Observations of deformation at the surfaces of landslides in Utah and Hawaii indicate that the upslope parts of the land-slides have stretched and the downslope parts have shortened parallel with the direction of movement. The maximum displacement of each landslide occurs in a relatively undeformed zone between the zones of shortening and stretching. The pattern of deformation at the surface of these landslides may be useful in analyzing their mechanics by helping to constrain the longitudinal forces in limit-equilibrium stability analysis. We used earth-pressure calculations to determine the range of possible longitudinal forces (per unit width) for active failure in the zone of stretching and for passive failure in the zone of shortening of one of the Hawaiian landslides. Longitudinal forces computed by stability analysis, assuming homogeneous strength, exceeded the possible forces in much of the upslope half of the landslide. Consequently, we assumed inhomogeneous strength and adjusted shear-strength parameters at each segment of the slip surface until the longitudinal forces computed by stability analysis agreed with those computed by earth-pressure theory, and the factor of safety approached unity. The distribution of longitudinal forces computed for inhomogeneous strength indicated that the boundary between driving and resisting elements of the landslide is near the thickest part of the slide, in agreement with a simple formula for the location of the boundary.

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