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Controlled debris-flow initiation experiments focused on three hydrologic conditions that can trigger slope failure: localized ground-water inflow; prolonged moderate-intensity rainfall; and high-intensity rainfall. Detailed monitoring of slope hydrology and deformation provided exceptionally complete data on conditions preceding and accompanying slope failure and debris-flow mobilization. Ground-water inflow and high-intensity sprinkling led to abrupt, complete failure whereas moderate-intensity sprinkling led to retrogressive, block-by-block failure. Failure during ground-water inflow and during moderate-intensity sprinkling occurred with a rising water table and positive pore pressures. Failure during high-intensity sprinkling occurred without widespread positive pore pressures. In all three cases, pore pressures in most locations increased dramatically (within 2-3 seconds) during failure. In some places, pressures in unsaturated materials rapidly 'flashed' from zero to elevated positive values. Transiently elevated pore pressures and partially liquefied soil enhanced debris-flow mobilization.
Additional Publication Details
Debris-flow initiation experiments using diverse hydrologic triggers
New York, NY, United States
Number of Pages:
Proceedings of the 1997 1st International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment