This paper proposes a mechanism of earthquake-induced landslides with pulse-like ground motion (PLGM) based on the discontinuous deformation analysis (DDA) method. In recent near-fault earthquake-induced landslides, the two phenomena confusing landslide researchers are observed. One is that large-scale landslides occurred in the area with small PGA but no landslide in the area with large PGA, for example, the landslides occurred during the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake. The other is that one side slopes collapsed while the opposite side slopes back to back remain stable. For example, most west-faced slopes collapsed while the east-faced slopes back to back remain stable in the 2018 Hokkaido earthquake. To explain the two phenomena in near-fault earthquake-induced landslides with PLGM, a symmetrical slope model subjected to different ground motions during these two earthquakes are analyzed and discussed by using the DDA method. The analysis results show that PLGM may be a major triggering factor for co-seismic landslides in the near-fault region, while PGA may not be the right parameter for the initiation of the earthquake-induced landslides. Meanwhile, the aspect of collapsed slope is related to both the velocity pulse of PLGM and strength parameters of the slope. The proposed mechanism for the earthquake-induced landslides in the near-fault region with PLGM considers both tensile and shear strengths of the slope, which can well explain the landslide initiation phenomena in the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake and the 2018 Hokkaido earthquake. The relationship between PLGM and forward directivity effect is also studied in combination with two earthquake cases to more accurately clarify the mechanism of the initiation of co-seismic landslides in the near-fault region.
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