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Triggering conditions and depositional characteristics of a disastrous debris flow event in Zhouqu city, Gansu Province, northwestern China

Date: 2017-09-25      View counts: 541    


C. Tang, N. Rengers, Th. W. J. van Asch, et al
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Debris Flow Disaster and Countermeasures
Paper Keyword
Zhouqu; debris flow; disaster; analysis
On 7 August 2010, catastrophic debris flows were triggered by a rainstorm in the catchments of the Sanyanyu and Luojiayu torrents, Zhouqu County, Gansu Province northwestern China. These two debris flows originated shortly after a rainstorm with an intensity of 77.3mmh−1 and transported a total volume of about 2.2 millionm3, which was deposited on an existing debris fan and into a river. This catastrophic event killed 1765 people living on this densely urbanised fan. The poorly sorted sediment contains boulders up to 3–4m in diameter. In this study, the geomorphological features of both debris flow catchment areas are analyzed based on the interpretation of high-resolution remote sensing imagery combined with field investigation. The characteristics of the triggering rainfall and the initiation of the debris flow occurrence are discussed. Using empirical equations, the peak velocities and discharges of the debris flows were estimated to be around 9.7ms−1 and 1358m3 s−1 for the Sanyanyu torrent and 11ms−1 and 572m3 s−1 for the Luojiayu torrent. The results of this study contribute to a better understanding of the conditions leading to catastrophic debris flow events.
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