Landslide Damming in the Cordillera of Western Canada

by Stephen G. Evans, Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, Ont, Can,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Landslide Dams: Processes, Risk, and Mitigation


Major landslide dams in the Cordillera are a result of rock slope movements, landslides in stratified Pleistocene deposits, and landslides in till or colluvium in steep mountain watersheds. These landslide dams show contrasting behaviour. Landslide dams formed by rock avalanches within the Coast Plutonic Complex impound significant volumes of water but appear to be stable. Dams formed by landslides originating from the flanks of Quaternary volcanoes, however, are short-lived and exhibit catastrophic breaching behaviour. Landslide dams involving stratified Pleistocene deposits, although being short-lived, breach gradually. The failure of small scale landslide dams in steep mountain watersheds may generate outburst floods or debris torrents, a process which has been reponsible for several disasters in the Cordillera.

Subject Headings: Landslides | Rocks | Mountains | Watersheds | Dam failures | Failure analysis | Rivers and streams | Slopes | Canada

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