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Nearly instantaneous melting of snow and ice by the March 19, 1982, eruption of Mount St. Helens, released a 4 X 106 m3 flood of water from the crater that was converted to a lahar (volcanic debris flow) through erosion and incorporation of sediment by the time it reached the base of the volcano. Over the next 81 km that it traveled down the Toutle River, the flood wave was progressively diluted through several mechanisms. A transformation from debris flow to hyperconcentrated streamflow began to occur about 27 km downstream from the crater, when the total sediment concentration had decreased to about 78% by weight (57% by volume).-from Authors
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Downstream dilution of a lahar: transition from debris flow to hyperconcentrated streamflow.