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

Debris flow characteristics and relationships in the Central Spanish Pyrenees

A. Lorente, S. Beguería, J. C. Bathurst, and J. M. García-Ruiz

Abstract. Unconfined debris flows (i.e. not in incised channels) are one of the most active geomorphic processes in mountainous areas. Since they can threaten settlements and infrastructure, statistical and physically based procedures have been developed to assess the potential for landslide erosion. In this study, information on debris flow characteristics was obtained in the field to define the debris flow runout distance and to establish relationships between debris flow parameters. Such relationships are needed for building models which allow us to improve the spatial prediction of debris flow hazards. In general, unconfined debris flows triggered in the Flysch Sector of the Central Spanish Pyrenees are of the same order of magnitude as others reported in the literature. The deposition of sediment started at 17.8°, and the runout distance represented 60% of the difference in height between the head of the landslide and the point at which deposition started. The runout distance was relatively well correlated with the volume of sediment.