Interpreting Debris-Flow Hazard from Study of Fan Morphology

by Kelin X. Whipple, Univ of Washington, Seattle, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


The deposits, stratigraphy, and surface morphology of debris-flow fans are a record of past debris-flow activity, and as such can provide useful information about debris-flow hazards. The morphology of the fan surfaces reflects both characteristic debris-flow inundation patterns and the frequency of channel avulsions; surface morphology is a sensitive indicator of the type of debris-flow hazard. A conceptual model describing the linkages between dispositional processes and surface form on debris-flow fans, developed in earlier work, is applied to fans in three field sites to illustrate the use of fan morphologic characteristics in the analysis of debris-flow hazards. This approach should be taken as a first step in any debris-flow hazard mitigation project, particularly where extensive historical records do not exist.

Subject Headings: Solids flow | Disasters and hazards | Public health and safety | Floods | Channels (waterway) | Occupational safety | Natural disasters | Sediment transport

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