2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 240-5
Presentation Time: 9:25 AM-9:45 AM


KOWALSKI, Julia, Avalanches, Debris flows and Rockfalls, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Flueelastr. 11, Davos Dorf, CH-7260, Switzerland, kowalski@slf.ch and BUGNION, Louis, Avalanches, Debris flows and Rockfalls, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Fluelastr. 11, Davos Dorf, CH-7260

Debris flows are dangerous natural hazards occurring in mountainous areas throughout the world. However, they are extremely divers in composition and size, and consequently in their flow rheology. Within this study we concentrate on granular front flows in which the flowing body consists of a heavy, dense mixture of water, sediment, and boulders of different sizes, and during the flow a process of horizontal segregation leads to the development of a bouldary head.

Measurements of granular front flows at the Illgraben debris flow torrent, Swiss Alps indicate, that the vertical structure of the flow varies from a segregated layered regime close to the front to a well-mixed suspended regime in the tail of the flow. The flowing body is also influenced by check dams located within the torrent that induce vertical drops of 1.5-2m. In order to explain these phenomena accurately within the scope of a mathematical model we propose an extension to the common shallow flow theory for geophysical flows. It is capable to resolve the vertical structure of a debris flow and also accounts for dynamical effects due to strong, local changes in the topography. Higher moments of the balance laws yield additional information on the flow interior, such that we can still make use of the simplifying framework of depth-integration.

We will compare and discuss selected model properties with respect to real observations of both, large-scale natural flow events at the Swiss Illgraben torrent and meso-scale data from a new test facility in Veltheim, Switzerland that can initiate up to 60m3 of debris into a 10m wide channel.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 240
Debris Flows I
Oregon Convention Center: E147/148
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 609

© Copyright 2009 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.