Catastrophic debris flows transformed from landslides in volcanic terrains : mobility, hazard assessment and mitigation strategies

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Organization: 

Publication Year: 

2001

Abstract: 

Communities in lowlands near volcanoes are vulnerable to significant volcanic flow hazards in addition to those associated directly with eruptions. The largest such risk is from debris flows beginning as volcanic landslides, with the potential to travel over 100 kilometers. Stratovolcanic edifices commonly are hydrothermal aquifers composed of unstable, altered rock forming steep slopes at high altitudes, and the terrain surrounding them is commonly mantled by readily mobilized, weathered airfall and ashflow deposits. We propose that volcano hazard assessments integrate the potential for unanticipated debris flows with, at active volcanoes, the greater but more predictable potential of magmatically triggered flows. This proposal reinforces the already powerful arguments for minimizing populations in potential flow pathways below both active and selected inactive volcanoes. It also addresses the potential for volcano flank collapse to occur with instability early in a magmatic episode, as well as the 'false-alarm problem'-the difficulty in evacuating the potential paths of these large mobile flows.

Document Type: 

  • Report

Tags: 

  • critical issues, database publication, landslide, volcano, hazards, united states