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Estimating rates of debris flow entrainment from ground vibrations
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Debris flows generate seismic waves as they travel downslope and can become more dangerous as they entrain sediment along their path. We present field observations that show a systematic relation between the magnitude of seismic waves and the amount of erodible sediment beneath the flow. Specifically, we observe that a debris flow traveling along a channel filled initially with sediment 0.34m thick generates about 2 orders of magnitude less spectral power than a similar-sized flow over the same channel without sediment fill. We adapt a model from fluvial seismology to explain this observation and then invert it to estimate the level of bed sediment (and rate of entrainment) beneath a passing series of surges. Our estimates compare favorably with previous direct measurements of entrainment rates at the site, suggesting the approach may be a new indirect way to obtain rare field constraints needed to test models of debris flow entrainment.
|Geophysical Research Letters
|In Copyright (All Rights Reserved)
|An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright (2015) American Geophysical Union.