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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 4
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 933–946, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-933-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 933–946, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-933-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  29 Apr 2010

29 Apr 2010

Simulation of the erosion process of landslide dams due to overtopping considering variations in soil erodibility along depth

D. S. Chang and L. M. Zhang D. S. Chang and L. M. Zhang
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Abstract. A landslide dam typically comprises freshly deposited heterogeneous, unconsolidated or poorly consolidated earth materials and is vulnerable to overtopping breaching. A physically-based breach model is presented to simulate the breaching process of such landslide dams. The new model can predict the breach evolution, the erosion rate, and the outflow hydrograph. A spreadsheet is developed to numerically implement the model. The erosion processes of Tangjiashan Landslide Dam and Xiaogangjian Landslide Dam induced by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake are analyzed using the new model. The erodibility of the two landslide dams varies significantly along depth. The predicted key breaching parameters (i.e., final breach size, failure time, and peak outflow rate) considering the variations in the soil erodibility along depth agree well with the observed values. Further sensitivity analysis indicates that the soil erodibility affects the breaching process of a landslide dam significantly. Higher soil erodibility will lead to a larger breach, a shorter failure time and a larger peak outflow rate. The erosion rate of the breach channel in the depth direction decreases with increasing erosion resistance of the landslide deposits. In the two case studies, the key breaching parameters cannot be properly predicted if constant soil erodibility parameters along depth are assumed.

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