Debris flows are slurries of sediment and water that are both an important geologic process and a major hazard. They present large risks to those living in mountainous areas, as well as downstream from volcanoes in the case of the flows known as lahars that may travel 100200 kilometers (62-124 miles). The accompanying video records a series of debris flow surges at Jiangjia Ravine, in Yunnan Province in southern China. This rugged and remote site is famous for the annual occurrence of debris flows triggered each summer by monsoonal rains. The video illustrates the unique characteristics of debris flows, how they behave, and why they cause large losses of life and property in China and many other parts of the world. This report is a summary for those wishing more information than is presented in the video, and for the specialist we include dynamical data on the flows and textural data on their deposits.
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USGS Numbered Series
Debris flows: geologic process and hazard; illustrated by a surge sequence at Jiangjia Ravine, Yunnan, China