45 S5

Table (1): Classification of slopes in studied area

5-2 Lithology factor:

Texture and structure of materials that compose hillslopes, represent an important factor for stabilities
and instabilities.
Hillsides that exhibit loose rocks with low shear strength have more failure potential. Regarding to
failures, old and new slides exist in the area, field studies and engineering view this materials are div

Géoline 2005 – Lyon, France – 23rd - 25th, May/Mai 2005

L.Rate extension Lithology Classification
1 7 A: Eva2 ,Et1,Etv,Ml2,OMac,Eit,Ev,Mri,grm,Tgm,Mtr L1

2 10 B: Pldt,Et,Qplc2,Pla,Ev5,OMcs,Mta L2

3 28 C: Plc,PlQC,Msm,Ms.v, OMc,Qplc1,Plb,Kc2,Mcs2 L3
4 30 L4
Klsh2,Mms2 ,Msr,Plvc2c,Plvc1p,Qplm,Plm,Ngc2,K12
5 25 E: Qt1,Qt2 L5

Table (2): Classification of geology materials at review line

5-3 Structural factor:

Geology structures include bedding layers, joints, faults and folds that are important factors to create
instabilities. According to the importance of structural factors to create landslides in the area, faults are
one of the important of geological structures for landslide hazard zonation. For this purpose length of
fault is measured in each grid and divided into five categories.

Fault length in
F.Rate extension Classification
unit grid(m)
1 1 <250 F1

2 1.5 250-500 F2

3 3 500-750 F3

4 4.5 750-1000 F4

5 4 >1000 F5

Table (3) Classification of structural factor in the area

5-4 Effect of stream water

Flow waters are one of the impressive factors to increase the instability in hillsides. Because of flow
the rivers, there is excavation and erosion in valleys, which causes to wash and carry in lower part of
slope materials and increase the angle of slope. It is necessary to say that in most instabilities, stream
waters have played an important role. For this reason, the channels are graded and their accumulation
is calculated in each 1×1 unit.

Géoline 2005 – Lyon, France – 23rd - 25th, May/Mai 2005

D. Rate extension Classification
1 46 <3 D1

2 40 3-5 D2

3 11 6-8 D3

4 2.7 9-11 D4

5 0.3 >11 D5

Table (4): Classification of accumulation of channels in above area

5-5 earthquake factor

The earthquake is another driving factors to create instability in area. The historical and instrumental
earthquakes show that failures depend on forces of earthquake directly or indirectly. According to
studies in this paper, and because of existence Tabriz active fault and peak ground acceleration, this
main fault is used to calculate the maximum of peak ground acceleration at railway construction.

A. Rate extension P.G.A Classification
1 30 <25 A1

2 16 25-35 A2

3 8 35-45 A3

4 6 45-55 A4

5 40 >55 A5

Table (5): Classification of maximum of peak ground acceleration at area

6. Landslide hazard zonation in Mianeh-Bostan abad-Tabriz line

According to above mentioned, for landslide hazard zonation of instabilities in slopes, the following
method is determined for landslide hazard zonation :

L.H.Z = 2 (L+S) + F + A+D

That L.H.Z: is hazard of quake index, L: is the lithology factor, S: is the slope factor, F:is the structural
factor, A: is the driving factor related to earthquake and also D: is the flow water factor .
According to table (6), about 58% of total of extension is related to areas that have mean hazard to
high hazard that there should do more studies and researches in the region being studied.

Géoline 2005 – Lyon, France – 23rd - 25th, May/Mai 2005

Landslide ocurring
L.H.Z extension Classification

<10 2 Very low Hazard I

10-15 40 Low hazard II

16-20 43 Moderate hazard III

21-25 12 High hazard IV

>25 3 Very high hazard V

Table (6): Landslide occurring potential in range of review area by percent of nominal extending of
each assortment.

7. Conclusion
In this study, the instability of slopes in Mianeh-Bostan abad-Tabriz railway track is reviewed and
researched to decrease its damages and hazards. It is tried to render the plan of landslide hazard
zonation by suitable scale. And the results and conclusions of these studies and reviews are as follow:

1. The most impressive factors to create landslide in this area is divided into two categories:
(lithology, gradient angle of hillsides, geology structures) as main factors, and (earthquake and
flow water) as driving factors.
2. According to the importance of this line and main effects of instability in slopes, to create a secure
route, it is suggested that more studies with bigger scales on mentioned parts (by relative hazard
potential middle to high) would be done.
3. Because of there is (in this area) the biggest tunnel (e.g. SHIBLI tunnel with 2900 m length) in
precipitous heights of SHIBELI and its large instabilities (destruction of twin tunnels of highway
under construction Zanjan-Tabriz in Iran), it is necessary to study and review more and more.
4. According to reconciliation the landslide zones in this area with parts of landslide hazard zonation
that is mentioned as hazard points, the above method could be applied for the other under
construction railway lines after some modifications.

Géoline 2005 – Lyon, France – 23rd - 25th, May/Mai 2005

Figure 1 : Landslide hazard zonation map 1

Figure 2 : Landslide hazard zonation map 2

Figure 3 : Landslide hazard zonation map 3

Géoline 2005 – Lyon, France – 23rd - 25th, May/Mai 2005

References :
1-Berberian . M . , 1976 .” contribution to the Seismotectonic of Iran” ( part II ) , Geological survey of
Iran , Report NO. 39
2-Keefer K., 1984, Landslide caused by Earthquakes, Geological society of America Bulletin, Vol.95,
PP.406-421, April 1984.
3-Keller E.A. & Pinter N., 1997. “Active Tectonics (Earthquakes, Uplift and Landscape)” Prentice Hall.
4-Shoaei,Z.,1996. “The Effect of geological factors on the Activities of landslide “, 30th International
Geology Congress, Vol.3 .
5-Michael J.O'Rourk., 1995 Life line Earthquake Engineering, Proceeding of the Fourth U.S.
6-Varnes, D. J., 1978 . “Landslide hazard zonation“. A review of principle and practice, UNESCO,
Paris, pp. 1-55.