Necessity of integrated methodology for hazard mitigation of quake lakes: case study of the Wenchuan Earthquake, China

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Abstract

The massive 8.0-magnitude Wenchuan Earthquake triggered huge landslides, avalanches, and debris flows that blocked rivers and created 34 important quake lakes, including the Tangjiashan Quake Lake on the Tongkou River. More than half of these lakes were identified to be of moderate or high hazard levels, so activities needed to be undertaken for hazard mitigation of potential flooding. This paper presents the mitigation processes of quake lake hazards, which involve various techniques such as rapid hazard analysis, scenario-based mitigation planning, and real-time forecasting of outburst flooding for implementation actions. The shortage of hydrologic and geological data and the nature of emergency situations raise substantial challenges in the hazard mitigation of quake lakes. This paper suggests a potential approach in dealing with quake lake hazards, which integrates the automatic monitoring network, hydrologic models, and hydrodynamic models with a comprehensive indicator for hazard levels. The necessity of improving the integrated methodology is highlighted.