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Slope-Stability Problems of Circum-Pacific Region as Related to Mineral and Energy Resources1

David J. Varnes
David J. Varnes
U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225.
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January 01, 1981


The varied geologic, topographic, and atmospheric conditions in the Circum-Pacific area have led to the development of all the types of movements to which both natural and constructed slopes are subject. These slope movements have resulted in significant loss of life and property and, in many instances, have affected the planning or operation of works related to the development of mineral and energy resources. Although many slope failures have been initiated by active seismic and volcanic processes, which are almost ubiquitous in the region, many are equally the result of local high relief, weak rocks and soil, rapid weathering, heavy rainfall, or the works of man.

Landslides have disrupted wells in a producing oil field and broken a major oil pipeline. Underwater slope failures are a hazard to potential petroleum extractions in many parts of the continental shelves and slopes of the Circum-Pacific region, and have destroyed petroleum handling and storage facilities at ports. Many wells at the world’s largest geothermal electrical power field are on old landslides, and unstable slopes have caused blowouts. The development of hydroelectric energy in countries of the region has depended in many places on solving slope-stability problems at the sites of the dams, tunnels, powerhouses, penstocks, and reservoirs. Failures of open-pit mine slopes and of waste piles and tailings dams emphasize the need for careful analysis and design of manmade slopes.

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AAPG Studies in Geology

Energy Resources of the Pacific Region

Michel T. Halbouty
Michel T. Halbouty
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 1981




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