Large debris flows can pose hazards to people and property downstream from volcanoes. We have developed a rapid, reproducible, objective, and inexpensive method to delineate distal debris-flow hazard zones. Our method employs the results of scaling and statistical analyses of the geometry of volcanic debris flows (lahars) to predict inundated valley cross-sectional areas (A) and planimetric areas (B) as functions of lahar volume. We use a range of specified lahar volumes to evaluate A and B. In a Geographic Information System (GIS) we employ the resulting range of predicted A and B to delineate gradations in inundation hazard, which is highest near the volcano and along valley thalwegs and diminishes as distances from the volcano and elevations above valley floors increase. Comparison of our computer-generated hazard maps with those constructed using traditional, field-based methods indicates that our method can provide an accurate means of delineating lahar hazard zones.
Additional publication details
Automated, reproducible delineation of zones at risk from inundation by large volcanic debris flows
New York, NY, United States
Larger Work Title:
International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment, Proceedings
Proceedings of the 1997 1st International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment