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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 12, issue 1 | Copyright

Special issue: Geo-hydrological risk and town and country planning

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 201-216, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 19 Jan 2012

Research article | 19 Jan 2012

The 13 August 2010 catastrophic debris flows after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, China

Q. Xu1, S. Zhang2, W. L. Li1, and Th. W. J. van Asch3 Q. Xu et al.
  • 1State key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment Protection, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu, 610059, China
  • 2Dept. of Civil and Environment Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China
  • 3Dept. of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80115, 3508 TC, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract. From 12 to 14 August 2010, heavy rainstorms occurred in the Sichuan province in SW China in areas which were affected by the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, inducing catastrophic debris flows. This disaster is named as "the 8.13 debris flows". The results of the research presented in this paper show that the 8.13 debris flows are characterized by a simultaneous occurrence, rapid-onsets, destructive impacts, and disaster chain effects. They are located along the seismic fault, because the source materials mainly originate from loose deposits of landslides which were triggered by the Wenchuan Earthquake. The presence of large amounts of these loose materials on the slopes and the development of high intensity rainfall events are the main causes for the formation of these debris flows. The study of the 8.13 debris flows can provide a benchmark for the analysis of the long-term evolution of these debris flows in order to make proper engineering decisions. A flexible drainage system is proposed in this paper as a preventive measure to mitigate the increasing activity of these debris flows in the earthquake-affected area.

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