Influences of the Wenchuan Earthquake on sediment supply of debris flows

  • Jing ZhuEmail author
  • Jun Ding
  • Jingtao Liang


The 5.12 Wenchuan Earthquake and the subsequent rainstorms induced a large number of landslides, which later were transformed into debris flows. To evaluate the effect of the earthquake on the sediment supply of debris flows, eight debris flow basins near Beichuan City, Sichuan Province, China were chosen as the study area. The area variations of the debris flow source after the Wenchuan Earthquake and the subsequent rainstorm are analyzed and discussed in this paper. Interpretations of aerial photographs (after the 5.12 Wenchuan Earthquake) and SPOT5 images (after the rainstorm event of September 24, 2008) as well as field investigations were compared to identify the transformation of landslide surface in the study area, indicating that the landslide area in the eight debris flow basins significantly increased. The loose sediment area on the channel bed increased after the rainstorm event. In order to estimate the relationship of the landslide area with the rainfall intensity in different return periods, a model proposed by Uchihugi was adopted. Results show that new landslide area induced by heavy rainfall with 50-year and 100-year return period will be 0.87 km2 and 1.67 km2, respectively. The study results show the Wenchuan earthquake had particular influences on subsequent rainfall-induced debris flow occurrence.


Wenchuan earthquake Debris flow Rainstorm Remote sensing imagery 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment ProtectionChengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina

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