Abstract

In tectonically active mountain belts, earthquake-triggered landslides deliver large amounts of sediment to rivers. We quantify the geomorphic impact of the 1999 Mw 7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan, which triggered >20,000 landslides. Coseismic weakening of substrate material caused increased landsliding during subsequent typhoons. Most coseismic landslides remained confined to hillslopes. Downslope transport of sediment into the channel network occurred during later storms. The sequential processes have led to a factor-of-four increase in unit sediment concentration in rivers draining the epicentral area and increased the magnitude and frequency of hyperpycnal sediment delivery to the ocean. Four years after the earthquake, rates of hillslope mass wasting remain elevated in the epicentral area.

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