Articles | Volume 3, issue 6
31 Dec 2003
31 Dec 2003

On the evaluation of debris flows dynamics by means of mathematical models

M. Arattano and L. Franzi

Abstract. The prediction of debris flow dynamic characteristics in a debris flow prone torrent is generally made through the investigation of past events. This investigation can be carried out through a survey of the marks left by past debris flows along the channel and through a detailed analysis of the type and shape of the deposits found on the debris fan. The rheological behaviour of future debris flows can then be inferred from the results of these surveys and their dynamic characteristics can be estimated applying well known formulas proposed in literature. These latter will make use of the assumptions on the rheological behaviour previously made. This type of estimation has been performed for a debris flow occurred in an instrumented basin, on the North-Eastern Italian Alps, in 1996 and the results have been compared to those obtained by means of a mathematical simulation. For the calibration of the mathematical model the limnographs recorded by three different ultrasonic gauges installed along a torrent reach on the fan were used. The comparison evidenced the importance of time data recordings for a correct prediction of the debris flows dynamics. Without the availability of data recordings, the application of formulas based only on assumptions derived from field analysis could be misleading.