A slope is an inclined ground surface which can be either natural or human-made. Slope stability refers to the condition that an inclined slope can withstand its own weight and external forces without experiencing displacement. Slope stability uses principles of soil/rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering and engineering geology. Case studies that involve the behavior of slopes have led to an improved understanding of slope stability mechanics, the development of complex constitutive models, the recognition of laboratory and in-situ testing limitations and the evolution of new instrumentation techniques to assess the slope’s response.
When the stability conditions are not met, the soil or the rock mass of the slope may experience downward movement which could be either slow or devastatingly rapid. This phenomenon is known as slope failure or landslide. A landslide may be triggered by an earthquake, rainfalls that cause exceeding pore water pressure or degradation of the ground’s mechanical properties. Slope failures systematically harm human infrastructure and cause numerous fatalities every year.