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Numerical modeling of debris flows: A conceptual assessment

March 29, 2024

Real-world hazard evaluation poses many challenges for the development and application of numerical models of debris flows. In this chapter we provide a conceptual overview of physically based, depth-averaged models designed to simulate debris-flow motion across three-dimensional terrain. When judiciously formulated and applied, these models can provide useful information about anticipated depths, speeds, and extents of debris-flow inundation as well as debris interactions with structures such as levees and dams. Depth-averaged debris-flow models can differ significantly from one another, however. Some of the greatest differences result from simulation of one-phase versus two-phase flow, use of parsimonious versus information-intensive initial and boundary conditions, use of tuning coefficients versus physically measureable parameters, application of dissimilar numerical solution techniques, and variations in computational speed and model accessibility. This overview first addresses these and related attributes of depth-averaged debris-flow models. It then describes model testing and application to hazard evaluation, with a focus on our own model, D-Claw. The overview concludes with a discussion of outstanding challenges for development of improved debris-flow models and suggestions for prospective model users.

Publication Year 2024
Title Numerical modeling of debris flows: A conceptual assessment
DOI 10.1007/978-3-031-48691-3_5
Authors Richard M. Iverson, David L. George
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70254474
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center