, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 171–182 | Cite as

Experimental evidences and numerical modelling of debris flow initiated by channel runoff

Original Articles


Debris flow initiation by channel bed mobilization is a common process in high mountainous areas. Initiation is more likely to occur at the outlet of small, steeply sloping basins where concentrated overland flow feeds an ephemeral channel incised in slope deposits. Such geological conditions are typical of the Dolomite region (Italian Alps), which is characterized by widespread debris flow activity triggered by severe summer thunderstorms. Real-time data and field observations for one of these catchments (Acquabona catchment, Belluno, Italian Alps) were used to characterize the hydrological response of the initiation area to rainfalls of varying intensity and duration. The observed behaviour was then reproduced by means of a simple hydrological model, based on the kinematic wave assumption, to simulate the generation of channel runoff. The model is capable of predicting the observed hydrological response for a wide range of rainfall impulses, thus providing a physical basis for the understanding of the debris flow triggering threshold.


Debris flow Hydrologic triggering Monitoring Modelling Italian alps 



The research was funded by grant from the Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca, Project title “Analisi integrata di casi scelti di colate detritiche nell’arco alpino” (A.Lamberti coord.), years 2003–2005. Thanks to Richard LaHusen (USGS, Cascade Volcanoes Observatory, WA-USA) who installed the monitoring system at Acquabona in late 1997 and to Rinaldo Genevois, who coordinated that monitoring project and introduced us to the fascinating subject of debris flows. Finally, we would like to thank the reviewers for their useful remarks


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e Geologico-AmbientaliUniversità di BolognaItaly

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