Geohazards and Human Settlements: Lessons Learned from Multiple Relocation Events in Badong, China – Engineering Geologist’s Perspective
Wenping GONG1#+, C. Hsein JUANG2, Janusz WASOWSKI3
1China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), China, 2Clemson University, United States, 3National Research Council, Italy

Mountainous regions are inherently susceptible to geohazards, such as landslides and debris flows, with the threat of natural disasters compounded by human activities (mainly settlements). Lessons learned from past events that involved the interactions between human activities and geohazards are helpful for future site selections of human settlements in mountainous regions. To this end, the events associated with county seat relocations in Badong, a typical county in the Three Gorges Reservoir region, China, are studied from an engineering geologist’s perspective. Over its history, the county seat was relocated multiple times, with the first relocation traced back to the Song dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) and the last two relocations linked to the Three Gorges Dam project. By studying geohazards and their interactions with human activities in these county-seat relocations, and through the reconstruction of these events, we secure insights into decision-making for these events. As part of the reconstruction of these relocation events, we analyze a giant pre-historic landslide, whose discovery ultimately prompted the third relocation. Using the case history of this landslide, we also discuss and emphasize the importance of proactive monitoring of geohazards for disaster resilience enhancement, recognizing that our knowledge of nature is vastly incomplete.