Erosion by experimental debris flows: Particle size effects

A. Ghasemi, R. Kaitna, P. Fritton, B. T. Blankenship, Q. Feng, A. Densmore, T. de Haas, K. M. Hill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The mobilization of surface material by particle-laden flows involves phenomenology that cross multiple scales: particle-scale interactions and mesoscopic stresses have significant implications for landscape evolution and associated hazard mitigation issues. Here, we consider the problem of erosion of bed materials by debris flows – flows of boulders, gravel, sand, fine particles, and fluids – as they entrain soils and rocks from steep hillsides. In this paper we report results from laboratory experiments investigating the effect of changing coarse particle concentration in a dry “debris flow” on the erosion of a bed over which it flows. We find that increasing the fraction of coarse particles in the bed often increases the bed erosion. However, for some systems, the details are noisier and harder to discern. We associate the variable erosion and noisiness in part with the competing dynamics of small scale interactions, such as the coarse grain impacts, and larger scale details, such as those related to angles of repose. We also present preliminary results measuring instantaneous erosion rates and demonstrate that size dependence of the erosion rates can vary considerably from that of the net erosion. We conclude by summarizing some limitations of our experiments and ongoing next steps to address these limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDebris-Flow Hazards Mitigation
Subtitle of host publicationMechanics, Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment - Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation
EditorsJason W. Kean, Jeffrey A. Coe, Paul M. Santi, Becca K. Guillen
PublisherAssociation of Environmental and Engineering Geologists
Pages10-17
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780578510828
StatePublished - 2019
Event7th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment - Golden, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2019Jun 13 2019

Publication series

NameDebris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment - Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation

Conference

Conference7th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment
CountryUnited States
CityGolden
Period6/10/196/13/19

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the support of this research by the National Science Foundation under the grant EAR-1451957 “Entrainment and Deposition of Surface Material by Particle-Laden Flows: From Laboratory to the Hillslope” and by the US Department of State through the Institute for International Education under the grant “Influences on Natural Resources and Hazard Mitigation under a Changing Climate”. The authors also thank Delaney Kolb for help with the experiments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment - Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation. All rights reserved.

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Debris flows
  • Erosion
  • Granular materials

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